May 26, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan’s armed opposition appointed commissioner of Payinjiar County said they repulsed an attack by armed youths from neighbouring Rumbek East on Friday morning.
In a phone interview with Sudan Tribune, Brig. Gen John Tap Puot said the attackers, who emerged from two directions, attacked Pachienjok and Pachak villages located south-east of Ganyliel town.
The attack, he said, is the second in the area following the 19 May incident in which armed youth from Yirol clashes with rebels in the southern part of Ganyliel.
“We have repulsed numerous attacks this month alone with the youths from neighbouring Lakes state, who tried to penetrate into our territory,” he said.
The rebels’ deputy spokesman, Col. Lam Paul separately confirmed the fighting in Payinjiar County on Friday and Thursday morning.
He says several attacks were carried out by pro-government forces in multiple frontlines of Equatoria, Jonglei as well as Unity states.
“At about 0700hrs, government militias once again launched an aggressive attack on SPLA-IO [Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In-Opposition] base in Poki near Kaya border in violation of their declared ceasefire,” Lam told Sudan Tribune.
The official, however, claimed the armed opposition forces repulsed the attackers and pursued them until their current base within Kaya.
According to Lam, at least 19 militias allied to the Juba government, including a base commander only identified as Lt. Marial, his deputy died, with several others injured in both Poki and Payinjiar attack.
Sudan Tribune could not, however, independently verify the rebel official’s claims.
“The SPLA-IO condemns these provocative acts of the government militias which are directed towards tarnishing the image of our forces regionally and internationally. We will always continue to defend ourselves. The struggle continues,” stressed Lam.
Renewed violence in South Sudan has turned the country into the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis with more than 1.8 million refugees, having sought safety in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, according to recent figures released by the United Nations.
Last week, the U.N refugees and food relief agencies urged donors to step up support for people fleeing crisis-hit South Sudan as the $1.4 billion response plan reportedly remains 86 percent unfunded.