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Rival SPLA-IO faction accuses Machar’s forces of fresh attack

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The breakaway faction of the SPLA-IO led by Simon Gatwech Dual has accused Machar’s SPLA-IO forces of carrying out yet another fresh attack on its position near the Magenis area in Upper Nile State.

Last week, fighting erupted in Magenis after First Vice President Riek Machar’s rivals declared they had deposed him as the head of the SPLM-IO group and its military wing. Armed forces led by a rival general in the SPLA-IO, Simon Gatwech Dual, clashed with Machar’s soldiers.

Chuong Deng, the rival faction’s Director for Information and Public Relations, told Radio Tamazuj Monday the attack occurred this morning at about 5 am.

He claimed that SPLA-IO forces aligned to First Vice President Riek Machar attacked their troops at the Tabeldi area, located about five kilometres away from Magenis near the Sudan border.

 “They attacked us there [Tabeldi], and this is a clear violation of the recent agreement that the two factions have to resolve their differences in a peaceful way. So, our forces managed to repulse the attackers,” Chuol Deng said. “Details about the losses on our side will be made public after the fighting that has just stopped,” Deng said.

Lam Paul Gabriel, a spokesman for Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by Riek Machar, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The fighting in Machar’s own party threatens to put further pressure on the already fragile peace accord signed in September 2018.

The East African bloc IGAD warned last week that the splintering of the SPLA-IO “is beyond an intra-party crisis and bears significant immediate and long-term implications” for South Sudan.

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