South Sudan

Machar Weighs Juba Campaign geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Not long ago, pharm rebel leader, ambulance Dr Riek Machar, announced that he would soon embark on a mission to recapture oil fields while warning IGAD not to deploy its stabilisation force.

According to him, the IGAD force would be a declaration of war on South Sudanese and would consequently hinder their operations as opposition since it is meant to specifically “deter” their actions.

To prove that the opposition is poised to follow its strategies to the letter, rebel General, James Koang Chuol, started launching attacks in Unity States yesterday in a move to annex the oil wells.

Today, Bentiu, according to rebel sources, fell to the opposition after a faceoff with SPLA.

To the contrary, SPLA spokesperson, Col Philip Aguer, says the town has not yet fallen, affirming that fighting is ongoing and “rebels are being held back”.

Bentiu was lost to government troops at the start of the year after rebels announced “a tactical withdraw”.

There has also been action in the Upper Nile States, another hub of oil, which continues to change hands.

Meanwhile, as part of the grand plans, Machar told AFP in an interview, that his fighters are now poised on launching attacks on the capital Juba.

“The war will not end until the president Salva Kiir is removed from power,” Machar was quoted as saying.

This is not the first time Machar has announced plans to attack Juba, the capital of South Sudan and the government’s main stronghold.

Last year, rebels came close to Juba after defeating and capturing Bor town in Jonglei state twice.

Machar has maintained that he is not ready to end the war until the regime of Kiir is ousted from power.

“There will be an end to this problem when Kiir leaves the presidency,” Machar is on record to have said as the battles for Bor and Malakal raged early in the year.

At the same time, he raised stakes making Juba: the most sensitive and vital town, his prime target.

Just this week, Machar reiterated his plans to embark on the Juba mission to overthrow Kiir once and for all.

When asked for a comment on the intended Juba campaign, Brig Gen Lul Koang, the rebel military spokesperson, said he could not confirm because “it forms part of our overall operation plans”.


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