Scores feared dead in fresh attacks

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

The Commissioner of Fashoda County Joseph Aban Odhong yesterday reported a fresh attack in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State.

He accused Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) non-unified forces under Dr. Riek Machar and SPLA-IO Kitwang under Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual of join operation against the civilians in his county.

He confirmed the clashes to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper saying fierce fighting was on, yesterday (Monday) and civilians have been displaced in large number leaving settled areas empty.

Commissioner Aban disclosed that there were casualties in large number, citing that he doesn’t know the exact number yet, since gunshots were still being heard within the villages around Fashoda town.

Speaking to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Aban Odhong said the attacks were still ongoing.

“Even right now as we are talking there is shooting around the town though there is no much shooting in town because there are government forces within the town, … only in the villages where there is shooting and killing, they have even displaced people,” Aban reported.

“As we are talking people are in water, the area has remained with the attackers, the attackers came from Jonglei State, through Panyikang to Malakal up to Fashoda,” Aban stated.

He also alleged that the attackers are forces of SPLA-IO under Dr. Riek and Kitgwang forces under Gatwech.

The Fashoda commissioner added that they were surprised by the joined operation made against the civilians.

“We are surprised of what made them to (conduct) joined operation, they are attacking civilians, there are many casualties up to now there is no update on the number,” said commissioner Aban.

Meanwhile when contacted on the matter, the SPLA-IO spokesperson Col. Lam Paul Gabriel denied their forces attacking civilians in the Fashoda areas of Upper Nile State.

“This is a communal violence and it’s hard to handle, our civilians should understand that not every Nuer is SPLA-IO just like not every Shilluk is part of Agwelek, the white army just do their own, they are not politically motivated,” Lam responded, adding that SPLA-IO forces under Riek Machar did not join any operation with Kitgwang in Fashoda county.

Previously, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) condemned the ongoing fighting among armed youth in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State.

Clashes are believed to have resulted in the loss of significant number of lives, women being abducted and more than 8,000 people are being displaced from Kodok town and nearby locations.

UNMISS is also calling for an immediate cessation of violence and urged all leaders -political, civic, religious or traditional to do their part to end the hostilities and restore security among the affected communities in the Upper Nile region.

However, SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang Declaration is yet to response to the accusation.

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