July 7, 2016
(JUBA) – Fighting has erupted between South Sudanese army (SPLA) and the opposition forces of the SPLA-IO in the national capital, Juba, this evening.
Spokesman of the SPLM-IO’s leader, Riek Machar, said clashes occurred at Lou Clinic on Gudele road when SPLA forces attacked their vehicle carrying soldiers of their protection unit.
“Yes, there was fighting at 8:00pm between 10 soldiers of our protection unit and forces loyal to President Salva Kiir. They attacked our vehicle carrying the soldiers. A number of people were killed on their side and one wounded on our side,” said James Gatdet Dak.
“Although the clashes have stopped, the situation has remained tense as we speak. They want to resume the attack on our forces,” he added, saying, “It will not be surprising if they attack again. The situation is tense.”
Calm has returned to the South Sudanese capital, Juba, after tension on Wednesday when two opposition forces snatched each other’s military vehicles forcefully.
The Thursday clashes followed Wednesday incident in which official sources confirmed to Sudan Tribune that a military vehicle carrying two security officers of the opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO) under the command of the first vice president, Riek Machar, was stopped on the road on Wednesday and taken away by force by soldiers belonging to the SPLA loyal to President Salva Kiir.
The vehicle was stopped on Gudele road; its passengers told to get out of the car which was driven away by members of the South Sudanese army.
Soldiers of the SPLA-IO based in the outskirts of Juba in response went to rescue their colleagues in the town but found that the car was already taken away to a military base.
In retaliation, the SPLA-IO soldiers stopped a military pick up truck carrying soldiers of the SPLA, surrounded it and told the soldiers to get out of the vehicle by force. The soldiers complied and their vehicle was taken to the SPLA-IO base at Jebel Kujur as compensation.
The situation reportedly nearly caused violence between the two opposition forces on Wednesday in Juba.
Dak accused SPLA forces loyal to President Kiir of working to incite violent conflict between the two rival forces in the capital.
“It was a clear attempt to provoke a violent situation,” he said, adding that the SPLA-IO forces on their part have been respecting the peace agreement.
Dak said the Thursday incident was “another unfortunate provocation” despite that two of their officers were also killed by the SPLA military intelligence and national security personnel days ago.
SPLA spokesperson was not replaceable for comment on these developments.
The two forces of the rival armies [SPLA and SPLA-IO] are supposed to co-exist in the national capital as part of the implementation of the transitional security arrangements in providing security and protection in Juba.
However, the implementation of the August 2015 peace deal to end 21 months of civil war has faced challenges, including non-cooperation between the two forces in Juba and non-implementation of the security arrangements across the country.