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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan raids rebels camp on Juba – Nimule highway

November 21, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan army(SPLA) has attacked a suspected military training camp for alleged opposition forces under the leadership of the first vice-president designate, Riek Machar, who are blamed for attacking a passenger bus on Juba—Nimule highway on Friday, the country’s information minister disclosed.

South Sudanese SPLA soldiers are pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
South Sudanese SPLA soldiers are pictured in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
Speaking after a weekly council of ministers meeting on Friday chaired by president Salva Kiir, information and broadcasting minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the rebels camp was found east of Juba—Nimule road by a military unit dispatched there on Thursday to pursue the raiders on a Ugandan owned bus.

“The SPLA [South Sudan army] attacked the camps of the rebels and dispersed them this morning [Friday],” said Makuei.

“The rebels were found in their camp in Mwagi county but other details will be communicated to you (reporters) when we get more information,” he said, quoting a security briefing during the meeting.

The Friendship Bus was heading to Kampala from Juba when it came under fire at about 7 o’clock in the morning on Thursday. Three passengers were killed and seven others injured, according South Sudan police. Four other lorry drivers were also killed at the scene.

The raiders, according to survivors, were in South Sudan army uniform and spoke local Arabic which is widely used in the military.

Makuei said the attackers were loyalists of Major General Martin Kenyi, a rebel commander allied to former vice president and first vice president designate, Riek Machar.

There are unconfirmed reports that several people suspected to be rebel soldiers were killed in the raid in Opari, a town east of Juba – Nimule road.

However, the official spokesman of the opposition leader, Riek Machar, said their forces were not involved in the attack on the vehicles on Juba-Nimule road.

“SPLA (IO) forces have not involved in the alleged attack on commuting public commercial vehicles,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesman for the opposition leader.

He said reports reaching his office instead indicated that government forces turned against civilians in the area, attacking them and burning their houses while looting movable properties they could carry.

He added that their opposition forces have been under instructions to observe the ceasefire and fully implement the agreed security arrangements with the government.