South Sudan: Clashes Ahead of Rebel Leader’s Arrival

  • By jason patinkin, associated press
    JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan’s security officials have arrested and severely beaten 16 members of the rebels’ publicity team, days before the expected arrival of rebel leader Riek Machar, a spokesman for the rebels said Tuesday.

The arrests of the rebel workers was “irresponsible,” said William Ezekiel, a spokesman for the rebels’ advance team in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

Machar, who is to become vice president in a unity government with President Salva Kiir, is scheduled to return to Juba on April 18 in hopes of ending more than two years of civil war. Kiir and Machar signed a peace deal last August, but there have been repeated ceasefire violations by both sides.

In a statement Monday, the U.S. State Department accused government troops of launching fresh attacks on rebels in the country’s western Bahr el Ghazal state.

That statement also cited credible reports that the rebels recently attacked government forces and civilians in the area and condemned that violence as well.

“There is no military solution to the conflicts in South Sudan,” said the statement.

South Sudanese military spokesman Lul Ruai said he had not received any official notification from commanders on the ground that they engaged with the opposition in the area.

Clashes around the area of Wau began April 6 and have resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, said an internal U.N. report seen by The Associated Press. The report said the government deployed helicopter gunships and tanks to the area, and alleged that government army chief General Paul Malong personally coordinated the operations.

Kiir fired Machar in July 2013, precipitating the war which broke out in December that year between forces loyal to the two men. Tens of thousands of people have died and 2.4 million have fled their homes since, according to the U.N.

One thought on “South Sudan: Clashes Ahead of Rebel Leader’s Arrival

  1. It’s time for Dr. Riek Machar to run in, and not running out like what he did in December 15, 2013 when his bodyguards and bodyguards to President Kirr start fighting one another on bases of each leader. Dr. Riek decided to run away from Juba and left his bodyguards fighting for something he didn’t know, according to him, instead of calling his bodyguards in order to know why are they fighting for. And after that he would contact President Kirr and other authorities for the matter concerned to them as the bodyguards are theirs. But, he decided in his own way and that was why the fighting became uncontrolled fighting in the capital Juba on Dec 15. He should have been together with President Kirr and tell their bodyguards not to fight. Now, it is the time for him to play that role before what is going on in western Bahr el gazelle escalated to the entire country. South Sudan don’t need innocent people to be victimized again for what they even don’t know but tribal affiliation tied them to this catastrophe. ONLY PEACE IS WHAT THEY NEED FOR NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Thanks.

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