Juba, South Sudan.
July 4, 2021 — Forces loyal to former Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, have allegedly been attacked in Rongo of Western Equatoria state by the South Sudan People Defense on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021.
According to the spokesperson of the South Sudan United Front /Army (SSUF/A) of Gen. Paul Malong Awan, their forces suffered four light injuries as the result of offensives on their position; however, they claim to have inflicted heavy casualties and destroyed two government tanks before withdrawing from Rongo area to avoid further clashes.
“South Sudan United Front /Army (SSUF/A) would like to inform our supporters, South Sudanese in General and the International Community that our forces stationed in Rongo, Western Equatoria State, came under unprovoked attack from government forces on the morning of Saturday, 3rd July 2021”, The Spokesman, Chol Duang Chan, said in a statement.
“As a result of that aggression, four of our combatants sustained non-fatal injuries while the enemy forces suffered heavy losses in personnel and equipment, including setting ablaze their two attack tanks.” Malong’s spokesman added.
In a statement extended to Nyamilepedia, Chol Duang Chan, the movement’s spokesman stressed that their forces have withdrawn from Rongo in commitment to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHG) that were renewed in October 2020 but assured that their forces shall still exercise their right to self-defense in case of any aggression launched against them by the SSPDF.
“Tactically, our Forces have withdrawn from Rongo but could return fire in self-defence in case of further provocation from the regime army”, Chol emphasized.
” SSUF/A wishes to reiterate its commitment to the Cessation of Hostilities, COH, G renewed in October 2020 and the Rome Peace process under the Saint’Egidio community mediation efforts'” He added.
Two days ago SSUF/A welcomed a senior commander and junior officers who defected from the ranks and files of SSPDF.
Gen. Paul Malong is the former Chief of Staff, who mobilized heavily between 2012 and 2014 to defend the presidency of President Salva Kiir Mayardit; however, he felt off with president Kiir in May 2017 and since then attempts to reconcile their ranks have failed.
Malong and other disgruntled politicians and military generals that include one of his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, are trying to engage the government through a Roman Catholic Church peace initiative under the auspice of Sant’Egidio but progress has remain critically slow so far.