Rival Forces Clash In South Sudan’s Central Equatorial State
Rival South Sudanese forces clashed on Saturday in Central Equatoria state, situated south of the national capital, Juba.
The deadly clashes, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to First Vice President, Riek Machar, left at least 21 soldiers dead and dozen others wounded on both sides, according to military sources.
“SPLA and SPLA-IO forces clashed on Saturday. The fighting occurred in Kansuk payam of Keji Keji county. Our forces were attacked in the area by the SPLA forces,” a senior military officer of the SPLA-IO told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
He blamed the forces loyal to President Kiir for allegedly attacking their military base around Keji Keji in Kansuk area.
The source, who is also a member of the military committee responsible for the security arrangements per the August 2015 peace agreement, also claimed that the SPLA-IO forces defeated the SPLA forces in self-defence.
“We managed to chase them [SPLA forces] back into Keji Keji town,” he said.
He further claimed that at least 20 soldiers from the rival SPLA forces were killed, one tank and a number of military vehicles were either destroyed or captured.
SPLA-IO forces in Equatoria region have not been cantoned and processes to do so have not been implemented.
The latest fighting is the first deadliest clashes in the region after formation of the transitional government of national unity which brought together rival leaders who fought for two years.
Sources in the capital, Juba, said the situation on Sunday was calm, but tense after the Saturday clashes in Keji Keji.