Dec 3, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s main armed opposition, the Sudan People Liberation Army in Opposition(SPLA-IO), accused the Vice President for Infrastructure Cluster, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, of planning offensives against their mobile headquarters at the outskirts of the capital, Juba.
According to the SPLA-IO intelligence reports, Gen. Taban Deng Gai is mobilizing forces and assembling them in Yei to launch military offensive allegedly on the SPLA-IO mobile headquarters under the overall command of Maj. Gen. Mabieh Gar in Panyime and adjacent areas.
The confidential report alleges that the Vice President for infrastructure cluster is working with Lt. Gen. CDR Koang Chuol Ranleey, the Assistant Chief of Defense Forces for Training, and their aim is to dislodge the SPLA-IO forces around Juba and other parts of Central Equatoria State.
Speaking to the SPLA-IO military spokesperson, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng, he said he is aware that the SSPDF may launch offensives on their headquarters any time from tonight.
“They may attack our mobile headquarters under the overall command of Gen. Mabieh Gar anytime from tonight. Panyime is within Central Equatoria, particular in Yei River. This is where our mobile is situated and they want to attack him” Gatjiath said.
“Their target is not just Gen. Mabieh or the headquarters, they want to clear all our forces from Central Equatoria so that they can be free to do whatever they want in Juba” he added.
The SPLA-IO reiterates that they will fight in self-defense should their opponents attack their positions.
“We do not believe in this peace, there is no peace and as such we will fight in self-defence should they continue to attack our positions” Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath said.
Responding to the claims by the acting military spokesman of the SSPDF, who said the SPLA-IO are fight civilians, Ge. Gatjiath said there are no civilians in many part of Equatoria as they were displaced to the neighboring countries by the government forces and some to the IDPs camps in Juba and other major towns.
Brig. Gen. Gatjiath added that even if there were civilians they could not have been armed with heavy artillery such as tanks, BMs and other large weapons.
“How can civilians have tanks? Who supply them with tanks? Who train them to operate such heavy artillery.” The SPLA-IO Spokesman said.
“It must be a lie that we are fighting civilians” Gatjiath continued.
“When they attacked our positions, they don’t attack with light weapons, they come with heavy artilleries, tanks, BMs, 14 and other heavy weapons mounted on trucks” He added.
According to the SPLM/A-IO sources, President Kiir’s side is using Gen. Taban to fight its war.
They claim that the SSPDF Brig. Gen. Gatgueng Bipal that was slain in Morota last week, November 27, was loyal to Gen. Taban Deng Gai.
“There were many casualties in the recent fighting in Morota and one of them was identified as Brig. Gen. Gatgueny Bipal who was the leader of that operation. We knew Gatgueng as a loyalist of Taban. Also the POW that were captured were investigated by the SPLA-IO and they confessed that they are getting their orders from Taban and Gen. Koang Chuol Ranleey” Gatjiath continued.
Gen. Taban, who is a bitter rival of Dr. Riek Machar ordered many offensives in Upper Nile region in 2016 leading to capturing of the SPLM/A-IO headquarters in Pagak and many strongholds in Unity State and Jonglei’s Lou areas.
The then First Vice President(July 2016-Feb 2020) spoke openly on how the leader of the armed opposition, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, was going to be eliminated; however, he grew cold since Dr. Machar returned to Juba but the duo are yet to reconcile, if any.
Attempts to reach the spokespersons of Machar and Taban to comment on this report were not return at the time of this writing.