South Sudan Rebels Warn Civilians To Vacate Contested Border Town of Nimule
July 05, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s rebels forces, under the country’s former vice President, urge the citizens in Nimule and other border towns to vacate the strategic towns along the South Sudan-Uganda border and Nimule-Juba highway with immediate effect.
According to Lt. Col. James Lokudu, who spoke to our editorial team on behave of the SPLA [IO] forces under the overall command of Maj.Gen. Martin Kenyi, the rebels attacked Nimule this morning to test the strength of government troops in the area.
The lieutenant colonel ascertained attacking the strategic town of Nimuli at around 1am this morning, however, regrets that their forces had to withdraw a few hours later to allow the citizens to safely vacate the town.
“We are people army, we are fighting for federalism and freedoms for our people. we do not want to hurt them in anyway, that is the work of Salva Kiir. We attacked this morning, very well calculated to chase away the genocidal soldiers of tyrant Salva Kiir only. That is why we attacked only the army and police headquarters ” Lokudu said.
“After we saw many mothers and children running between bullets in the dark trying to escape to safety, we told our troops to back down and withdraw to allow civilians leave the town” he continued.
Col. Lokudu explains that their forces attacked Malakaya, Nimuli airport and the neighboring suburbs at around 1:25am and sustained the battle for a few minutes before the government troops and police began fleeing the town.
Lokudu said their forces captured two stores of ammunition, five mounted trucks and many AK47, RPGs and other light weapons in the town.
Fearing massive retaliation from the allied Ugandan-South Sudan troops, the rebels set blaze at least three trucks and the ammunition stores.
“We did not plan to stay in the town. We came purposely for the mission. We have destroyed what we could not carry – that all the government trucks, tanks and ammunition in the town” the Lt. Col. continues.
“We withdraw at 4am and we will come back any time. The citizens have to vacate this town, it is contested” Lokudu warns.
Asked of their motive, the colonel replied: “this route must be shutdown to force Salva Kiir government to succumb for peace to return. This is final.”
According to James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson of SPLM/A [IO] Chairman, their forces under the overall command of Major General Martin Kenyi preempted an attack by government forces on their positions in the area.
Gatdet further reiterates that their forces withdrew from the town but the opposition would be forced to close down the trade routes between Uganda and South Sudan if Salva Kiir government continue to delay peace.
“Clashes occurred inside Nimule town on Sunday at 1am until 4am when our forces withdrew from the town after destroying government’s war logistics in the area. SPLM/SPLA forces will be forced to close the trade route between Uganda and South Sudan at the Nimule border unless Salva Kiir’s government accepts peace and signs an agreement with the Movement.” said James Gatdet, the spokesman of the IO chairman.
From Nimule, the reports of fighting were confirmed by the VOA’s correspondent, Philip Thon Aleu.
“Since 4am, there is no more shooting. The shooting started at about 1:30am on Sunday… not far from my house. I was awakened by the loud sound of AK47. Three to four shots went off — from one gun according to my little military experience. After about 10 minutes, while I was now guessing what was happening, sounds of guns came from Malakaya suburb” Thon updates on his social media page.
“I made phone calls there and I was told some gunmen attacked a check point. After another few minutes, several shots were fired from Malakaya again and a thick smoke arose. Three trucks are set ablaze. Then back to my suburb, gunshots started again and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) followed. Another RGP, another one and yet another (about four loud explosions)” Aleu states.
In other reports, the opposition have gunned down an early bird Ugandan gunship in Kodok, Upper Nile state, at around 7:20Am.
The armed opposition believes that the gunship has bombed their civil population, killing at least three civilians and injuring 13 others before the rebels’ defense unit retaliated, bringing down at least one of the two gunships.