This article was last updated on May 27, 2022
Fresh fighting has resumed inside South Sudan at the border with Sudan, bordering northern Upper Nile State, amidst peace deal reached by the two warring rivals in Addis Ababa few days ago.
Addressing journalists at SPLA Head Quarters in Bilpam (near Juba) today, SPLA Spokesman Col. Philip Aguer Panyang said that the forces of Riek Machar attacked their positions this morning in Dukduk in Renk County of Upper Nile State.
“This morning the forces of Riek Machar attacked SPLA positions in Dukduk. They had been preparing for a long time and the SPLA have been informing the public that forces of Riek Machar are preparing along the borders with the Sudan, particular along the South Sudan’s border with Sudan’s States of Senar and White Nile.”
Col. Aguer said that the rebels’ forces had also been preparing around areas of Panthow (Heglig) and in Unity State with the borders with South Kordofan.
“This morning, at 5:45 AM, Machar’s forces launched their attack on the SPLA positions in Dukduk. The attack began at 4 in the morning with artillery shelling and at 5: 45 AM the base was attacked by about two battalions and the SPLA defeated the attackers,” said Col. Aguer.
He also revealed that the attackers were commanded by Brig. Gen. Peter Lim, who he said is the commander of the forces of the Head Quarters of Riek Machar. “That was the Brigadier who broke away from here in Juba. He was the commanding officer of the Tiger Battalion group which defected and fought here in Juba on December 15, 2013.
“They were defeated this morning and they retreated over the border to Tibuon, a base for SAF (Sudan Army Forces) at the border with Senar,” he explained.
The army spokesperson said that during the fighting, “the SPLA lost 5 heroes killed in action and 21 wounded. The rebels lost 24 dead, with bodies counted on the battle ground, while two rebels were captured alive. Also capture were RPG 7, one PKM, one sniffer riffle and 14 AKM 47 riffles.
Aguer said that they expect other attacks as they (rebels) did last time. When they attack SPLA the same route they came from over the border with the Sudan and they started their attack with Dukduk, then later on they went to Alga where they were finally defeated and followed up to the borders.
“SPLA is in full control of these areas and is monitoring another preparation going on near Maban, which we doubt will take place, but that is the potential area from which the rebels may be attacking SPLA in due course,” said the army spokesperson.
Col. Aguer said that they have been reporting all the violations of cease fire to the international community, including the IGAD. “So far, as for today, Maj. Gen. Gatdor Kic, who is in the head quarters of IGAD here in Juba is, on daily bases, briefing and informing the IGAD. IGAD was informed this morning.”
Upper Nile State information minister and spokesperson Hon. Peter Hoth Tuach, also confirm the report blaming the rebels’ forces for renewing the fighting just after agreeing to end the war, saying they should have honoured what was signed by their leader. “This is what surprises everybody, you know it seems like the rebels don’t respect what they sign. The agreement was signed only 72 hours ago and the rebels have already started to violate it.”
Hoth calls upon the rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar to talk to his commanding field officers to honour the peacedeal. “Our people need peace. Violence cannot solve it. It is only through peace.”
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, Director for Military Information & Military Spokesman for SPLA in Opposition, said in a press release today that, “government forces have just launched coordinated attacks on our forces in Unity and Upper Nile States in direct violation of Re-dedication of and Implementation of Modalities for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.”
“At dawn”, the statement said, “Kiir’s forces attacked Dukduk and Gerbenna north and northeast of Renk County in northern Upper Nile State, whereas Phome El Zaref, the Administrative HQs of Fangak County in northern Jonglei State is currently under heavy shelling from Tonga, on western bank of the White NileRiver.”