SPLM-IO denies attacking Cirilo’s NAS in Equatoria region

South Sudanese soldiers raising their guns in an undisclosed area in Central Equatoria (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 19th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A -IO) led by the former Vice-president Dr. Riek Machar Teny, has denied claims by National Salvation Front (NAS) forces led by Gen. Thomas Cirillo that it attacked it’s forces in Equatoria region.

Early this week, Thomas Cirilo’so accused the government and SPLM-IO of attacking it’s forces in Yei River state saying the attack resulted into killing and abduction of civilians by the maiNyamilepedia armed opposition group.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the SPLM-IO leadership in Equatoria denied any responsibility of attacking the NAS callig it a propaganda.

“The leadership of the SPLM-IO in Yei River State would want to inform the South Sudanese and their peace loving friends across the region and the world at large that the press statement issued by NAS alleging that the SPLA-IO force under the command Col. Emmanuel Gadi had attacked their small contingent force during a routine patrol in Minyori Boma in Yei is nonsensical, groundless and misleading in its entirety,” Wayi Godwill Edward, the spokesperson for the opposition Governor of Yei River State said in a statement extended to the Nyamilepedia.

The statement denied an actual military confrontations between the two opposition groups that might have led to kidnapping or death of civilians in the Equatoria state.

“There was no any military confrontation between NAS and SPLA-IO forces that preceded the attack on civilians, their murder and displacement at Minyori by the notorious NAS force and its allies on 14-10-2018,” Edward said in the statement.

The statement instead accused Cirilo’so group of killing civilians in some part of Yei River State’s Kajo-Keji countyou.

“The Minyori incident occurred when the forces of NAS and its allied peculiar armed groups led by self-proclaimed brigadier Khamis Nange and Col. Cons Lemi who some months ago terrorized, killed, kidnapped and displaced civilians in Mukaya Payam and Modile village in Yei Town Payam crossed from Mukaya to Minyori, an area under the SPLM/A-IO and conducted systematic house to house search hunting for civilian Kakwa linked to Minyori, Jansuk and Logo villages of Yei River County where Col. Gadi hails from,” it added.

The statement further said, as a result of the door to door operations, the forces of the National Salvation Front (NAS) ended up killing innocent civilians, including mourners. This resulted in military interventions from the SPLA forces, to defend unarmed civilians.

“As a result they indiscriminately killed about 15 civilians (including mourners in a church at Logo), maimed several others, displaced over one hundred households, pillaged their livelihoods, destroyed their huts and a church at Logo among others in a bid to provoke the SPLA-IO force under Col. Gadi. When the SPLA-IO force in the area learned of the cruelty inflicted on the civilians, it responded to defend them thereby repulsing and pursuing the attackers in disarray towards Mukaya,” the statement further said.

The group stated that the attack on civilians, serves as a clear indication that the National Salvation Front’s forces are not actually there to protect civilians from an external force, but they are doing the opposite.

“This condemnable attack on civilians based on ethnic identity has clearly shown that NAS which claims to be pro-civilians liberation movement, on the contrary has no respect for civilians lives and their property.

The opposition faction called upon the Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) and mediation team to launch a probe into the incident and make sure that the accountability for atrocities prevails.

“We therefore, call upon the CTSAAM, UNMISS and the guarantors of the R-ARCISS to investigate the Minyori incident and ensure accountability for the atrocities committed against civilians during Minyori attack,” he added.