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Juba launches air campaign against rebels in Western Equatoria State

Juba, November 25, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese government has launched an aerial campaign on rebel positions in Mundri County of Western Equatoria State, a Spokesperson for the armed opposition has said.

James Gatdet Dak, the Spokesman for the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) has released a statement saying Juba has on Tuesday carried out aerial attack on a SPLA-IO's designated area in Mundri.

“The regime in Juba on Tuesday unleashed helicopter gunships and attacked our designated cantonment area in Mundri County, Western Equatoria State,” Gatdet said.

The rebel Spokesman says the attack violates the IGAD-Plus brokered peace agreement and that Salva kiir is not serious about the peace deal.

“The action is a violation of the ceasefire deal and the security arrangements signed by the two parties (GRSS and SPLA-IO). The attack on the cantonment area is an indication that president Kiir’s government is not committed to the implementation of the peace agreement,” he asserted.

There have been many violence encounters between government forces and citizens of the Western Equatoria State over the past few years.

Charles Barnaba Kisanga, who declared his rebellion against the government on Tuesday, hails from Western Equatoria State. Kisanga also accused Kiir’s government of systematic killings of citizens of his home state.

Since last week, a wild rumor that the entire Equatoria region will soon turn against Kiir’s government has been the main talk in Juba. The speculation prompts the government to deploy troops in and around Equatoria region.

Fighting intensifies in Unity State as rebels withdraw from Nhialdiu

Pagak, November 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan’s government forces on Tuesday attacked rebel outposts in strategic Nhialdiu town and Buaw Payam of the oil-rich Unity State, rebel military command has said.

Rebels said they have made a ‘tactical withdrawal” from Nhialdiu after repetitive attacks from the government forces.

The military assaults came barely a day after the armed opposition said its troops were attacked on Monday by government soldiers in Nhialdiu with both sides trading accusations of ceasefire violations, despite the IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement and the recently signed “security arrangements” deal.

The SPLA-IO stated that it decided to withdraw from its locations after Juba sent reinforcements from government-controlled areas, adding that Juba extended its operation to the rebel-held Buaw Payam of Koch County on Tuesday afternoon.

“…the SPLA/Juba faction extended its offensive on SPLA/IO forces in Buaw Payam in Koch County this afternoon [Tuesday]. The government got reinforcement from Panakuach, Bentui, Wangkei and attacked our position[s] in Tuochluak and Buaw this evening. Therefore, our forces made [a] tactical withdrawal [from] the above mentioned areas,” a statement from rebel military command reads in part.

Rebels also accuse South Sudanese government troops of starting the attack, saying Juba is the one that began its aggression against the SPLA-IO and that the first attack by government soldiers against rebel forces was launched last Sunday in Gaatdoor located in southern tip of Leer County and then followed by other attacks on rebel positions in Nhialdiu, Tuocluak, and thuokyierlok.

The armed opposition calls on the IGAD-Plus and the international community to put maximum pressure on Juba to stop what it described as "kiir's attempt to destroy peace."

Fierce fighting between South Sudan’s rival forces in and around Nhialdiu has intensified and continuing, the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned.

Rebel military command blasts ceasefire monitors over ‘fuel stealing’ claim

Pagak, November 13, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese rebel military command of the SPLA-IO has denied reports that its armed forces have last month stolen fuel destined for United Nations Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS), saying UN peacekeepers who were operating barges with government agents have actually engaged in “reckless activities.”

Media reports, which the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) cannot independently verify alleged that South Sudan’s Ceasefire monitors have accused rebel forces of stealing United Nations fuel from the barges that they seized last month along the White Nile.

In October, the armed opposition seized barges which they said were transporting government’s weapons and ammunition along the White Nile.

Rebels later detained at least 16 UN’s peacekeepers, three officers of South Sudanese security agents, two SPLA’s soldiers, and six barge technicians aboard after they seized the barges.

Johnson Wal Hoth, a high ranking official with the rebel military command in rebel headquarters, Pagak, denied the alleged accusation and told the SSNA that media reports that the SPLA-IO took UN’s fuel is baseless, adding “all properties of the UN were not taken by anyone.”

“Anyone who thinks we took UNMISS fuel is lying,” declared the furious SPLA-IO’s Officer.

“All properties of the UN were not taken, they were returned to UNMISS. We also released peacekeepers including government agents,” Johnson said.

The armed opposition seized the barges last month at Kaka located on a rebel-held territory, saying the barges were carrying government weapons and ammunition.

The UN later said the barges were being operated by its peacekeeping personnel and that fuel for its mission activities was on the boats at the time of the seizure.

However, the rebel military command also said UN peacekeepers were acting out of normal rules after they found South Sudanese government personnel aboard the barges.

Attempts to try to get IGAD’s reaction about the allegation went unanswered.

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