SPLA Collects Abandoned Equipment, Occupies Deserted Positions

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Th SPLA-IO forces have reported collecting two tanks at Guom, near Nasir after the government troops abandoned their position in protest of unpaid salaries and slow peace process(Photo: supplied)

June 16, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — A report released through the office of military spokesperson for SPLA in Opposition, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, alleges that the SPLA Gallant forces under direct command of Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tanginye are taking over the abandoned areas, previously occupied by the deserting government troops.

The forces under overall command of Military Governor for Upper Nile state, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, did not only fill in the vacuum, as alleged, but believed to have collected abandoned equipments that included 2 tanks, other heavy artillery, ammunition and 7 vehicles; all reportedly abandoned by the protesting government troops.

“SPLA’s Gallant Forces under overall command of Military Governor for Upper Nile State, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth and under direct command of Front Commander, Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tangiye have collected 2 tanks (one T-72 Tank and one APC-Armored Personnel Carrier) and 7 vehicles two of which are mounted with two heavy artillery pieces (one 14.5 with 4 barrels and one Zoo 23 with two barrels).” Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang reports.

According to Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai, the allied government forces abandoned their defensive position at Guom, approximately 24 kilometers North of Nasir town, as part of the salary protests that have hit the crumbling government of Salva Kiir.

“The equipment were abandoned at Guom village some 24km north of Nasir by government troops deserting defensive positions.” Lul stated.

“A few loyalist troops estimated at 500 are still holed up in trenches northeast of Nasir. Insiders say the latest wave of desertions were prompted by salaries delays, lack of reinforcements, and food rations.” The spokesperson continued.

The report further indicates that some clashes were witnessed between a group of armed youths, who are defending their livestock, goats and chickens, from the deserting government troops.

“Armed villagers enraged by the behavior of Kiir’s troops (notorious for stealing food stuff, livestock including goats) prior to deserting are in hot pursue.” Brig. Lul reiterates.

Further reports will be established on the raids and the number of casualties.

Several reports are in circulation on this new trend. Government forces who protested and abandoned positions in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states are believed to be violent.

The troops, which abandoned Gadiang, Poktap and the outskirts, were reported to have fired a few bullets in the air on their arrival in Bor town. 2 traders were reportedly killed after they tried to resist the hungry soldiers from raiding a local market in Bor Town.

Sources indicates that Bor commissioner has positively responded with a bull to be slaughtered for the angry loyalists, a sign of a friendly welcome. Calm was temporarily restored in Bor town, however, Juba remains under immense pressure, not only for Jonglei and Upper Nile states protests, but also for Lake and Warrap states.

The government spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer has acknowledged the earlier desertions and called it a “normal military practice” that would be contained. He further added that the salaries were sent to these fronts, however, it is not clear how and when the salaries were to be paid to the soldiers.

Col. Aguer is yet to comment on the latest developments in Upper Nile, Nasir County. However, the condition remains on alert as Brig. Lul believes that the approximately 500 loyalists that remained behind were trapped in trenches.

The government soldiers have reportedly emphasized the suffering of their families, widows and orphans of the fallen soldiers. Critics believe that the soldiers have not been paid for nearly 6 months, yet their families are starving as they have no other sources of incomes.

Other reports indicates that soldiers are frustrated with the leadership in Juba for prolonging the senseless war yet preferably pays the Ugandan armies instead of the SPLA at the front lines.

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