Jan 5th, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– South Sudan’s army faction loyal to president Salva Kiir has admitted the heavy fighting that occurred yesterday night in the capital, Juba.
Speaking to media, SPLA [IG] spokesman, Brigadier Gen. Lul Ruai Kong, claims that the recent fighting was between the army and a defected Lt. Colonel, who joined rebellion two months ago.
“Rebel forces led by Chan Garang attacked our position at around 10:00 pm near Kapuri, but they were repulsed. The attackers are being given a hot pursuit because they are going towards Wunduruba,” Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Kong tells media.
Lt. Colonel Chan Garang defected from the army on November 6th in Torit, the Capital city of Imatong State, in the far Southeast of the country.
Torit lies approximately 150 kilometers (93 mi), by road, east of Juba.
Despite Lt. Col. Chan reported having defected with about 150 soldiers and declared his defection to the main rebel group, SPLA/M[IO], the army spokesman claims in his report that Chan Garang defected with only one bodyguard.
“Chang defected with one bodyguard. At the time of his defection, Chan was about to be dismissed from SPLA for a string of criminal offenses dating back to 2003. Summary of criminal Offenses Chan had committed since 2003: 1. Rape, 2. Murder, 3. Cattle theft and 4. Commandeering of a civilian truck” Lul Ruai reported on November 15th, 2017.
The SPLA spokesman and his counterpart, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, who called on the rebels to respect a recently signed Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, did not blame the attack on SPLA[IO] or Dr. Riek Machar although Lul acknowledges that Chan has joined Dr. Machar’s faction.
“SPLA hopes to hold him accountable at the earliest opportunity. It’s unfortunate that SPLA IO under Riek Machar continues to be a safe haven for criminals evading justice. His claims that he had not been paid for 7 months was untrue.” Brig. Lul claimed in his earlier report.
Brig. Lul did not testify on how a Lt. Colonel, who defected with one bodyguard, returned to attack the national capital when the “SPLA hopes to hold him [Chan Garang] accountable at the earliest opportunity”.
Although the army claims to have repulsed the attackers and continued to pursue them, security remains tight in the national capital as residents fear similar attacks from the rebels.