Updated at 11:30PM, July 20th, 2014(Pacific Time).
July 20, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The strategic town of Nasir has fallen to allied forces of white army and SPLA(in opposition) at around 7Am on Sunday.
According to Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the army spokesperson for SPLA forces, the attack was a retaliation following attacks on their bases at Mandeng and Jigmir by the government forces in the last two days. However, South Sudan government believes that they had permission from the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Team to attack the rebels’ strongholds.
“The liberation of Nasir came about after repeated futile attempts made by Kiir’s forces to arrest Gen.Gathoth at his twin bases in Maan-Deng and Jigmir.” The Brigadier General said.
Lul reports that the rebel forces have been resisting, what the government believe was an attempt to arrest the SPLA’s top generals including Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, the military government of Upper Nile state.
“In the last three days, our resistance forces have been fighting in self-defense in order to protect and prevent unlawfully arrest of the top military commander” Lul said.
“Today at dawn, Kiir’s forces were finally repulsed, pursued at neck-breaking speed and as result, Nasir was captured at 700am this morning.” He continued.
Maj. General Gathoth Gatkouth, the former commissioner of Nasir county, captured Malakal three times before the May 9th agreement, however, he was thereafter promoted to Military Governor position.
The overall command was then switched to an Anyanya veteran, Maj. Gen. Tanginye (Gatwech Machan), who was released from Juba’s prisoners a few weeks before the conflict broke out in December.
Lul believes that the unexpected victory has destroyed 3 government tanks, trucks and captured many weapons and ammunition.
“In the battle for control of Nasir, three government tanks and a number of trucks were destroyed, others captured in good condition”. Lul reiterates.
“Kiir’s forces are in total disarray, fled in different directions, some ruminants are being pursued towards Yer-Adiu, a few surrendered to the UNMISS camp while the bulk of fear stricken loyalists took their last dive into crocodiles infested Sobat River.” Lul alleges.
According to government sources, the loyal forces launched a “surprise attack against the rebels at Jingmir Payam” on 16th July, in which the targeted military general, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth “narrowly escaped”.
“The SPLA Commandos launched a surprised attack today against the rebels at Jingmiir Payam in Nasir County to capture renegade General Garhoth Gatkuoth.” said “Gen”. Gordon Buay, who speaks on behave of the government.
“Operation Thunderbolt, commanded by the SPLA Brig. General Peter Wiyual Khor, attacked the Headquarters of renegade Garhoth Gatkuoth at dawn on Thursday.” Buay said on 17th July, 2014.
“Renegade Garhoth Gatkuoth narrowly escaped with only underwear. Three of his bodyguards and five wounded rebels were captured alive.” Buay continues.
The sources believe that the rebels, flushed out of their strongholds at Maan-deng and Jingmir, have suffered severely.
“In both Jingmiir and Mandeng, the SPLA Commandos captured 128 AK-47s, 4 RPGs and 10 PKM rifles. His assistance, Duer Tut Duir, who was in Mandeng Boma, ran to Ethiopian border.” Buay continues.
The government forces captured the rebel headquarters in Nasir and Bentiu during the May 9th ceasefire agreement, signed by Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
European Union sanctioned Gen. Santino Deng Wol, on the government side, and Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka on Machar’s side, in relation to Bentiu attacks, however, fighting continues in Unity state until last week.
Government forces have attacked UN food distribution in Nhialdiu. Other coordinated attacks have been reported in Guit, Mayom, Aweil and Kwajock of Norther and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.
Permission from IGAD Monitoring and Verification Team.
Government sources reiterate that they had permission from IGAD Monitoring and Verification Team to attack rebel strongholds in Upper Nile state.
“After exhausting all avenues, the IGAD Monitors in Nasir advised the SPLA forces to defend themselves because renegade Garhoth Gatkuoth refused to heed the advice of IGAD. As a result, the SPLA Commandos attacked his Headquarters at Jingmiir and Mandeng Boma where his forces stayed.” Buay said,
Gordon Buay, a former rebel, is allied with the government as a spokesman for South Sudan Liberation army(SSLA), a rebel force that is yet to be integrated into SPLA, government’s main stream. SSLA fights alongside Salva Kiir forces in Bentiu, however, most of their fighters have defected to the opposition.
After a dispute among the government forces at Maban, many disgruntled soldiers are believed to have switched allegiance to SPLA/M in opposition.
Sources from Maban confirm that the loyal forces in division 1 at Tipen, a few kilometers away from Maban, fought because of tribal grouping of the government forces.
“Since May the forces have been suspecting one another because the Bahr el Ghazal soldiers are monitoring the Nuer soldiers. They are divided into units, Nuer with their own unit and dinka with another unit. The Dinka unit received rumors that Nuer are defecting, and they launched attack on them yesterday” said Taban K. Judi, a resident of Maban.
Other reports confirm that more than 400 troops, who defected from the government forces at Renk, have been received at Wadakona, a rebel base at the far North of Upper Nile state.
Government sources have reported shelling of their base in Renk, however, they believe they are in full control of the strategic town.