June 23, 2015 (NAIROBI) – South Sudanese rebels said government forces have attacked their positions at Canal area in Jonglei state as their full scale offensive against opposition fighters continued in violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
Rebels spokesman also added they however repulsed the government troops on Tuesday which he said resulted to capture of Doleib Hill, a government’s controlled town near Malakal, capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile state.
“Our positions at Canal came under heavy attack on Tuesday by government forces,” rebel leader’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said.
“Our gallant forces however repulsed and pursued the government forces. In the process we captured Doleib Hill,” he added.
He said that pro-government’s remnants were pursued back into Malakal town, adding that the clashes also cleared the way to Baliet area, south of Malakal.
The rebel leader’s spokesman said 3 tanks were captured from the government’s forces in addition to other war equipment.
Dak accused the government of continuing with the offensive as regional leaders were preparing for resumption of the peace talks in Addis Ababa between the two warring parties.
“They believe that the former detainees have surrendered to them. Their attack on our forces on the same day they were reinstating Pagan Amum was a sign of imaginary victory,” Dak alluded.
The clashes came as government was reinstating Pagan Amum to his position as ruling party’s (SPLM) secretary general together with a number of former political detainees. Amum was arrested in December 2013, detained for months and released into exile when he was accused of allegedly playing a role in an alleged military coup to topple president Salva Kiir.
East African regional bloc (IGAD) is yet to announce a date for resumption of peace talks between the warring parties under a new IGAD-Plus mechanism which shall involve other countries and international bodies beyond the continent.
It is expected that by rejoining the government, Pagan Amum and his colleagues would now become part and parcel of president Salva Kiir’s negotiating team when the talks resume whether in the intraparty dialogue process with the rebels or in Addis Ababa process.