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South Sudan Rebels Speak Out on ‘Receiving Support’ from Khartoum

A South Sudanese leading rebel commander Lt. Gen. Agany Abdel Bagi Ayii Akol, Thursday denied reports that they were receiving military or logistical support from the neighbouring Sudan.

“That is not true. We do not get any support from the government of Sudan or any other government or country in the region. We get our supplies from the government of South Sudan and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) forces whenever we capture an area and whenever there are soldiers who decide to leave the government of President Salva Kiir and join the struggle,” said Lt. Gen. Agany when asked where they get their support and training from.

The SPLM-IO leading commander further stressed that he left with a number of troops and arms when he changed allegiance from the government in 2016.

“I personally left with some weapons and we captured more weapons from the government when we launched our operations and when some of our comrades joined later. So these talks of getting support from Sudan are unfounded, they are baseless,” he said.

“They are the talks of someone whose days are numbered. That is why they are trying to blame others for their own weakness. Who does not know that the regime of President Kiir is weak and can fall at any time,” he wondered.

The rebel commander was reacting to statements by Santo Domic Chol, the South Sudan army acting spokesperson who told reporters in Juba on Wednesday that armed opposition fighters were receiving support and training from the Sudanese army.

In comments after clashes in Northern Upper Nile where government forces had reportedly lost control of strategic towns, Chol further claimed that Khartoum allowed senior South Sudanese rebel commanders to coordinate their operations in the Sudanese territory.

Khartoum and Juba trade regularly accusations of support to rebel groups.

In the recent IGAD extraordinary summit on South Sudan peace process, President Omer al-Bashir accused South Sudanese government of continuing to provide support to Darfur armed groups in recent coordinated rebel attacks from South Sudan and Libya.

In a separate development, Paul Lam Gabriel, the Deputy Spokesperson of the rebel SPLM-IO group denied reports that Ugandan nationals were joining the war to fight alongside their forces against President Kiir’s regime.

“The SPLA-IO has access to soldiers with trained reserve forces in South Sudan who can fight for its cause. We are not fighting for resources and personal gains but for a cause beyond ourselves, democracy, respect for rule of law, human rights, dignity and against corruption,” said the rebel deputy spokesperson.

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