Home Main Story South Sudan Army Denies Attacking Malong’s Rebel Bases

South Sudan Army Denies Attacking Malong’s Rebel Bases

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SSPDF Spokesperson Gen Lul Ruai Koang

South Sudan People’s Defence Force’s spokesperson Gen. Lul Ruai has rubbished claims by Gen. Paul Malong’s South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) that the former attacked their base in Aneet in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and took a senior officer and other soldiers hostage over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Garang Malual Deng Yak, the SSUF/A spokesperson said that they had deferred their participation in the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) for 21 days citing an attack on one of their bases by the SSPDF.

Over the weekend, the SSUF/A military spokesperson, Col. Philip Deng Kuol Nguot, released a press statement condemning an SSPDF offensive on their position in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and demanded the immediate release of their soldiers who had been captured by the SSPDF.

“We would also like to make it crystal clear that from today onwards we will conduct military operations in all locations in the country and our beloved civilians are urged to avoid all combat areas,” he warned. “All our forces are directed to vividly wield their military arsenal and stay on maximum alert because this belligerent language is what the government in Juba understands.”

Col. Deng said the SSUF/A’s area operations commander, Brig. Gen. Akol Ngong Ayok was taken hostage alongside 5 noncommissioned officers

But Gen. Lul Ruai said on Wednesday that the SSUF/A has no soldiers and no presence in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

“Gen. Paul Malong has no presence in the places he claims. First of all, the officer who was arrested, Colonel Akol Ngong, is the officer in charge of finance in Division 11. He stole money meant for soldiers there and was arrested because of that,” he said.

“Secondly, there are people who were arrested around Aweil in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and these are criminals who have been ambushing and robbing civilians along the roads.”

 “The people who were arrested in Wau have no links to Gen. Malong and he does not have a presence in the places he is alluding to and just wants to portray stature and weight he does not have,” he added.  

He said Akol Ngong is an SSPDF colonel and not an SSUF/A General.

“Even if you go to Aweil and investigate and ask about this Akol Ngong, you will find out that that he is not Malong’s officer but belongs to SSPDF and he is a Colonel and not a General,” he challenged.

“I saw that Malong claimed that Ngong is an SSUF/A operations commander. How can a rebel operations commander work for SSPDF and is in charge of paying soldiers? He just stole money and was arrested for that.”

Pressed that the SSUF/A claim that the SSPDF attacked the former’s base in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Gen. Ruai said Malong’s group was referring to the arrest of the highway robbers.

“If he (Malong) is claiming that the criminals who have been robbing people in Aweil are his men and soldiers, it means he is saying that he is a commander of criminals,” he said.

“The criminals who have been robbing travelers on the roads are the ones who were apprehended. They would stop vehicles and rob money and telephones and even rustle cattle.”

Asked about SSUF/A’s threat to declare all-out war if SSPDF continues attacking their bases, Gen. Ruai said Malong had no forces to wage war.

“He (Malong) is just talking. If you want to fight, you must first have an army,” he said.

“In the past, he had some troops around Wau and Northern Bahr el Ghazal but all those forces of his were annihilated and over a hundred of the prisoners of war were brought to Juba. They were only released recently.”

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