National, News

Clash; Unity state governor cheats death

By William Madouk


A cloud of uncertainty hangs over a fresh fighting between peace partners, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), in Rubkona County, Unity State.

Unity State Minister of Information, David Gai told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that what transpired was that SPLA-IO forces laid an ambush against the governor, Dr. Joseph Manytuil Wejang, an assassination attempt while he was on a peace tour.

“The governor of Unity State left in the morning in Roriah, a part of Rubkona County. He has been there for four days now. He was touring Rubkona (to disseminate a message of peace among the communities),” Gai said.

According to him, the governor, Dr. Manytuil, was intending to visit communities along the road in Rubkona (from Roriah to Kaikang going to Mayom County) in an area called Mal to assess the situation.

“He [Manytuil] went there to see the situation of our people, the citizens, and in that place, there is a market where SSPDF and SPLM/A-IO forces are also deployed alongside the road,” he explained.

“So, on his way to meet the community, they are ambushed by SPLM-IO forces. So, this is what exactly happened in the morning—it is not a fight outbreak, it is an ambush of the convoy of H.E., the governor of Unity State, by SPLM/A-IO forces,” noted Gai.

He said the governor escaped unhurt but underlined that the SSPDF chief of military intelligence, including a Major-General on convey, were badly wounded and are currently in the hospital undergoing treatment.

“Well, the governor is fine. He came back to Roriah, where he left in the morning.” Gai continued.

The Unity State Information Minister also trashed and termed it a ‘baseless accusation’, a statement by SPLA-IO military spokesperson on his Facebook page alleging that SSPDF attacked their base.

The information minister said that the details on casualties are still scanty, but assured that he would update the media when enough data is collected.

He pointed the accusing finger at the SPLM/A-IO for defiance after an order for all forces to move back 10 kilometers in the said area, which the SSPDF complied with, adding that it’s a clear intention of a ‘clandestine’ plan against the governor.

“They (SPLM/A-IO) declined to move away simply because they have an intention to harm the governor,” he claimed.

However, SPLA-IO military spokesperson, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel had alleged that their forces in Barkuol Ngol base were attacked from two sides: one from the side of Mayom County and another led by the governor from the Rubkona side.

“The attack was a little heavy, but we wanted to repulse the attack, and unfortunately, the attack that came from the side of Rubkona, the governor himself led it,” Lam alleged.

He explained that the division commander in the area camouflaged the fact that they were going to open the market. However, Col. Lam questioned how civilian centers could be operating in their military bases.

“But there is no civilian in our base. You can’t come to our base to open the civilian center. That was an act of aggression.” he added.

Mr. Lam stated that their forces in Barkuol Ngol base only acted on self-defense after being attacked.

He also rubbished the claims made by the Unity State minister of information that the SPLA-IO force ambushed the governor in an attempt to assassinate him as a ‘concoction’ and ‘untrue’ report.

According to him, the SPLA-IO leadership had already informed the Joint Defense Board (JDB) over the matter, and the forces on the ground were told to restrain from aggression unless in self-defense.

Col. Lam emphasized that peace should be implemented in letter and spirit, citing that South Sudanese are tired of gunshots and they should enjoy peace fruit.

When contacted, the SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that they (SSPDF headquarters) had not gotten an accurate information from the battlefield.

“We don’t have clear information on the circumstances leading to the arms confrontation between the SSPDF (4th Infantry Division) and SPLA-IO,” he added.

General Ruai said they would gather facts on what transpired and update the public and media today.

Comments are closed.