Juba—The main armed opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In- Opposition, came under a surprise attack on Monday, leaving at least five soldiers dead and a senior commander in charge of Lowereng cantonment area.
“On 22/03/2021 in the morning hours, the SPLA-IO cantonment site of Lowereng was attacked and burned down,” said Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson.
The senior military officer said that, although the attackers had not yet been verified, the aggression constitutes a breach of the permanent ceasefire signed by the parties in September 2018.
“This surprised attack led to the lost of five SPLA-IO soldiers including the commander of the cantonment site. Much as the attackers are yet unknown, this attack amounts to violations of the permanent ceasefire that needs to be investigated.”
The SPLM/A-IO calls on peace monitors to investigate the ongoing violations of the peace ceasefire and hold those responsible to account.
“The SPLA-IO calls upon the JDB and CTSAMVM to investigate this aggression and bring those responsible to books. The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Security Arrangements but has the right to self defence.”
South Sudan’s government and the opposition signed a permanent ceasefire in Addis Ababa and re-committed to the cessation of hostilities. However, sporadic attacks and intercommunal violence remain an issue of concern.
The National Salvation Front (NAS), in its latest report, has accused the SSPDF of committing horrific crimes, including rape, forcing children to drink alcohol, and brutally mutilating civilians on ethnic grounds.
The non-signatory group strongly condemned the action and called on the ceasefire monitors to investigate the these crimes and the recent violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in the Equatoria region.
“The Leadership of National Salvation Front (NAS) informs its members, supporters, the people of South Sudan and members of International Community about the latest violation of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF),” the group alleged in a statement.
“On 21 st and 22nd December 2020 respectively, a force of SSPDF under Loka West detachment committed heinous crimes against civilians; raping three (3) women, maiming (7) people, forcefully making members of Revival Community of Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) to drink alcohol, looting properties and burning several huts.”
The NAS leadership pointed an accusing finger at the SSPDF for breaching the Permanent Ceasefire by committing serous crimes in different parts of the country including Western Bahr El Ghazal State.
“These crimes are serious violations of Cessation of Hostilities agreement (CoHA) which aimed at protection of civilians and provision of unhindered access to humanitarian assistance. The regime has also been flagrantly violating COHA and committing heinous human rights violation in Western Bahr el Ghazal State killing innocent civilians.”
“The Leadership of NAS condemns in the strongest possible terms these heinous crimes of the SSPDF and the regime of Salva Kiir and holds the SSPDF and the President Kiir responsible for committing ethnic-based crimes in South Sudan. It is very unfortunate and alarming that, these crimes are being committed in full glare while the peace monitors are watching and being indifferent.”
“NAS assures the people of South Sudan that the Movement will continue to struggle for their aspirations and will defend civilians whenever they are subjected to different kind of mistreatment by the regime of Salva Kiir. NAS calls on the people of South Sudan to take charge of their destiny; speak out and defend themselves against criminals of Juba regime.”
“The Leadership of NAS renews its commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflict in the country to achieve sustainable peace to creating a responsible governance system that protects civilians and deliver basic services to the people of South Sudan without ethnic, gender or regional discriminations.”