29th March 2023
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SSPDF, SPLA-IO report fresh clashes in Upper Nile state

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Thursday, March 24, 2022

From left to right: Major General Lul Ruai Koang and Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel in the past joint press briefing - File Photo - COURTESY

The South Sudan People’s Defense Force is appealing to the International Community, eminent persons, and religious leaders to intervene to stop the ongoing fresh fighting in the Upper Nile state.

The SSPDF call comes following reports of clashes between SPLA-IO and SSPDF in Maiwut County, Upper Nile state on Thursday morning.

The SSPDF spokesperson, Major General Lul Ruai Koang has accused the SPLA-IO forces of attacking their positions in Maiwut County.

In an interview with Eye Radio Maj. Gen Lul confirmed the fighting in Malual Gathoth area in Longichuk County.

“As we speak our forces deployed at Malual-Gathoth the force that joined SSPDF under the overall commander of Major General James Khor Choul Giet were down to the attack by SPLA-IO forces”, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai told Eye Radio on Thursday morning.

Major General Lul Ruai warned that the continuation of the clashes could lead to the collapse of the peace agreement.

Major General Lul said there is a need for international intervention to stop the fighting between the peace parties.

“My appeal to the international community, to eminent persons in South Sudan including clergies, is high time for them to bear pressure on the leadership of the SPLM-IO both politically and militarily to stop their aggression against the national army”, Lul added.

In response, the spokesperson of the SPLA-IO Lamp Paul Gabriel also confirmed the clashes, but said their positions were attacked by the SSPDF.

“The truth is that the fight that is happening currently in Greater Upper Nile is not the SPLA-IO who started it and Lul Ruai should be very shameful for lying publicly to people,” Col. Lam Gabriel refuted.

“What is happening is that the fight took place in Ghoul and Ghoul is our base, we were attacked by SSPDF from Malual-Gathoth we didn’t attack Malual Gathoth the attackers came from Malual Gathoth but it happened in Guol, Goul is our base not SSPDF base”, Lam claimed.

Colonel Lam also backed Lul’s call for International interventions.

“We have already made our call publicly and we appreciate that he put it clearly that he also wants intervention and that is the sign of working together”, Col. Lam stated.

On Tuesday, the SPLM/SPLM-IO Political Bureau approved the suspension of its participation in the security mechanisms meetings.

The decision came after the SPLA-IO accused SSPDF of carrying what it calls unprovoked attacks on its military bases including the cantonment sites and unified forces training centers.

The areas the party cited are; Morota training center in Kajo-keji County, Kaljak training center in Rubkona County, Turu cantonment site in Maiwut County, Liengji cantonment site in Maban County, Pieri cantonment site in Uror County.

Others are Namatina cantonment site in Najero County, Mir-Mir cantonment site in Koch County among others.

It argued that the attacks have resulted in the displacement of civilians and the destruction of properties.

In response, the SSPDF refuted the allegations saying its forces were acting in self-defense.

The army also dismissed the opposition’s claims over its participation in the security mechanism meetings.

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