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Casualties; Three killed, five wounded in Monday clash

By William Madouk


Monday clash in Rubkona, Unity State, claimed lives of three SSPDF soldiers while five others were wounded.

South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“We lost three servicemen; five were wounded, including two officers at the rank of Major General, one from police and another from wildlife service,” Maj. Gen. Lul said.

According to the military spokesperson, SPLA-IO forces ambushed the governor of Unity State’s convey in an attempt to assassinate him alongside the fourth infantry division commander.

“It was around mid-morning when a very long convoy comprising of 30 vehicles left for a place called Nguol village. On arrival at the place, Nguol, they fell in an SPLA-IO-led ambush,” he added.

Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai said that the governor of Unity State, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, and other senior security officers accompanying the governor were in the convoy.

The SSPDF spokesperson further added that the injury was due to shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade the assailant fired.

“What happened yesterday was a clear attempt by the SPLA-IO command in the Unity State to assassinate the governor of the Unity State along with the commander of the 4th division,” he noted.

Gen. Lul said the chief of defense forces and his counterpart from SPLA-IO agreed to deescalate the situation and form a fact-finding committee to go and investigate what happened in the area.

He also rubbished the SPLA-IO military spokesperson’s statement that the SSPDF attacked their base, terming it a ‘baseless accusation’.

“Whenever organized forces are going to war, they don’t include in the convoy political leaders, and the governor is a political leader. He has nothing to do with combat engagement.” Lul continued.

Mr. Lul said combat engagements are always executed by tactical officers at operation levels but not at strategic levels.

“So it would be the highest degree of stupidity for us to have a convoy comprising of 30 vehicles, with the top political leadership and the military leadership on board, to go attack a small base in the village. That is not true,” he disputed.

“Maybe Col. Lam is not familiar with how operations are conducted or who and what level conducts an operation because they have rank inflation,” he asserted.

Lul alleged that the fight was caused by two notorious major-generals from SPLA-IO, namely Ruai Khor and Tut Khor.

David Gai, Unity State Minister of Information, told this outlet yesterday that what transpired was an ambush laid by SPLA-IO forces against the governor, Dr. Joseph Manytuil Wejang, in an assassination attempt while on a peace tour.

But when contacted for more updates on casualties, the SPLA-IO military spokesman, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, said they have no information yet as the contacts of their forces on the ground remain unreachable.

However, Col. Lam told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday that their forces in Barkuol Ngol base were attacked from two sides: one from Mayom County and another led by the governor from Rubkona County.

He explained that the division commander in the area camouflaged that they were going to open the market.

However, Col. Lam questioned how civilian centers could be operating in their military base.

“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.

However, No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper was not able to independently verify what actually happened to propel the fresh fighting between peace partners (SSPDF and SPLA-IO) in Rubkona County.




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