South Sudan

Machar Appoints War Commander Amid Heavy Fighting

SPLA soldiers on the battlefield in South Sudan (Photo: Julius Dada/ChimpReports)

Heavy fighting is underway in the outskirts of Juba as rebel leader and former First Vice President Dr Riek Machar plans to seize the capital city of war-torn South Sudan.

Machar was replaced as First Vice President by Gen Taban Deng Gai following bloody clashes at the presidential compound early this month in which over 300 soldiers and civilians died.

The United States Embassy in South Sudan on Saturday night issued a message to its American Citizens about the tense situation in the capital.

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“There is fighting in areas around Juba, patient including in the Greater Equatoria region. The situation remains fluid, see ” the message reads in part.

Defence officials told ChimpReports on Sunday that government forces intend to defeat and capture Dr Machar who remains in hiding in the Equatoria Region.

He is thought to have found refuge in the bushes along Yei Road.

The operation is commanded by the Chief of Staff and seasoned commander, Gen Paul Malong Awan.

On Sunday, Machar appointed Lt General John Jok Gai as Sector Commander for Central Equatoria, an area the rebel leader is gradually turning into his operations base.

“Our forces are doing great in self-defence against the attacking forces loyal to President Salva Kiir. Our forces have captured 21 military trucks with their logistics, including food belonging to enemy forces,” said Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak.

“Juba is besieged from different directions as we speak.”

Gen Gai is among Machar’s senior commanders who retreated to Juba’s outskirts following the military clashes at JI a couple of weeks ago.

He is expected to oversee military operations in Equatoria area.

Machar’s forces have demanded the deployment of the proposed third force in Juba, “or else we will be forced to act further and march to Juba in order to restore peace and security in the capital.”

President Salva Kiir recently met with President Museveni on stabilizing South Sudan.

Following the December 2013 conflict, Ugandan military instructors trained South Sudanese government forces.

It remains unclear if the Ugandan government would deploy commando units and military advisers to support Kiir should there be delays in the deployment of the proposed African Union protection force.


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