S. Sudanese army rescues 50 from rebels in Western Equatoria
October 19, 2015 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese army (SPLA) said it rescued 50 police and civilians from rebel groups, confirming their presence in its Western Equatorial state.
Gen. Johnson Juma, the commander of SPLA in Western Equatoria and Lakes states told reporters at the army headquarters in Juba, that “renegade” officers were to blame for the series of attacks on the army barracks in Mundri county.
“On October 15, we recovered and released 50 men. These people were abducted from their houses – some are police, some are prison warders that were taken and were under the custody of the renegades [army officers] in the wildness around Maridi,” said Juma.
The senior army official said the civilians were reunited with their respective families.
Early this month, Western Equatoria’s caretaker governor, Patrick Zamoi disclosed that young men were being abducted from their homes allegedly by unknown armed men.
He urged the population in Western Equatoria to cooperate with authorities in the area.
Juma said the permanent ceasefire declared in August after the peace agreement was signed by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar was being violated.
“Our forces continue to be under attack by these renegades and the forces in Mundri continue to defend the territory,” he told reporters Monday.
He said the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) had, in the past, claimed responsibility for the raids on government garrisons in Western Equatoria at the height of the conflict.
“I am not a politician. I am a soldier. I am the one commanding the forces there. There is a rebellion in Western Equatoria, especially in Greater Mundri. It is very clear,” said Juma.
“They [rebels] attacked us between Jambo, Lui, Mundri several times. Who do you think could do that? These are organised people, they are rebellious and the SPLA-IO has claimed their responsibilities,” he added.
There has been no reaction from the armed opposition faction on the situation in Mundri.