News / Africa

South Sudan Rebels Say 100 SPLA Soldiers Killed in New Clashes

A rebel fighter listens to his commander in Upper Nile state in February 2014.
A rebel fighter listens to his commander in Upper Nile state in February 2014.

Rebels loyal to former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar said Monday they killed scores of government soldiers and destroyed military equipment in fierce clashes in the Upper Nile oil town of Nassir.

“What I heard from the military governor this morning is that over 100 government soldiers were killed in the battle for control of Nassir. We destroyed three armored personnel carriers," opposition military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said.

The South Sudanese army denied that Nassir has fallen to the rebels.

Army Chief of Staff Paul Malong Awan said the fighting in Nassir was another violation by the opposition of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January and recommitted to by both sides since then. He said government troops are still committed to the ceasefire and only responded to an attack on Nassir by the rebels on Sunday, in self-defense.

UNMISS calls new unrest 'deplorable'

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) called the fighting the most serious resumption of hostilities since on May 9, when President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar met in the Ethiopian capital and recommitted to the cessation of hostilities agreement. 

UNMISS spokesman Joseph Contreras blamed rebels loyal to Machar for the attack on Nassir. He said many of the opposition fighters were defectors from the SPLA.

Contreras called the attack "deplorable," especially coming "at a time when intensive efforts are under way by mediators of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to convince all parties to resume the suspended peace talks in Addis Ababa."

The rebels denied  that they started the fighting in Nassir or were the first to violate the cessation of hostilities agreement. Instead, Koang accused UNMISS and IGAD of not doing their work effectively and not standing up to the government, which he said has repeatedly broken the ceasefire.

IGAD has been brokering peace talks for South Sudan since January. The regional bloc has struggled to get the talks back on track after they stalled last month.

In a statement issued Sunday, IGAD condemned what it called "the unfortunate attack by the SPLM/A–In Opposition in Nasir on government positions."

"It is regrettable that this incident has come at a time when the mediation team just concluded consultations with the leadership of the SPLM/A–In Opposition in Addis Ababa, on how to operationalize the signed Agreements and move the peace process forward," IGAD said.

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by: Wicjial Tuor Koang from: Khartoum
July 23, 2014 10:50 AM
IGAD mediators were to for that because they were the one delaying the progress of peace talks.They are benefiting from conflict in S Sudan. Why IGAD always condemned the opposition and not govt for their repeated attacks on opposition forces positions? Stop blaming one side or take side never be neutral.

by: judi from: tx
July 22, 2014 6:17 AM
There will be no day that splm in opposition take over the power and rule the country without dinka and other tribes in it. S

by: JUSTICE BOL GANY KUOTH from: Nairobi
July 22, 2014 6:02 AM
Great news... Kuanylualthoan is our hometown... Dickheaded president will be out soon

by: eastern jikany from: khartuom sudan
July 22, 2014 5:54 AM
the opposition must not be blame becz govt forces were trying to capture the top commander gathoth gatkuoth in jigmir and maandeng payam, rebel retailate the attack and govt forces were not abide by ceasefire sign by two rival parties on may. my message is that world body is not see wat was happen going on inside juba from govt side becz govt is not willing to end the war that he declared to his people by force . the regional bloc igad are not see their works on how to end the war and they blame the rebel of attack nasir, not rebel who attack nasir first ,it is the govt forces launched attack on the base of rebel in maandeng and jigmir .

by: Lisa from: Tx
July 22, 2014 12:58 AM
Please, IGAD don't belem the oposition, Mr Joseph reporting on behalf of UNMIS was confused when reporting because he said the army fighting where detectors from spla. But it don't mean that their are the group of opposition under Dr riek. Most of the spla military are fighting among themselves or disagree about how the country is being handle. Corrections to IGAD its not only the opposition fighting spla, whenever spla fight kiirs government call that Dr rieks problem .UN should know by now that spla are not for peace. It happen in unity state. When some army defected from spla, they where moving to Sudan. but instead the spla have to kill them. And the spokeperston of spla was very proud informing the world about the killing of the army who are running for their dear lifes. On the other hand Dr riek,call for the people who believe in peace to join him in peaceful way. For all south sudanese pls stop beleming Dr riek. for everything instead pray for peace and tell the truth.

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