November 29, 2015 (JUBA) – A newly formed rebel group in Upper Nile state, known as the Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF), said government forces on Saturday attacked their base, north of the capital, Malakal, using two helicopter gunships, further claiming that one of the gunships was shot down in self-defence.
In a statement released on Saturday, TFNF, said the aggression was an indication that president Salva Kiir’s government was not interested to find solutions to the people’s grievances and instead bent on continuing with the war in the country.
“The Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF) would like to inform that today 28th November, 2015 at 8:00 Am and 2:00 PM Sudan local time respectively, Government forces attacked our positions in Thoworgwang using two helicopter gunships,” partly reads the statement signed by Brigadier General Otowang Achwang and extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
“Tiger gallant forces defended their positions with courage and valour and gun downed one of the attacking helicopter gunships,” he said.
These attacks, he claimed, came when South Sudanese and the international community were eagerly anticipating the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement signed in August.
“However, President Kiir and his Jieng Council of elders are not interested in the implementation of singed peace agreement but are hell bend to continue war with devastating consequences upon the civil population,” further charged the statement.
He said their forces were prepared and determined to defend the civil population from Kiir’s “dictatorship until the last man.”
He further explained that government forces with the assistance of Darfur rebels have massed their troops in Omaar (Massabal) area with the intention of carrying out further ground attacks on their forces around Wadakon.
“President Kiir is consciously and willingly derailing the implementation of the signed comprehensive peace agreement with absolute impunity. The Republic of South Sudan is heading towards Somalization as result of Kiir’s dictatorial tendencies and we therefore call upon IGAD and the United Nations Security Council to exert more pressure on Kiir’s government and to utilize resolution 2206 (2015) which layout ground for targeted sanctions on individuals blocking peace in South Sudan,” he said.
He called on the international community to stand with the people of South Sudan, adding it was high time to send a strong message to president Kiir and his administration that their “intransigence” will not be tolerated any longer.
The Tiger Faction New Force which was launched two months ago said they were fighting to resist the creation of 28 states by president Kiir, which they said had divided the Shilluk kingdom and given away some of its lands to the ethnic Dinka community of Apadang, the ruling tribe in South Sudan which president Kiir hails from.
The membership of the force is predominantly of Shilluk ethnic group who were part of president Kiir’s fighting force in Upper Nile state, but defected from the government in protest of the 28 states.
The force is not part of the recently signed peace agreement in August between president Kiir and the main armed opposition faction led by former vice-president, Riek Machar.
Their main demand in order to stop the war is for president Kiir to revoke his order which created the 28 states.