January 19th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – A South Sudan government-allied militia group has said SPLA-IO forces loyal to the country’s first vice president designate, Dr. Riek Machar, were preparing an attack on their position in Maiwut state.
A military official belonging to the Provisional Military and Political Council (PMPC) led by Gen. Ochan Puot who defected from the Machar-led IO in August last year to join the government of President Salva Kiir said SPLA-IO forces were preparing to attack their position in an area in Maiwut state.
He said SPLM-IO Ulang county commissioner arrived in Burbiey – an area along the country’s border with Ethiopia – accompanied by the White Army in preparation of an attack on Yiethyier where the government-allied force is based.
“We are on high alert and strongly condemn the move of the SPLA IO Commissioner of Ulang County, who has arrived in Burubiey together with the White Army and now on their way to Malual Gahoth with the intention of attacking PMPC forces in Yieth-Yier and other places nearby,” Buom Gatdet Gach, PMPC’s head of Information and Communication said.
The militia force official threatened to retaliate should the main armed opposition group attack areas which he said are mostly populated by civilians.
“If another attack by the SPLA takes place in areas occupied by the civilian population along the Sobat River; the PMPC leadership will not tolerate and will fight in self-defense,” he said.
He further reiterated his group’s commitment to the revitalized peace agreement and its ceasefire agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and opposition groups including the SPLM-IO.
“Since the fighting erupted in Maiwut last year on July 29, 2019, the PMPC has never attacked but has been fighting in self-defense to counter the SPLA-IO forces,” he said.
Recent fighting in the area has alarmed observers, regional and international community over the commitment of the parties to ending the conflict in the world’s youngest nation.