S. Sudan rebels say overran key government garrison in Equatoria

August 30, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudanese rebel forces allied to the country’s former first vice president, Riek Machar claimed they overrun a key government military post in Central Equatoria region.

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Rebel fighters hold their weapons as they march through a village in rebel-controlled territory in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 9 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

“The SPLA (IO) Division 2B under the command of Maj. Gen. Mabieh Gar has successfully dislodged the regime’s forces at Gulumi barrack outside Morobo county. As of now, they’re being pursued by Brigade 1 under direct command of Brig. Gen. Wal Chuol Lual”, partly reads a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Wednesday.

The armed opposition’s deputy military spokesman’s statement comes a day after the South Sudanese defence minister, Kuol Manyang had issued a 30-days ultimatum for the rebel fighters to either put down their weapons or return to the young nation to participate in the national dialogue or risk being crushed militarily.

The capture of the military garrison, the rebels said, occurred after a long battle which started at 09:00 AM to 01:00 PM (local time) on Wednesday.

Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the veracity of the report.

The government military spokesperson, Lul Ruai Koang said he unaware of the development, describing the statement from rebels as the “usual social media propaganda”.

The rebel fighters allied to the exiled former first vice-president had earlier also issued a statement claiming to have captured Kaya, Bindu, Kimba and Bazi areas.

The four-year conflict has affected some 7.5 million people who are in dire need of humanitarian support. Some 15 aid workers were killed this year until now bringing the number of humanitarians killed during the four-year conflict to 85 people.

However, the lack of security impedes humanitarian access to the civilians while the aid workers have become a target for the rival parties.

Aid actors reported 100 humanitarian access incidents in South Sudan in June 2017, representing the highest number of incidents recorded in a single month in 2017 to date. Also, there are 257 incidents of violence against aid workers and 32 looting attacks on aid convoys.

(ST)