JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has dismissed, as ‘baseless’, claim by spokesman of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang that it has declared war.
This morning, Gen. Lul said in a statement extended to Sudans Post that the SPLA-IO has declared war after launching a fresh attack on its bases in Upper Nile state this morning and said that the Machar-led group was organizing and mobilizing forces to attack its positions in both Upper Nile and Unity State.
“Our peace partner, SPLA-IO has officially declared War on SSPDF. As we speak, fierce clashes are ongoing in Malual-Gathoth, Maiwut County in Upper Nile State,” Gen. Lul said in the statement.
“SPLA-IO Forces are mobilizing to launch attacks on own defensive positions in Pagak, Maiwut, Turow. SSPDF defensive positions in Unity State are expected to come under SPLA-IO anytime,” Lul added.
But in a counter-statement, SPLA-IO spokesman Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel said his group is dismayed by what he referred to as a ‘baseless accusation’ from the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) in which the army said one of the SPLA-IO generals was leading the alleged onslaught.
“This morning, the SPLA-IO read with dismay the baseless accusation made by the SSPDF spokesperson that the SPLA-IO forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Duit Yiech attacked the SSPDF forces in Malual Gahoth,” Lam said in the statement also extended to Sudans Post.
While accusing the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces of preparing to attack SPLA-IO positions in Maiwut and other areas, the SPLA-IO mouthpiece said the fighting this morning was taking place at an SPLA-IO base in Guol which indicate that the group was attacked rather than attacking.
“The fight happened in Guol which is a base of the SPLA-IO in Longechuk County not Maiwut as claimed by Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang. The attackers came from Malual Gahoth. That means the SSPDF are the aggressors,” Lam said.
“It should also be noted that the SSPDF is currently readying its forces to attack the SPLA-IO base of Mathiang the HQ of Longechuk County as I write,” he added, pointing out that “Lt. Gen. Duit Yiech is a veteran with over 80 years of age and currently sick in one of the hospitals in Ethiopia. This disapproves the claim that he commanded the fight in Guol.”
Source: Culled From Sudan Post.