COMBINED – Malong, Machar forces attack SPLA in Lol
Dr. Riek Machar [File photo] Gen. Paul Malong Awan [File photo]
By Morris Dogga
Forces of General Paul Malong and those of Dr. Riek Mahcar allegedly launched subsequent attacks on government positions in Lol State from Wednesday to Friday last week, according to the army spokesperson.
The latest fighting comes in less than a week when the parties are expected to converge in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa for the Third Phase of the High Level Revitalization Forum due to start on Thursday.
Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang in a phone interview with Juba Monitor yesterday claimed that combined forces carried out subsequent attacks in some parts of Lol State but were repulsed by the government forces.
“Yes it is true. For the first time our positions have been attacked by forces comprising of those loyal to General Malong and Dr. Riek Machar,” Lul said.
“The first attack was at Mangayat on the 9th of this month. Then there were clashes in Dulu-about five miles south west of Raja on the 11th of this month. It has become very clear that Malong has rebelled against the government,” he added.
This is the first attack by the leader of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) General Malong since he declared his rebellious movement last month.
According to Brigadier Lul, Malong’s forces also came as close as Beloku-about eight kilometres south west of Raja on the 11th of April where they attacked the area twice.
However, Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) deputy spokesperson Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel issued a statement on Sunday claiming that their base in Dulu was attacked by the government forces and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) militias.
In the statement Lam further claimed that they had killed 28 government soldiers and several others were wounded in the fighting that lasted for four hours.
Lul however disputed the claim by the SPLA-IO spokesperson saying the government forces had killed a total of 14 “rebel fighters” one of whom was identified as Brigadier General Abdul Musa.
Lul added that the government had also recovered a number of AK 47 and other riffles in the course of the engagement.
“Malong struck a deal with Riek Machar. Their forces, especially Malong’s forces arrived at a place called Birat-at border areas-from the Republic of Sudan on the first week of this month. This is the first point of entry,” he said.
The motive behind the attack was not clear. But Lul accused general Malong of blackmailing the international community so that he would be included in the peace talks which is to start this week in Ethiopia.
He lamented that Machar was aiming to gain control of more positions before the peace talks in Ethiopia kick off.
“The situations has been brought into control,” Lul said.
Malong formed his own movement dubbed the South Sudan United Front/Army early this year. He had also expressed willingness to join the peace talks.
Both Lul and Lam have called on the Intergovernmental Authority and the International community to hold the violators of the agreement accountable.