SPLA could have failed to capture rebel chief, Riek Machar’s home town Leer after the rebels employed unconventional means of warfare.
National Courier reports that an attempt by the SPLA to pursue rebels towards Leer, the home village of Riek Machar, East of Bentiu, “has been reduced to a crawl”.
The rebels are said to have mined the main road connecting Bentiu and the village, according to a senior SPLA military officer at the front.
The General said the rebels used antipersonnel landmines as they retreated following last week’s clashes in Bentiu.
He accused the rebels of violating the rules of war.
Sources within Bilpham also revealed that pro-SPLA militias have captured most of the territory in southern Unity.
Rebel Gen Gatkouth, Gatdet threaten to capture Juba
General Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, Deputy Chief of General Staff and a member of the SPLA-IO military command council says his side will not sign a peace agreement with the government until President Salva Kiir is removed from his post.
General Gatkuoth is quoted by Radio Tamazuj saying, “Salva Kiir must go and face justice and accountability before signing a peace agreement.”
“We vow to continue fighting Salva Kiir until he is completely out of power that he has misuse against our Nation.”
He said while they want peace, Kiir must first be removed.
Another top rebel commander, Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak, deputy chief of general staff for operations in the rebel military command council, said even the national capital, Juba, would be within reach if he had the right weapons.
“If you bring to me the weapons and ammunitions order me to lead an attack on Juba to remove Salva Kiir from power, nobody can afford to stop me on the way to Juba. If I die I can die inside Juba, not outside Juba.”
The United States says the international community and regional countries are discouraged over the renewed fighting in South Sudan.
“The stories that have come out over the last week (in Unity State) have been shocking stories,” Michael Mc Carthy, the Charge de’ Affaires in the US Embassy, told Eye Radio.
He called upon both parties to commit to the cessation of hostilities agreement.
“So many countries, so many people and so much money has been put towards an effort to bring South Sudan back to peace. And cessation of hostilities agreements have been signed over the last 16 months; several agreements,” Mc Carthy was quoted as saying.
“So, it is discouraging that both sides are not following the agreement that they signed. Forces involved in the fighting, be they proper military forces or militias, are following below the basic human rights standards.”
Rebels boycotted Arusha peace process
Representatives of the SPLM-IO faction boycotted a two-day SPLM meeting held late last week in South Africa as part of a tripartite committee tasked to follow up the implementation of the Arusha SPLM Reunification Agreement.
SPLM-IO deputy head of information and public relations Manawa Peter Gatkuoth told Tamazuj that they did not participate in the recent meetings in South Africa aimed at reactivating the Arusha Agreement because they were not consulted by Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party which brokered the Arusha deal.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Michael Makuei Lueth, on the other hand said the meeting concluded well.