Wednesday, July 26, 2017

South Sudan Rebels Accuse Uganda of Carrying Out Airstrikes in Upper Nile
July 22, 2017 (KAMPALA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction loyal to ex-First Vice President, Riek Machar claimed Ugandan warplanes carried out airstrikes on their base in Upper Nile state on Friday.

The armed opposition spokesperson, Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng, said two heavily armed Ugandan gunships bombed a rebel outpost in Thochdeng in an alleged attempt to rescue pro-government forces.

“It was the late evening yesterday at around 3:30 PM, when the two Ugandan gunships accompanied by a white (MI) Helicopter that was not identified which company it comes from but later landed within two minutes near the enemy trenches while the two military gunships started bombardment on the SPLA-IO position at Thocdeng,” he said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

He, however, explained that a response to the airstrikes from their forces on the ground forced the gunships to lose focus and disappear.

“The SPLA-IO artillery unit had excessively retaliated the air attack with (Zuu -23) until the two gunships went and bombarded randomly on the surrounding villages at Thocdeng,” said Gatjiath.

The airstrikes left no casualties, the armed opposition spokesperson stressed, adding that a least 37 pro-government soldiers were killed.

Sudan Tribune could not independently verify claims from the rebel spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese armed opposition spokesman also accused Kampala and Juba of orchestrating the plan to attack Maiwut and Pagak and warned that any attempt to capture Maiwut or Pagak would be a fatal mistake on the government side.

The rebel official called on the United Nations, African Union, and Troika countries to condemn Juba and Uganda over such attacks, which violates the unilateral ceasefire President Salva Kiir declared.

“We repeatedly keep informing the UN, AU, Troika and indeed international community to witness the ongoing belligerent triggered by the two notorious presidents against resuscitation of 2015 peace process in the war torn nation,” further said Gatjiath.

The airstrikes, if confirmed, come days after President Kiir met his Ugandan counterpart in an attempt to re-unite the various factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

In May this year, three factions of South Sudan’s ruling party agreed in Kampala to set aside their differences and work out a roadmap to reunify the historical party.

The meeting was, however, boycotted by the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by South Sudan’s former First-Vice President, Riek Machar.

South Sudan was plunged into conflict in December 2013 as the rivalry between Kiir and his then-Vice President, Riek Machar, turned into a civil war. The fighting, which has often been along ethnic lines, triggered Africa’s worst refugee crisis, with over three million people fleeing their home


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