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Soldiers Loyal to Failed Gubernatorial Candidate Attack Army Barracks in Southern Sudan

An official in South Sudan has confirmed an attack this morning on an army barracks in Jongolei State. Reports say that as many as eight people were killed in the attack, believed to have been led by supporters of Major General George Athor, an independent candidate for governor in last week’s elections.

The barracks, located in the town of Doleb, houses soldiers of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, some of whom are said to have taken part in the attack.

Sudan recently concluded a general election that saw the re-election of incumbent president Omar al-Bashir in the North and the SPLM’s Salva Kiir in the South. The polls were the first multi-party vote in more than two decades and part of the peace agreement that ended over two decades of civil war. The elections have been characterized by US and European observers as “flawed.”

Jongolei is one of the 26 states in the south to elect governors and legislators. General Athor ran unsuccessfully as an independent candidate against incumbent governor Kuol Manyang Juuk. Mustafa Biong Majak, an official with the Government of South Sudan, said causalities were taken to the Upper Nile State’s Malakal hospital for treatment.

“Those who did it ran away,” he said, “and the security forces are running after them.” He says later today, an SPLM spokesman will make a detailed statement on the incident.

Listen to Biong Majak discuss the attack:

Sources of the Sudan Tribune say the assault was authorized by General Athor, who lives in the nearby town of Khorfulus in Upper Nile state. Reuters news agency says Athor has denied any involvement.

SPLM candidate and incumbent president of the south Salvia Kiir was re-elected with over 90 percent of the vote. His rival Lam Akol of the splinter group SPLM-DC has accused his party of harassment and intimidation. He rejects the election results and says he plans to take the matter to court for adjudication. South Sudan is gearing for a referendum early next year that will decide if they secede from the north.