South Sudan

Machar Rebel Movement Assembles Forces to Topple Kiir


malady geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The former commander of the SPLA’s 6th Division in Northern Bahr el Ghazal was quoted on radio stations and other media outlets as saying he had already commenced field operations to oust President Kiir.

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“As of now, our commanders are assembling forces and arms to start fighting. In the not-too-distant future, we should be in Juba,” charged Aturjuong during the weekend.

SPLA officials told Chimpreports on Sunday that government had failed to convince battle-hardened and war-experienced Gen Aturjuong to return to the mainstream army and abandon his subversive activities.

The developments come just a week after Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar, agreed to a complete cessation of hostilities and formation of a transitional government in 60 days.

IGAD warned of serious consequences should the two hostile rivals fail to honour their commitments.

The legendary General recently announced his defection to Machar’s rebel movement.

“Now I have decided to take arms again to liberate my people since the first liberation is hijacked by a tyrant tribal dictator. I am taking arms again to bring justice, freedom, equality and prosperity to my people,” said Aturjuong.

“I am taking arms to transform the country democratically and establish federal system where powers and resources are driven by people. I am taking arms to restore rule of law and respect of human rights in my country. My coming out is a well connected strategy and many people are coming very soon.”

Observers say the security situation across South Sudan continues to remain precarious and volatile. In Jonglei State, the situation remains unpredictable amid fears of potential clashes in Pochalla County.

In Upper Nile State, sporadic shooting was recently reported in Nasir County and along the southern bank of the Sobat River.

Early this month, heavy fighting was reported outside Bentiu town (Unity State) and the area continues to remain heavily militarized. The presence of armed elements was also reported in Rubkona County.

Humanitarian partners in Bentiu reported significant numbers of displaced people moving towards the South Sudan Sudan border region of Heglig.


This is not the first time rebels loyal to Machar are threatening to resume hostilities.

The Movement’s spokesperson, Brig Koang recently said South Sudan troops “that had been occupying Gadiang forward base in Duk County, Jonglei had abandoned it along with Poktap, and Wernyol barracks and that the ‘withdrawal’ “leaves troops tripped in Ayod with no other options apart from following suit. With no UPDF forces in forward bases, Bor is left vulnerable to winds of change, Juba and eventually the whole country.”

UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda responded by warning rebels of “grave consequences” if they carried on with plans to raid Bor.

He said an attack on the town would be “at their (rebels) peril,” adding, “we are waiting for them. We have warned them that we are well prepared to receive them.”

The fall of Bor would provide rebels a highway to Juba, the political seat of President Salva Kiir’s government.

Sources said all the Special Forces units remain on high alert to respond to any attacks by the rebels – who recently swept through the oil town of Bentiu and others, leaving a trail of bloodshed and destruction of property.


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