Pagak, July 30, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudanese main armed opposition (SPLM/A-IO) under the leadership of former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar has accused South Sudan’s government of ordering its troops to target civilians in rebel-held areas, saying Juba has become a master of deception by continuing declaring many unilateral ceasefires while instructing its forces to attack the SPLA-IO and the civil population.
Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng, the Spokesperson for SPLA-IO at Pagak GHQs, released a statement detailing government attacks on civilians and clashes between the two rival forces. Deng said South Sudanese President Kiir blindfolded the international community by declaring a unilateral ceasefire in public and ordered military assaults on the armed opposition at the same time.
“For the last one month or so, after blindfolding the African Union, United Nations, the Troika and indeed the international community with the so called unilateral cease-fire, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) regime in Juba have been extremely busy struggling and directing the offensives against civilian targets and SPLM-SPLA (IO) positions across South Sudan, including in and around Maiwut,” he said.
The rebel spokesman also accuses Juba of waging a campaign of civilian depopulation in an effort to woo what he described as “dubious oil investments,” adding, the main goal for government offensive is to “capture Maiwut and Pagak.”
Brig. Gen. Deng explained in his statement that government soldiers employ the same tactics they used in other parts of the country by raping and killing women and children, looting properties, burning down villages, and forcing thousands of civilians to flee. He further disclosed that Juba-backed troops killed at least thirty civilians, injured many people, and burned down one hundred and thirty tukuls and makeshift houses. He added that government forces have also destroyed a building owned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In the document, Deng revealed that the SPLA-IO has delivered a blow to government forces in and around Juba by “killing many and capturing a good number of newly acquired guns and ammunitions.”
The statement further revealed that on July 27, the SPLA-IO intelligence unit knew that government forces were moving through the bushes to an area located outside Maiwut and armed opposition command decided to first lure invaded forces into the area and then take military action against them. He said the SPLA-IO has now blocked all directions leading to the area and will update the public as new developments emerge.
Brig. Gen. Deng also downplay the significance of recent defection of Lt. General John Kenyi Loburon, saying, Kenyi “has absolutely no bearing on the gallant SPLA (IO) forces in Central Equatoria.”
Deng also blasted recent media report that claimed that rebel Generals Khor Chuol Giet, Thok Chuol Luak, Thok Chuol Liey, and Stephen Pal Kun Kek have defected to Juba’s regime. He described a group which calls itself Jikany Nuer Community in Ethiopia as “propaganda arm of Juba regime” and urges people to distance themselves from it. He calls the report a “malicious circulation.”
Brig. Gen. Deng, who accused Kiir of running “an ethnocentric regime”, asserted in his press statement that the SPLA-IO Generals have not defected and that they are busy with command duties.
In a surprising move, the rebel spokesman directly accused Kiir’s spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny of purchasing “a grand villa worth more than 3 million US dollars in Australia to accommodate the fleeing Juba regime elements and officials.” Deng also proclaimed that South Sudan;s Information Minister Micheal Makuey Lueth has recently bought a multimillion dollar villa in a neighboring country. The accusation is the latest in what some South Sudan observers described as “lucrative war corruption.”
The armed opposition spokesperson condemns the government for ordering attacks on its outposts in Adar, Liech, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, and Raja States remind the international community that “Kiir is not a man of peace.”