Reports from South Sudan indicate that fighting Thursday broke out between government troops and opposition fighters.
First vice president Riek Machar’s spokesman says SPLA attacked their positions along Juba-Yei road violating the recent ceasefire.
“SPLA-IO forces have repulsed a massive offensive being carried out by President Salva Kiir’s forces on Juba-Yei road in violation of the cessation of hostilities declared on July 11, 2016,” James Gatdet Dak said.
‘However, they have been crashed with a number of their tanks and military trucks (urols) destroyed or captured.”
Dak also claimed SPLA incurred heavy losses in human lives as the “remnants have been scattered in disarray in the bushes”.
He said the aim of the offensive was to look for and hunt down the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, despite his repeated assurances that he is willing to return to Juba once a third party force is deployed soon.
“However, our forces are ready to fight back in self-defence and the Tuesday and Wednesday clashes around Mundri town and on Yei road – like at Jebel Kujur battles in Juba – are bitter lessons to the warmongering forces of President Salva Kiir.”
Dak called on regional players and the wider international community to put pressure on President Kiir to give peace a chance and stop the military offensive in case he is in control of his forces.
He said the position of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) was very clear and that they support the proposed deployment of a third force in the national capital, Juba.
“The unbelievable lawlessness which exploded at the very palace (J1) of President Salva Kiir on Friday, July 8, 2016, has clearly indicated that either he lost control of his army commanders and forces or he is himself a suspect in the mess.”
Dak noted that in order to restore peace, security and civility to the capital, to protect civilians and the country’s leadership including President Kiir himself, there is need for deployment of additional foreign troops with a stronger mandate under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).