November 14, 2015 (BOR/ADDIS ABABA) – A South Sudanese armed opposition (SPLM-IO) official has dismissed claims that their forces carried out an attack at a village in Twic East county of the country’s largest state.
The county commissioner, Dau Akoi said at least 20 people, mainly women and children, were killed during Friday’s attack by rebels in Maar village.
“It is a disaster, two young kids were killed, and eight women of various ages, and 10 men. There is evidence that the attacked was carried out by the rebels of Riek Machar in the area. We could tell from the dead body of one of their fighters. He is a Nuer man,” he told Sudan Tribune by phone.
Among those killed, the commissioner said, was a local chief whose name was withheld.
“This is a violation of the peace agreement signed by the government and the rebel movement,” he said, urging the East African regional bloc (IGAD), African Union and the international community to intervene in the matter.
But the armed opposition leader’s spokesperson, James Dak refuted allegations that their forces attacked a village Twic East county Friday.
“We are not responsible for the reported attack in Twic East county. There is no reason for us to attack civilians in villages. Our forces have not attacked anybody in the area,” he told Sudan Tribune Saturday.
Meanwhile, Dak welcomed the arrival of the assessment team into South Sudan’s Unity state. The team, composed of members of the United Nations Security Council and IGAD visited Leer county on Friday to assess the human rights violations in the oil-rich region.
The assessment team, he said, also visited opposition held territories in the area to acquaint themselves with the recent human rights violations committed by South Sudan’s warring parties. Dak, however, claimed government forces were on offensive in violation of the ceasefire, targeting both bases of opposition forces and civilian settlements in the area, resulting to death of dozens and displacement of thousands last week.