SPLA captures rebel bases in Jonglei

SPLA captures rebel bases in Jonglei

April 2, 2013 (BOR) South Sudan army (SPLA) on Tuesday said they captured airbases allegedly used by David Yauyau rebel group to receive military aid from the government of neighbouring Sudan.

SPLA General Peter Gadet Yaak addresses the press in Jonglei capital Bor on 2 April 2013 (ST)

General Peter Gadet Yaak, who is leading the disarmament campaign in Jonglei, told journalists that his forces have «successfully accomplished their operation mission launched against loyalties of David Yauyau in Pibor county».

Gadet, who had previously rebelled against the government in Unity state only to rejoin the SPLA, claimed they captured at least two airfields the rebels used to receive military equipments.

Sudan has always denied supporting rebels in South Sudan, but Juba has repeatedly raised the allegation, since its independence from Khartoum in July 2011.

Last year, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported seeing an unidentified aircraft landing in rebel held areas of Jonglei state Pibor county, but did not link it to the Sudanese military.

«We have captured the areas of military power from the rebel forces together with their airfields in Muruoh, and Raprap. The arifields in Achwa, Lodhai and Akeli had been captured by South Sudan army forces,» Gadet told the media in Jonglei capital, Bor.

«Yauyau has got no base, he has remained a rebel leader without a base. He will be hiding himself among civilians,» he said.

He dismissed rumours that the rebel group had used chemical weapons against the SPLA in some areas of Pibor.

«We have got no chemical weapons being used by forces of Yauyau on the ground. Our soldiers who sustained injuries on their bodies were as a result of bullets shots,» Gadet said.

He said the rebels were using AK47s and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), but lacked «big artillery».

The senior army official accused the rebels of armed civilians without military training, whom he said are unable to challenge the SPLA, given the latter over two decades of civil war which resulted into South Sudan independence.

«Rebel forces were dispatch to their villages because they were normal civilians», Gadet stressed.

Jonglei deputy governor and minister of information, Hussein Maar Nyuot, said he appreciated the assistance offered to the 47 wounded soldiers taken to Bor hospital for treatment, in recent days.

Maar said the state government will continue providing the support needed by the wounded soldiers, currently admitted in the state main referral hospital.

The deputy governor said he appreciated the support being offered by the South Sudan Red Cross, World Health Organization (WHO), trade unions and some other organisations, who helped in transporting the wounded soldiers from the front line.

11 out of the 47 soldiers who sustained injuries according to Maar, are due to be transferred to Juba hospital for further treatment.

Yauyau, who is from the minority Murle ethnic group, started his rebellion in 2010 after losing an election bid to become a member of the state parliament representing Gumruk. In response to an amnesty offer by Kiir in 2011, the rebel leader returned to Juba, only to re launch his rebellion in April last year.

Since then, clashes between the army (SPLA) and forces loyal to the rebel leader have gravely affected the security situation in Jonglei, with the latest peace attempt seen as key in efforts to salvage peace in the region.

Recently, however, Yauyau said he supports a peaceful resolution to the fighting, but on condition the UN and other international mediators are involved in the proposed peace initiative.

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