South Sudanese army claims Sudan provides heavy weapons to rebels

Sudan Tribune
Published on June 6, 2015

(JUBA) – A high ranking South Sudanese military officer on Saturday reiterated claims that neighbouring Sudan, from which the young nation seceded in 2011, had been providing heavy weapons to armed opposition fighters allied to the former vice-president, Riek Machar.

An SPLA soldier is pictured behind a South Sudan flag as he sits on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state January 12, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
An SPLA soldier is pictured behind a South Sudan flag as he sits on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state January 12, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

“For a very long time, we have precise information that the government of Sudan provides all types of weapons and supports, including hosting and training the rebels and militia groups operating against the government of the republic of South Sudan before, during and after independence,” Major General Manyok Barac, SPLA’s 5th division commander in Western Bahr el Ghazal state, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

General Barac was reacting to reports that armed opposition fighters have expanded scope of military operation to the areas under his command and that they have seized strategic areas in the region.

He blamed the situation of growing military strength of the rebels on Khartoum for allegedly providing them with weapons to challenge the government’s military superiority.

“Artillery, anti-aircraft systems, advanced weapons systems; they have supplied more than 1,000 units of this kind to the rebels of Riek Machar,” he further alleged.

He cited revelations from military intelligence reports and investigations from war captives from the armed opposition fighters, which he claimed confessed that Sudan was providing them with weapons.

“Some of these militiamen have abandoned this business and took advantage of the presidential amnesty. They themselves accepted they received support from Sudan and these statements were made public,” he said in an indirect reference to their current allied militia leaders in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile states.

Barac accused Sudan of carrying out attacks in areas deep inside South Sudanese territories and that it had delivered large quantities of heavy, advanced weapons to the armed opposition fighters.

The high ranking military officer also said prisoners of war from the rebels in recent military offensive in Western Bahr el Ghazal state have confessed receiving weapons, training and all types of supports from the Sudanese government.

But the rebel leadership earlier dismissed reports that they were getting military support from Sudanese government, claiming its forces got their supplies from captured towns from the government troops or from those changing allegiance from the government to the opposition faction.

This latest accusation against Khartoum by Juba comes after resumption of fighting in the previously relatively calm region of Bahr el Ghazal.

Khartoum has also been accusing president Salva Kiir’s government of allegedly hosting, training and arming Sudanese rebels inside South Sudan, including Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to fight against Khartoum.

South Sudanese rebels also accuse Juba of allegedly using Sudanese rebels and foreign troops from Uganda to fight the war for them.

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