United Nations peacekeepers have reported that opposition troops that came to Juba under the terms of a peace deal have abandoned their bases at the foot of Jebel mountain on the west side of Juba.
This follows government attacks on the opposition bases including shelling and aerial bombardment over the weekend.
According to Herve Ladsous, head of the Depratment of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, which oversees UNMISS, peacekeeping patrols have verified that SPLA-IO troops have left the Jebel bases.
In a prepared statement to the UN Security Council today he said, “The mission has established that both SPLA in Opposition cantonment sites on the west side of Jebel Mountain have been abandoned.”
Ladsous added, “Reportedly, Opposition forces are currently scattered around the areas of Jebel and Yei road while SPLA troops are setting up defensive positions along the Yei and Gudele road. Further clashes, therefore, cannot be ruled out.”
The cantonment sites in Jebel were one of only two areas in Juba where SPLA-IO fighter were allowed under the terms of a negotiated security deal. The rest of the city was de facto controlled by President Salva Kiir’s troops.
Most of the fighting in recent days in Juba has concentrated in the two areas where SPLA-IO is based. By Sunday, the SPLA-IO said government troops had overrun their base in Jebel. Shortly after, Kiir announced a unilateral ceasefire. Celebratory gunfire was heard throughout the city.
Yesterday, army spokesman Lul Ruai confirmed in an interview with Radio Tamazuj that their troops successfully overran the SPLA-IO base in the Jebel area of Juba, claiming they drove their forces out of the city.
“We chased them from the city… and they ran away far,” he said.
Lul’s statement amounts to an admission that SPLA forces waged attacks on the SPLA-IO cantonment site.