Addis Ababa, April 23, 2015 (SSNA) — The office of the Spokesman for the armed opposition of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO) has strongly denied media reports that it’s armed forced have participated in ongoing fighting between government troops and General Johnson Olony militia in Malakal.
The office of rebel Spokesman also refuted any military link with Shiluk-based militia, saying the SPLA-IO’s soldiers did not participate in the fighting and made it clear that there is no any relation or link between the Johnson Olony’s militia and the SPLA-IO.
“This is to inform the public [and] the entire country of South Sudan that SPLA/IO forces have not involved in the ongoing fighting in Malakal and Baliet as some media reported this afternoon,” a statement seen by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) reads in part.
“I would like to state it very clear that there are no relations between SPLA/IO forces and Olony’s faction. Some media are trying to magnify this misunderstanding to the extent that our forces have signal communication with General Johnson OLony to send in reinforcement, these all allegations are untrue and baseless information,” the statement further stated.
There have been unconfirmed reports that Olony has inked a secret deal with South Sudanese rebels.
Fighting broke out on Wednesday between government and Olony forces, raising questions as to what happened to a military deal which was signed between Kiir and Olony.
Olony has signed a deal with South Sudanese government, making his group loyal to Kiir’s government, and Olony himself has on many occasions allowed his fighters to fight against rebel forces in Upper Nile State.
Many South Sudanese believe that the recent killing of one of Shiluk Generals by the SPLA-Juba could be the cause of already deteriorating relation between Kiir and Olony.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said at least five staff members of Governor of Upper Nile State were wounded in the fighting and that they are being treated in a UN-run hospital.
The SPLA-IO also disclosed that it has no plan to attack government’s positions, saying it is committed to cessation of hostilities agreement which was signed in January this year. The statement further asserted that the SPLA-IO will only act if Juba resumes its “recklessness behavior."