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SPLA-IO accuses government of abducting local chief in South Sudan’s Bari

January 8, 2018 (JUBA) - The armed opposition allied to the former First Vice President Riek Machar has accused the government forces of abducting a local chief with domestic animals belonging to civilians in Bari area.

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SPLA soldiers, from the 2nd Battalion pose at the SPLA headquarters in Nyang, in the county of Yirol East, on February 15, 2014 (Photo AFP/Fabio Bucciarelli)

Lam Paul Gabriel, deputy spokesperson of the SPLA-IO told Sudan Tribune that the attack took place in the territory under control of SPLA-IO between Sunday and Monday.

He says many civilians have fled into bushes following a recent government attack on their positions for fear of being caught in the crossfire, and killed by the government forces.

However, the rebel spokesperson said two of their fighters were wounded during the clashes, and adding that their forces have repulsed the attackers.

“On the same day 6 January 2018, the government forces also attacked our base in Medewu injuring two freedom fighters but no fatalities. They were repulsed to Bari where they arrested an elderly man called Lexton Balas Edward from his house suspecting him of being a supporter of the SPLA IO. This is an intimidation to civilians which amounts to a violation (of the humanitarian truce),” he said.

Meanwhile, the rebel official has alleged that forces allied to the government are preparing themselves in Mundri before to launch new attacks.

“The government forces are organizing themselves in Mundri to go and attack our base in Kediba and also follow civilians in their hideouts in Bari, Medewu, and Bangalo,” he said.

Also, he claimed that more government forces from the Sixth Division in Rumbek, Third Division and Fifth Division have been sent to Wau, with plans to attack their bases around there.

“The move has been initiated by Wau Governor Angelo Taban. The government forces, according to our source are advancing in three different directions to attack SPLA/IO positions in Baggari and consolidate their presence in the area of Bazia along Wau Tambura road, and Nboro,” he asserted.

In Bieh state, he says the government forces under command of First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and Gony Biliu have arrived in Jonglei State with an intention to attack Phow and Bieh areas.

“Military vehicles and tanks have been loaded with different machine guns in Bor town. These are meant for the regime’s mission to Bieh State,” he added.

The SPLA-IO has renewed calls to the IGAD, TROIKA and the UN to hold the government responsible for any confrontation that will occur in the coming days, pointing that SPLA-IO reserves to itself the right to fight in self-defence to repulse any attack.

(ST)