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South Sudan massing troops in Central and Western Equatoria: NAS says

Personnel of the South Sudan People's Defence Forces take part in a drill at their barracks in Rejaf, about 15km south of Juba on April 26, 2019 (AFP photo)
September 22, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudanese army has moved troop to the Central and Western Equatoria States ahead of planned attacks on the positions of the National Salvation Front (NAS) in the volatile areas there, a rebel spokesman said on Tuesday.

Suba Samuel Manase in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune accused the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) of massing troops in Lo’bonok and Mundri areas of Central and Western Equatoria States respectively.

"In Mundri, the SSPDF dispatched reinforcements of five (5) Lorries full of soldiers from Baher El Gazal and they are now stationed in Jambo," said Manase.

"While in Lo’bonok, the SSPDF has been pressing on with their military plans to attack NAS positions by expanding their presence and using bulldozers in opening up access roads to NAS locations," he added.

The rebel official further said that the South Sudanese government recently denied UNMISS access to Lo’bonok cover up these on-going malicious military activities.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on 16 September, UNMISS head David Shearer said concerned about local South Sudanese government forces blocking UN peacekeepers from reaching civilians in need.

Also in the same meeting, a U.S. diplomat called on South Sudanese authorities to end restrictions on UNMISS patrols and movements, stressing it is a key area to evaluate progress in the peace process in the country.

The government and the alliance of the holdout armed groups, SSOMA, had to resume peace talks under the auspice of the Sant’Egidio community in Rome last March. But, the process has been suspended sine die due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(ST)