Addis Ababa, February 3, 2014 (SSNA) — Rebel forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army –In Opposition, said South Sudanese government’s troops and foreign mercenaries have caused serious damages in Koch and Manyiandit counties of the oil-rich Unity State.
The SPLM/A—In Opposition, asserted that combined forces from Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan People Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N), and mixed forces of Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and its Congolese rebel ally M23, have all participated in the operations.
In a press statement signed by rebels’ military spokesman Brig. General Lul Ruai Koang, the opposition forces say Juba-backed force with its foreign allies attacked Leah and Padeah Payams of Manyiadit and Leer Counties, killing women and children.
“…Kiir’s Tribal Army, JEM and Bapiny’s militias launched sequential attacks on Leah and Padeah Payams of Manyiadit ad Leer Counties respectively driving thousands of women & children and elderly into Mou and Guiy rivers where unknown numbers from these aforesaid vulnerable groups had drowned. Women & children and the elderly were deliberately killed, also burned down were civilians’ shelters/houses & local government’s administrative centers, cattle barns, cattle were either looted or machine gunned and other forms/means of live hoods destroyed”, the statement reads in part.
The rebels also declared that their forces inflicted heavy casualties on the attacking forces.
“One Maj. Gen. from JEM was killed, two Brig. Generals from Bapiny’s militias were killed, two Toyota Land-cruisers mounted with 14.5 and 12.7 machines were destroyed, and over 75 were killed or wounded and their attempts to advance on Leer County were effectively thwarted”, the statement added.
In a separate development, the rebel’s forces maintain that government troops and their foreign mercenaries burned down Leer county and surrounding villages killing innocent civilians. Leer is the hometown of the South Sudanese rebel’s leader Dr. Riek Machar.
“A combined force consisting of Government troops, elements from Justice and Equality Movement Rebels (JEM) and SSLM/A militias advanced on Leer town on 1st February 2014 destroying everything on their path. Kiir’s forces burned down the whole of Leer town and the entire surrounding villages. The attacking forces also hunted down and killed women & children and elderly who had gone to hide in nearby bushes and swampy areas as well as destroyed properties”, the rebels added.
The M23 is a ruthless Congolese rebel group accused by the United Nations of committing serious crimes against humanity. The UN, in its previous reports found direct links between Uganda’s government and the M23. JEM is a Sudanese rebel movement fighting against Khartoum. SPLM/A-North is a banned political/rebel group whose main objective is to change the current Sudanese government’s ideology either politically or militarily.
The rebel forces also claim to condemn the killing of innocent civilians in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu towns and urge the international community and other stakeholders to denounce Kiir’s army atrocious crimes against innocent civilians.