August 26, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebels said they have captured Magwi town, the headquarters of Magwi county in Eastern Equatoria state, west of the national capital, Juba.
The town allegedly came under the control of the opposition fighters this Wednesday morning, after repulsing an attack by government troops in the area, according to the spokesperson of the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar.
“SPLM/SPLA forces have captured Magwi town this morning, Wednesday,” said rebel leader’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, in a statement he issued on Wednesday morning.
“Our response came after government troops attacked our base which is 25kms from the town. The attackers were repulsed and pursued into the town and then flashed out from Magwi town,” he said.
He said 2 military vehicles were destroyed, 20 rifles and 24 magazines of ammunition were captured on the side of president Salva Kiir’s forces, while the office of the commissioner was destroyed.
The response operation, he said, was commanded by Pwon Dano, a son from the area. He said the number of human casualties was not yet confirmed.
The opposition’s military governor of Imatong (Eastern Equatoria) state, Oyet Nathaniel, also said government troops were on rampage killing and torturing villagers in the area, interrogating them to reveal the bases of the opposition fighters.
He accused government forces of allegedly committing gross human rights abuses in the area, adding that civilians were fleeing from the area.
Dak also said fighting was going on in Mundri county of Western Equatoria state as government forces allegedly carried out offensive against the opposition bases in the area on Wednesday morning.
He also said in Jonglei and Unity states, government troops were continuing with the offensive, saying their river batches carrying president Kiir’s forces had already reached a place called Shambe.
The rebel leader’s spokesman said their faction had the right to self-defence, calling on the international community to put pressure on the government to stop these attacks.
The latest development comes as president Kiir is expected to sign a peace agreement in Juba on Wednesday.