SPLA TOP BRASS Seek condemnation of rebels’ attacks on highways
The Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) of the SPLA Lt. General James Ajongo is appealing to the international community to condemn actions of the rebels for violating the unilateral ceasefire by attacking government forces on highways that led to civilian casualties.
Ajongo said for SPLA to continue with the momentum of the unilateral ceasefire declared by the President, there should be a condemnation of those who violate it.
“What we need from our friends and international partners is at least condemnation because we are not actually asking anyone to go and help us fight these groups, but they should be condemned,” the army Chief said. “We are not getting this from some members of the international community and partners within the region,” he added.
Lt. Gen. Ajongo was speaking at the opening of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) workshop in Juba aimed at revitalizing the SDRF board, and finding solutions facing SDSR.
He reiterated that SPLA will fight only in self-defense if attacked by the rebels. “For us we don’t expect anybody to say yes to respect the ceasefire, we expect there are going to be a number of violations, but all along the SPLA is here to make sure that we will not again reverse the situation, we will not go back. We will continue with the ceasefire, we actually react in self-defense,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Ajongo said SPLA is establishing a channel of communication to reach the rebels so that they can be persuaded to respond to the ceasefire.
Michael Chienjiek, the Minister of Interior speaking at the same event also repeated the appeal of the CDF, saying the international community does not condemn the actions of the rebels but criticize the government for not doing enough to protect its citizens.
This comes after rebel attack early this month along Juba-Nimule road on a government convoy which left more than 14 people dead including civilians and a SPLA general.
The attack prompted SPLA general headquarters to threaten to expand its defensive capabilities if rebels continue with the provocations.
The SPLA-IO (headed by Dr. Riek Machar) deputy spokesperson, Lam Paul Gabriel when claiming the responsibility of the attack regretted the civilian casualties, and warned civilians from using government convoys. He also blamed government forces of using civilians as shields.
By Jale Richard