Gunfire is still raging in Bentiu oil town of Unity State as South Sudan rebels under Riek Machar seek to take the town from government troops.
Dickson Gatluak Jock Nyuot, a spokesman for SPLA-IO, said government forces attacked from the state capital Bentiu and spread out in two directions, one toward Nhialdiu Payam, an area under control of SPLA-IO and the other toward Guit County.
Fighting then raged in north of the state capital in the Pariang County area.
SPLA managed to dislodge rebels from Pariang.
Aimee Ansari, Country Director of CARE International in South Sudan told Radio Tamazuj that they were providing medical care to people wounded in Pariang battle.
Accusations and counteraccusations
SPLA-IO military spokesman, Peter George Machar, accused the government forces of attacking their positions in the state.
He told Radio Tamazuj that they were attacked in Nhialdiu and Guit counties.
He pointed out that clashes moved afterwards to some areas in Mayom County and along the road leading to Pariang County where rebels allegedly destroyed two SPLA tanks and seized a third one.
To the contrary, Pariang County Commissioner, Monylang Manyiel, accused rebels of violating the ceasefire agreement by attacking their positions.
“The rebels attacked our positions in Tom South, Lalob and Khatel Nar areas,” he told the radio.
He revealed that at least three SPLA soldiers were killed in those clashes.
Meanwhile, SPLA-IO Major-General Ruai Kuol also accused the government forces of attacking their positions in the state on Sunday until Monday.
“Salva Kiir’s forces attacked us in Uchok, Nhialdiu, Guit, Panakauc and Tor areas”
He alleged that SPLA commander Brig Gen Kurubino Ruai Tap was shot in the legs and flown to Juba for treatment.
Brig. Ruai commands an SPLA reinforcement team from 3rd Division based in Aweil.
The rebel official also claimed that Guit County Commissioner, Kawaya Chany, was also wounded in the clashes as they took the County.
The rebel general accused Sudanese rebels of involvement in those clashes.
More so, Khan Nien Yieh, Director General at the Unity State Ministry of Information accused the rebels of attacking their positions in Nhialdiu and Guit Counties.
“The claims that it is us who attacked them are untrue,” he said.
He affirmed that they defeated the rebels in Guit and Nhialdiu Counties and that wounded SPLA soldiers were receiving treatment in Bentiu Military Hospital.
IGAD blames SPLA
The IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism has released a monitoring report blaming the government for provoking clashes in the same areas south of Bentiu last month.
“On 23 March, the MVT investigated reports of fighting south-east of Bentiu, and confirmed that Government Forces had launched attacks on Guit, an area under the control of SPLM/A (IO).”
“On 24 March, the MVT investigated reports of clashes south-west of Bentiu, and determined that Government Forces had launched an attack on Nhialdiu, an area under the control of SPLM/A (IO). There was no evidence to suggest that there had been shelling by SPLM/A (IO) Forces against GRSS positions prior to the shelling,” reads the report.
On the other hand, the ceasefire monitors also blamed the rebel SPLA-IO for ambushing a government vehicle in Rubkona on 17 March.