South Sudan
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Heavy fighting erupts in South Sudan’s Upper Nile

Soldiers of the SPLA-IO 5th Division. Photo: File

Pagak/Mathiang, May 3, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudanese rival forces have renewed fighting in and around Guelguk and Mangok in Upper Nile, two senior rebel military officers who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media told the South Sudan News Agency in the rebel headquarters, Pagak.

The fighting, rebels said, began on Tuesday evening and escalated on Wednesday morning. The armed opposition said they have delivered a humiliating defeat to government troops and vow “to spare no life.”

One officer said South Sudan’s government sent a combined force of militiamen and soldiers who he described as “people with no clue.”

“The genocidal regime sent its forces to liberate the unliberated land, he asserted.

When pressed to explain what he meant, he simply smiled and added, “People with no clue about what it means when fighting against sons and daughters of Gaatjaak Nuer in Gaatjaak land were brought from Juba to fight against us. So, I think they have been taught a serious lesson.”

A current government official with full knowledge of the fighting explained to the South Sudan News Agency in Juba that South Sudanese government sent troops to the newly-created Maiwut State a few days ago and that the real intention of the deployment is to liberate Guelguk from rebels because of the vast oil reserve there.

“The economic situation is not good now in the country. The government is looking for ways to control Guelguk and other areas around it so that we start oil operation there,” the official revealed.

The South Sudan News Agency was also told that government troops first attacked rebel positions on Tuesday evening and that the SPLA-IO Division 5th responded Wednesday morning, resulting in the complete defeat of Juba-backed forces. The second officer asserted, “Our well-trained division annihilated them. Those of them who survived run back to Juadit forest where their base is located…the SPLA-IO is pursuing them.”

Major General Khor Chuol Giet, the 5th Division Commander, calls on civilians to be calm and warn that the SPLA-IO will spare no life of anyone who accepts Juba’s order to come to fight the SPLA-IO. He urges government troops to think twice before landing a foot in areas under his control.

“I want them [government soldiers] to think twice before coming to our areas. Don’t come or you will see with your own eyes,” he warned.

Maj. Gen. Giet blasted government forces, saying “they came here to kill their own mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters so they can keep collecting their ration from Kiir.

For the last few days, the South Sudan News Agency witnessed heavy movements of the armed opposition troops along Upper Nile main corridors, prompting some civilians to flee their homes. One rebel military intelligence officer claims the SPLA-IO was fully aware of the coming of government troops to Guelguk and Mangok areas.

There was no immediate comment from the office of SPLA-IO Spokesman.