South Sudan army downplays rebel capability to disrupt oil production

September 18, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudanese army on Monday downplayed capability of the armed opposition forces in unity region to regain strong foothold to disrupt oil production in the region

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) guard an oil facility (AFP)

The deputy spokesperson for the government forces Col. Santo Domic told Sudan Tribune that the security situation in the region was now calm and under control, though the anti-peace elements have been attempting to interfere with the life of the civil population from attending to economic activities.

“There is no threat to oil fields. There are enough forces to provide protection for production,” said Col. Domic when reached on Monday.

For his part, Col.Dickson Gatluak Jock, spokesman of SPLA-IO faction under the leadership of the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai said in a separate statement released to the public on Monday that negative armed group under Machar launched a petty attack in an attempt to interrupt the sprouting stability in Northern Liech state.

“At around 5:30 today in the morning, elements of disgruntled armed forces associated to Riek Machar attacked Nhialdiu town but they were repulsed back after they burnt down some houses at the outskirts of the town. Their intention was to loot civilian properties such as food and cattle and also to abduct children for eventual conscription to their forces,” said Dickson in a statement.

Today’s attack, he said, coincided with ongoing local community dialogue in NhialDiu that brought together community leaders and counties commissioners of Budang, NhialDiu and Pawel.

The spokesman of the pro-government faction the new attack was the second incident perpetrated by the same armed group of Machar after they allegedly failed at Pakur, Koch last week.

“This is no longer legitimate to take the lives of those who are not carrying arms. Sudan people liberation army in Opposition, the SPLA-IO combined with SPLA infantry from the 4th Division is pursuing the fleeing elements towards the direction of Rupnyagai,” the statement reads in part.

“We want to make it clear to these armed forces that, SPLA-IO under the leadership of General Taban Deng Gai will continue to protect civilians from any attack by any insurgents,” it adds

It further claimed that the pro-government faction together with the government is very well informed and monitoring the movement of what he called peace spoilers from Bieh and Akobo states with intention of attacking our defensive position in Waat.

“Finally, we want to bring it to the attention of the region and the international community that SPLA-IO forces are determined to protect peace and those elements of merciless force allied to Dr Riek who are targeting civilians,” it reads

The deputy spokesman of armed opposition Lam Paul Gabriel did not make any comment to the statement when contacted to react to the release on Monday.