Juba erupts as SPLA fights Machar rebels

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SPLA soldiers patrol the capital

Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] has confirmed a shootout between government troops and rebels in and outside the capital, Juba.

The office of SPLA spokesperson said a statement that about 4pm Thursday, personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department [CID] clashed with criminals who had earlier kidnapped an ordinary citizen.

The kidnappers demanded for a ransom to be paid by the relations before the abductee could be released.

A CID personnel who had gone to pay the ransom managed to arrest one of the abductors who came to receive the money.

He is current held at police station helping with investigations.

At about 10:30pm last night, bandits under direct command of Lt Col Chan Garang attacked the SPLA position at Kapur.

The attackers were repulsed and currently SPLA is in hot pursuit.

The bandits are fleeing westwards towards Omduruba about 80 miles West of Juba.

The statement said SPLA soldiers pursuing the bandits indicated that they had killed several of them.

Defections, rebel surge

Lt Col Chan Garang in November 2017 formed a new rebel movement and swore allegiance to former deputy president, Riek Machar.

A former senior officer from SPLA second division two, Lt Col Chan Garang told SBS Dinka Radio, that he left Juba to escape the orders that were given to arrest him.

Chan who called himself “magedem” cited the targeting of officers and military personnel from Aweil communities.

He claimed since President Kiir differed General Paul Malong Awan, many of their seniors officers have been directly threated by the security forces.

He left Torit with three platoons and was joined by another 150 soldiers.

This week, associates of the exiled former army chief Paul Malong Awan, who have recently gone into hiding in Aweil East State over alleged security concerns, joined rebels operating in Northern Bahr al Ghazal region.

Manut Yel Lual, an ally of former military chief, told Radio Tamazuj he arrived in Malek Gumel and joined General Agany.

Manut, who was a tax collector and former Madhol commissioner, said he and other people decided to leave their homes in Aweil East because they were being targeted by the government.

He claimed that he joined the rebels with 1,500 soldiers including officers.

The new rebel official pointed out that their group that joined Agany’s rebels in Northern Bahr al Ghazal is led by Kuol Athuai Hal, former Aweil North county commissioner.

Lt. Gen. Agany Abdel-Baqi Ayii, commander of the South Sudan Patriotic Army (SSPA), confirmed that Malong’s associates have finally joined his rebel movement.

The rebel group commanded by Agany Abdel-Baqi, who is a native of Aweil, has been fighting to topple Kiir’s administration.

Other reports say 2,000 SPLM/A-IG soldiers defected from two military bases stationed around Juba.

First, about 800 soldiers defected from Tarekeka in Mundari area. Second, about 1,200 defected from Checkpoint in Juba itself.