Machar’s SPLA-IO spokesperson revealed that the Kit Gwang faction assaulted their troops and took over their base in Amoud.
The SPLA-IO faction loyal to Vice President Dr. Riek Machar has revealed that the breakaway unit controlled by Gen. Simon Gatwich Dual took over one of their locations following the severe battle in the northern section of northern Upper Nile State on December 27.
Dr. Machar’s SPLA-IO military spokesman, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, explained in a Radio Tamazuj publication seen by NCMP that the Kit Gwang soldiers of Gen. Gatwich took seized their Amoud stronghold on Boxing Day after they strategically retreated from the region.
“On 26 December, fighting erupted between ours and their troops on patrol and they were driven back to their base in Magenis,” Col. Lam recounted. “They believed that we had attacked them and they assaulted our base in Amoud on 27 December and took it over because our men had strategically withdrew from there since we are at peace and it is a Christmas season.”
He added: “We did not expect there would be major combat and did not ready for it so we retreated outside of Amoud. So, up to today, the Kit Gwang soldiers are in Amoud.”
Asked who initiated the conflict, Col. Lam accused the Kit Gwang SPLA-IO group for instigating the hostilities.
“They are the ones that assaulted us and took over our base in Amoud. During the firefight, they deployed an armored truck, which murdered several people and caused us to withdraw, ” Lam stated. “Again, yesterday (Tuesday) at approximately 1 pm, they left Amoud and intended to assault the spot we retreated to but we repelled them back to Amoud.”
He stated there has not been any violence since Tuesday because Dr. Machar instructed his men not to go target the breakaway SPLA-IO division.
“We are not assaulting. Our Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Riek Machar asked us not to fight Gatwich Dual’s men again since this is a period of peace and if there is a dispute it should be handled by dialogue,” Col. Lam added. “South Sudanese should not murder one other since this is a moment of peace. Our men are respecting the instructions not to engage in battle. So, we are now informing the Kit Gwang faction that the people now want peace and not conflict. Whatever they desire can be addressed and does not need conflict. War pulls us backward.”
On the number of troops they lost, he claimed the combat was fierce and many people died for nothing.
“It was pretty tough to combat and they lost a lot, but we also suffered. On our side, we could have lost 10 men, but they lost more, I am sure, ” Col. Lam added. “What have they profited from the fighting? Now the families of the slain servicemen will suffer. ”