October 15, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s rival factions have traded accusations over clashes in their respective positions near the Upper Nile capital, Malakal.
The spokesperson of armed opposition forces under the command of Johnson Olony in a statement issued a statement, claimed their position in the west bank of Malakal town was attacked at about 6:00pm by pro-government forces.
“Today evening at 6pm, our military positions near Wajwok and Lalo villages had been attacked by SPLA forces stationed in respective locations mentioned and heavy fighting is going on right now”, said Brig. Gen. Nyagwal Ajak Dengkak in a statement.
He blamed the attack on government forces, further claiming that pro-government forces had deployed helicopter gunships to Malakal town with the view to reinforce ground forces with air cover should their forces attempt to move on the town.
But the spokesman for South Sudan army, Lul Ruai Koang issued a statement on Saturday, saying he was not aware of the clashes said to have place near Malakal.
Koang claimed it was a tactic by the armed opposition forces allegedly aimed at carrying out attacks in the area, stressing that government forces were ready to control the situation in the event of security threats to peoples’ lives and properties.
South Sudan’s peace accord, signed in 2015, is considered fragile could derail the little progress so far made in recent months. The deal ended over 20 months of war.
The young nation descended into war in mid-December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of a coup attempt.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it broke away from Sudan in July 2011.