JUBA – A senior South Sudan opposition military commander loyal to former SPLA-IO chief of military staff General Simon Gatwech Dual has been killed by his bodyguard following yesterday’s fighting at Magenis northern Upper Nile state, factional SPLA-IO spokesman allied to Gen. Gatwech, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, has just confirmed.
Yesterday, fighting between rival SPLA-IO factions resulted in the killing of at least twenty (20) soldiers from both sides. The SPLA-IO faction under First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny said following the fighting that they had killed two major-generals loyal to the former opposition military chief.
Speaking to Sudans Post this evening, General Gatjiath said Maj. Gen. Gatwech Nyangor was killed by one of his bodyguards who had deserted their base yesterday morning before returning with opposition forces loyal to First Vice President Machar to attack the base from two directions resulting in the killing of the top opposition commander.
“Yesterday, Brigadier Khan Mabor Mazoal who has been the bodyguard to General Gatwech Nyangor decided to rebel and join the mercenaries of Riek Machar and came back to attack with the forces of Riek Machar to attack our base, in the process of defend, he killed Gen. Gatwech Nyangor,” General Gatjiath said.
He claimed that Brigadier Khan who he said has been serving as a bodyguard to the deceased opposition commander for more than ten years was promoted today by Machar to the rank of major general and that the group under Gen. Gatwech Dual is surprised why he would defect to join Machar who he said has never promoted him since the outbreak of war.
“Because he killed General Gatwech Nyangor, he was promoted today by Riek Machar, just because he has killed his former boss. This is not good and we are going to retaliate because we cannot sit idly watching while our own comrades who have been fighting the genocidal regime for the last eight years are being killed by Riek Machar,” he added.
Yesterday, Juba-based SPLA-IO spokesman Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel said two senior opposition commanders allied to General Simon Gatwech Dual were killed during fighting early in the day in Magenis and accused Gen. Gatwech’s forces of launching attack on Machar-allied forces.
“They have been attacking our bases and it proceeded till Sunday. This morning we couldn’t hold back anymore. So, at around 6 am, the SPLA-IO forces launched attacks on their launching areas….There are two Major Generals from their side who got killed, and one wounded,” Lam said yesterday, according to City Review online publication.