South Sudan rebels warn of “river of body bags” as fighting rages in Upper Nile


Rebel soldiers in undisclosed location. Photo: Getty Images/File

Pagak/Juba, July 6, 2017 (SSNA) — Heavy fighting between government and rebel forces have resumed in and around Upper Nile’s Guelguk and Mathiang towns, the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned.

Senior rebel military officers told the SSNA in Pagak that a combination of government, Sudanese rebels, and militias have launched surprise attacks on rebel positions in and around Mathiang and Guelguk, causing civilians to flee their homes.

Rebels said they lured in heavily armed government convoy of specialized military armored trucks into Mathiang and Guelguk thinking that they captured them without a fight.

“We knew they were coming. So, what we did was to leave major areas to fool them into believing that they capture our bases,” SPLA-IO military intelligence officer Khamis Mawwil told the SSNA in Pagak.

“There will be a river of body bags if they think they can take over our areas in Upper Nile,” he warned.

The armed opposition also states that Juba attacked their areas because it doesn’t want any revitalization of the 2015 South Sudan peace deal.

Rebels said they have recaptured both Mathiang and Guelguk Thursday and that they inflicted heavy losses on the government forces, adding, “We captured many of their weapons and military trucks.”

A senior government official who refused to be identified told the SSNA in Juba that the goal of the government is to take full control of Gaatjaak areas and then replace rebel institutions with government ones.

The South Sudan News Agency has learned that after Juba-backed troops captured Mathiang and Guelguk, a unit of government forces was sent to Thoch with instruction to attack the SPLA-IO areas and proceed to Maiwut and Pagak.

However, South Sudanese government forces panicked Thursday evening after SPLA Bilpham General Headquarters in Juba informed them that rebel forces retook Guelguk and Mathiang.

The South Sudan News Agency was told by a senior rebel General that at least five SPLA-IO low-level officers who were caught communicating with government troops were arrested by the SPLA-IO military intelligence unit and taken to unknown location.

The officer refused to identify the identities of the officers alleged to have been secretly collaborating with the government forces.

There was no immediate comment from the SPLA-IO’s Spokesman, Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng.

However, minutes after the South Sudan News Agency published the report, SPLA-IO’s Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Deng, released an official statement confirming the fighting.

“In the Mangok, Mathiang, Malou and Biot fighting, the gallant SPLA-IO forces of Division Five (5) under the command of Cdr Major General Khor Chuol Giet and Deputy Sector Four (4) Commander Major General Peter Lim Bol resisted and repulsed the Juba regime aggression from the Guelguk direction back to their Malou temporary trenches, where their remnants are now being contained,” Deng said.

Deng added that Juba-backed forces suffered both in material and human losses.

“In this intense fighting, the Juba regime suffered a very debilitating loss both in human and materially. In terms of human, the Juba regime lost some seventy-four (74) soldiers, including eight (8) officers, on spot. This is in addition to those injured and without access to any food or medical attention whatsoever. Materially, the Juba regime abandoned one (1) Worrol mounted with 14 (4) barrels and other four (4) land cruisers mounted with 12.7mm machine guns,” he said.

Brig. General Deng accuses Juba of believing only in action, warning, “the armed opposition will no longer entertain any further provocations and aggressions anywhere in South Sudan.”

Deng further reveals that fighting between the rival forces has also been intensifying in Equatoria region.

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18 Comments. Leave new

  • Luate Mangura
    July 6, 2017 10:45 pm

    What is the benefit of war that every time we love to fight each other?

  • Hope you all are fine! I want to send my article to your kindly office to be posted or publish if possible please?
    John Kanyo

  • Innocent lives lost for the sake of power! What is wrong with peaceful means of settling all grievances?

  • Diplo Guest
    July 7, 2017 1:05 am

    The stupid will get finished with this senseless war.

  • sunday sandra
    July 7, 2017 3:24 am

    War can not solve our problems in south Sudan. this issue of capturing and recapturing must be abolished in the strongest terms. We need peace in our wealthy south Sudan.

  • Think Tank wanted Nuer to suffer a lot, but Nuer don’t know it. I believe Machar is looking for peace, but he has been highjack.

  • when did this happen please get me imformed

  • Peter Gatkuoth Gatdet
    July 7, 2017 3:45 am

    Sons Of Devil And Children Of Prostitut God Will Punishment To Many Ways Hay Hoo Show Them To Idiot With N R Wiew I O Weey

  • Apologized and you are free than finishing off.

  • Daniel Thon
    July 7, 2017 5:34 am

    If the end of any fight is resolved through negotiations,then why loose lives .

  • Koang Gatluak
    July 7, 2017 9:07 am

    God is on our side viva io we are standing behind you

  • makuei duop
    July 7, 2017 9:14 am

    why should country be in war causing death to innocent civilians because of personal interest for the seat..

  • If all south Sudan think’s in the way they comment on this article, we would have peace in our home.

  • Emmy south sudan
    July 7, 2017 3:49 pm

    Makuei, what about it . have U heard that a civilian Died in this article ? We
    Should stop our claims of saying situation is Normal , Not aware of, when people are Dying. Where is our responsibility.

  • USA suffered our country not the people, but our people are not smart enough to realise it. Look at all the rich countries, where are the fighting? USA fund the other side to fight other side

  • war will stop in our country, if we are able to make independent decisions but for now most of our people follow their own person whether he is wrong or not. The educated are exploiting them and they use tribal politics as a means to blind fold our people.
    So people should ask themselves, it there any reasons why we should not solve our differences through a peaceful means. Is violence the only option.

  • […] SPLA-IO early this month warned of a river of body bags if Juba attempts to take over its strongholds in Upper […]


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