Associates of the exiled former army chief Paul Malong Awan, who have recently gone into hiding in Aweil East State over alleged security concerns, have joined rebels operating in Northern Bahr al Ghazal region.
“I have arrived in Malek Gumel. I have joined General Agany because I have been chased away by the government,” Manut Yel Lual, an ally of former military chief, told Radio Tamazuj.
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. ”I joined General Agany because I was chased away in South Sudan. We will be together with Agany,” Manut said.
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.
Opposition says govt has over 500 war prisoners
Meanwhile, South Sudanese opposition groups that participated in the recent revitalization process on Wednesday said the government is having over 500 political detainees and prisoners of war.
South Sudan’s presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said they have no political prisoners.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Wazir Michael, a rebel official allied to Thomas Cirilo’s group said the opposition alliance considered those more than 500 were political detainees and prisoners of war and their release was crucial after the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Ethiopia on 21 December 2017.
He pointed out that the opposition had presented a list of political detainees and prisoners of war to the ceasefire monitoring body so that they are released by the government.
Wazir claimed that the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirilo had already revealed all areas under its control as part of the peace agreement.
Article 8 of the cessation of hostilities deal says each party should unconditionally release all prisoners of war, political detainees and abducted women and children to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) without delay.