Rebel military command blasts ceasefire monitors over ‘fuel stealing’ claim

Pagak, November 13, 2015 (SSNA) — South Sudanese rebel military command of the SPLA-IO has denied reports that its armed forces have last month stolen fuel destined for United Nations Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS), saying UN peacekeepers who were operating barges with government agents have actually engaged in “reckless activities.”

Media reports, which the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) cannot independently verify alleged that South Sudan’s Ceasefire monitors have accused rebel forces of stealing United Nations fuel from the barges that they seized last month along the White Nile.

In October, the armed opposition seized barges which they said were transporting government’s weapons and ammunition along the White Nile.

Rebels later detained at least 16 UN’s peacekeepers, three officers of South Sudanese security agents, two SPLA’s soldiers, and six barge technicians aboard after they seized the barges.

Johnson Wal Hoth, a high ranking official with the rebel military command in rebel headquarters, Pagak, denied the alleged accusation and told the SSNA that media reports that the SPLA-IO took UN’s fuel is baseless, adding “all properties of the UN were not taken by anyone.”

“Anyone who thinks we took UNMISS fuel is lying,” declared the furious SPLA-IO’s Officer.

“All properties of the UN were not taken, they were returned to UNMISS. We also released peacekeepers including government agents,” Johnson said.

The armed opposition seized the barges last month at Kaka located on a rebel-held territory, saying the barges were carrying government weapons and ammunition.

The UN later said the barges were being operated by its peacekeeping personnel and that fuel for its mission activities was on the boats at the time of the seizure.

However, the rebel military command also said UN peacekeepers were acting out of normal rules after they found South Sudanese government personnel aboard the barges.

Attempts to try to get IGAD’s reaction about the allegation went unanswered.

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