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Fighting in Mapel as army detains senior SPLA-IO commander

Rebel forces in an unidentified place in northern Bahr Al-Ghazal (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)
Rebel forces in an unidentified place in northern Bahr Al-Ghazal (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 20, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – Fierce fighting has broken out between South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) in Mapel, one of the training centers for the unified forces, sources have said.

The fighting, one source said, occurred on Sunday morning; a day after the SSPDF abducted the deputy commander of SPLA-IO Nahr Jur division, General Gabriel Bol Wek, from Western Bahr el Ghazal state capital Wau, and was taken to Tonj where he is being detained.

The source said the SPLA-IO forces in Mapel then requested for the release of General Wek, which was turned down by the SSPDF forces there leading to confrontation between the two peace partners which ended with the defeat of the SSPDF soldiers towards Tonj.

“The South Sudan army soldiers have arrested the deputy commander for Nahr Jur. They arrested him in Wau on Saturday and took him to Tonj where he is being held now. The SPLA-IO soldiers demanded his release which ended with fighting between the two sides,” one source said on phone from Mapel.

Another source said after the SSPDF soldiers were defeated, the government forces in Tonj ordered for reinforcement of nine pickup vehicles under the command of a unnamed former governor of the defunct Tonj state, who was later captured in fighting and is being allegedly held by the  SPLA-IO forces in an undisclosed location.

“The SSPDF launched an attack on the SPLA-IO position. They ordered for reinforcement led by a governor of the defunct Tonj state who I cannot name. He has been captured by the SPLA-IO and he will not be released until they release General Wek,” the source added.

The sources further alleged that the SPLA-IO forces have captured few other soldiers, however, they are alleged to have refused releasing the top SSPDF officials citing the conditions of their abducted general.

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