22nd February 2020
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Five killed in fresh military clashes in Lol State

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: 6 months ago

Lol State [marked in red] South Sudan

Five soldiers have reportedly died as a result of fighting between SSPDF and an opposition armed group in Lol State.

According to the Commissioner of Korok County, the clashes erupted on Tuesday night along the bridge of Wathok in the County.

Santino Akon told Eye Radio that a commander and a Major were among those killed during the clashes.

He could not explain what provoked the incident.

But it is alleged that forces loyal to the former SPLA Chief of Staff, Paul Malong clashed with the army in the area.

“Those people came from the area call Malual Deng Ngor and they passed between Korok East, Korok Center and Korok West. They fought at the bridge of Wathok,” said Akon.

He said the opposition forces were dispelled to the bushes in the County.

Commissioner Akon added that calm has returned to the area as of Wednesday morning.

General Paul Malong fell out with President Salva Kiir in 2017 after being dismissed as the army Chief of Staff.

He has demanded direct negotiations with the government led by President Salva Kiir but to no avail.

By press time, the SSDF headquarters had not gathered enough information regarding the clashes in Korok.

The army spokesperson, Major General Lul Ruai Koang told Eye Radio that they are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the clashes.

“We don’t have information, but they said the forces that were dislodged from Waar-ayen are the ones who went and started the problem,” Maj. Gen. Lul said.

He revealed that similar clashes between the army and the opposition forces took place in the nearby County over the weekend.

“The information I have is that a small problem at the Waar-ayen that is the headquarters of 8th Infantry brigade on August 17, there was a group that wanted to join the peace agreement and there was a misunderstanding before the gun-battle at the headquarters,” he said.

Malong and Thomas Cirillo of the National Salvation Front are the only two hold-out leaders who have refused to sign the revitalized peace agreement.

According to IGAD’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, who met the two, three months ago, General Cirilo has put conditions, some of which requires the reopening of the agreement for re-negotiations while Gen. Malong was “more promising, as he expressed his willingness and readiness to engage in talks to join the peace process.”

In April, the IGAD Council of Ministers issued a stern warning to parties who have not signed the revitalized peace agreement to immediately join in or face undisclosed consequences.

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