Oct 3, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— South Sudan’s warring parties, the SSPDF and the SPLA in Opposition, have continued fighting on the 4th day in a row in Waat of Bieh state, one of the main strongholds for the armed opposition under the country’s former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
According to verified sources on the ground, fighting resumed in Waat on October 1st at around 5Am and continued sporadically until this morning, October 4th, 2017.
Responding to the reports of fighting in Waat, the two spokesmen of the warring SPLA parties have both claimed upper hand in the fighting, however, both agreed that civilians are affected by the ongoing fighting in Lou-Nuer areas.
According to SPLA-IG spokesman, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Kong, the SPLA repulsed the attacks and inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels.
Brig. Gen. Lul claims that at least 4 soldiers were killed on Kiir’s side and 20 others were wounded in the first day of fighting alone compared to casualties on Machar’s side which he puts at 20 and 40, respectively.
“Four (4) soldiers were killed in action and Twenty (20) others were wounded. Twenty (20) bodies for rebel fighters and Lou-Nuer White Army were found lying very close to SPLA’s defensive position but an intercepted radio message indicated 91 were killed and that. Forty (40) others sustained serious gunshot wounds.” Claims.
To SPLA-IO spokesman, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, at 200 soldiers were killed on government side within the last four days and 210 others wounded.
“Indeed, in the ongoing fighting in and around Waat, the brutal Juba regime has so far lost some two hundred (200) soldiers and another two hundred and ten (210) are believed to have been wounded and are languishing in the surrounding trenches without any access to food, water and medical attention.” Said Brig. Gen. Gatjiath Deng.
Gatjiath believes that the war in Lou-Nuer is an operation ordered by the leadership of the division 8th of SPLA-IO to self-defense the community and their property from the Juba regime.
” The operation is an inalienable act of self-defence and a direct response to constant and consistent Juba regime offensive, aggression, provocation and human rights abuses in the area, since the collapse of the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in July 2016.” Brig. Gen. Gatjiath continued.
Although he ordered a “national dialogue”, president Kiir ordered war on Lou-Nuer earlier this year. His forces captured Yuai, a Lou-Nuer area, on the same day he convened a national prayer in the capital, Juba.
Since the return of rainy season, Kiir’s heavily armed forces have made very little progress beyond Waat, however, they hope to capture Akobo and other rebels’ strongholds if they maintain their grip on Waat and Yuai until next dry season.
A national dialogue, revitilization and other peace initiatives are bubbled around Juba but neither has reached the front line so far to cease hostilities.
The armed opposition are calling for an all-inclusive peace process but Juba would rather hold elections in their strongholds to sideline political options or peace mediation to end the war. Whether such elections would be recognized by the international community and the African Union remains to be seen.
South Sudan’s conflict, which began 4 years ago, has now displaced over 4 millions people and killed hundreds of thousands that are barely accounted for.