Source: Radio Tamazuj
South Sudan’s government forces and rebels clashed Friday near Bentiu in Unity and Ayod in Jonglei.
A source in Bentiu’s United Nations base reported hearing artillery coming from the government-controlled town firing toward the west. The source said the explosions took place earlier in the morning but had stopped.
Acting spokesperson for the government army Marial Joseph told Radio Tamazuj that the rebels attacked government positions at Kilo Seven, the airport, and the bridge between Bentiu and Rubkona this morning.
There was no independent verification of this claim and Joseph said he had not been in contact with on the ground commanders since early morning.
Aid workers in the UN base had to briefly take cover in a bunker during the fighting. Aimee Ansari, the country director for aid group CARE, said that about 300 civilians fled to the UN base for safety.
Marial further alleged that the the rebels attacked Ayod in Jonglei state around 7:00 under the command of Maj General Garwich Dual.
“This morning there is also an attack on Ayod. The rebels [attacked] our positions in Ayod. They are the ones attacking us,” he said.
Marial said that 120 rebels were killed during the clashes and that the attackers were repulsed after 20 minutes of fighting.
He said 6 government troops were killed with 11 wounded.
Ayod County Commissioner Micheal Buoth Malual also confirmed the battle.
“Yesterday rebels commander Maj General Garwich conducted force mobilization forcing youths from Uror County to join his army since he lost most of his soldiers in the fighting between government and rebels,” Buoth charged.
Buoth said there are over 25,000 IDPS stranded in Ayod without humanitarian assistance.
He said the IDPS in the government controlled area are receiving food from the government.
The SPLA IO Rebels spokesperson cannot be reach to comment.
Clashes on Wednesday
The latest fighting comes after government allegations that the rebels launched an attack south of Bentiu on Wednesday.
Unity state security advisor John Malok told Radio Tamazuj Thursday that government troops repulsed a rebel attack near Nhialdiu at 5:00 Wednesday morning, killing at least seven insurgents.
Malok said one government soldier ws killed and another two wounded in those clashes.
The security advisor accused Sudan’s government of supporting the rebels, alleging that Khartoum sent ammunition to the rebels “a few days ago” in preparation for an attack on Bentiu.
Radio Tamazuj could not reach the Sudanese army spokesman to comment on that claims.
Malok further said that the rebels do not respect the peace talks in Addis Ababa. “Taban Deng gives orders to Gadet Yaak not to respect the agreement signed on 9 May,” he said. “We heard that Gadet said he is not part of the ongoing peace being negotiated in Addis Ababa.”
SPLA-In Opposition military spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang denied Malok’s claims of rebel attacks on Wednesday in a statement to Radio Tamazuj.
Lul instead accused the government forces of attacking their position on Rubkona. He further accused the government of planting landmines along the Manga-Heglig-Bentiu road.
Lul said that at least two civilians from Bentiu town have been wounded recently while trying to escape to Sudan.
This week’s attacks come despite a UN Security Council delegation visit to South Sudan which reiterated to both President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar the threat of sanctions if they do not stop fighting.