Rebels attack Yei River state in protest over Kampala talks
April 28, 2017 (JUBA) – Disturbed by reports about peace talks that took place in Kampala, Uganda, rebels allied to South Sudan’s former First Vice-President, Riek Machar responded by attacking Morobo county of Yei River state in rejection to the peace accord.
Rebel fighters greet one another at a rebel camp in South Sudan’s Jonglei state on 1 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Sudan Tribune understands that peace efforts mediated by South Sudan religious leaders from Yei River state is due in Kampala soon to reconcile the renowned armed rebels groups with the Juba government.
The armed opposition faction’s deputy spokesperson Lt. Col Lam Paul Gabriel distanced their movement from the group that met in Uganda, describing them as “frustrated” refugees from Uganda trying to mobile funds in the name of the armed opposition faction.
He also dismissed the ongoing peace efforts between the government and members of the rebel representatives in Kampala.
“This is a sign that the forces of SPLA IO in Yei cannot negotiate peace with anybody from Juba, if Bishop Alias wants peace, let him go to our Commander in Chief Dr. Riek Machar Teny,” said Lam.
He urged the armed opposition supporters to treat these claims as null, saying those negotiating with the government are the refugees.
CLASHES WITH SOUTH SUDAN ARMY
Lam said they clashed with South Sudan army forces after they heavily shelled their locations between Wednesday and Thursday.
The deputy rebel spokesperson claimed their forces have retaken Morobo, Kimba and Bazi from government in retaliation to the attack.
“In retaliation, our forces made a joint operation against the enemy in Morobo, Kimba and Bazi killing 25 and 8 other wounded and airlifted to Juba,” he said.
Sudan Tribune could, however, not independently verify claims made by the rebel official.
Meanwhile, a convoy of United Nations peacekeepers was blocked as it headed to Yei to assess the impact of renewed violence in the area on Thursday.