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Army Officer Killed in Fresh South Sudan Fighting

Unity and Central Equatoria states, South Sudan
Unity and Central Equatoria states, South Sudan

JUBA - Fresh fighting has been reported between South Sudanese government forces and rebels in the Central Equatoria state’s Kajokeji County, officials said.  

The fighting between the South Sudan Peoples Defense Forces (SSPDF) forces and the National Salvation Front or NAS rebels claimed the life of an army officer, County Commissioner Phanuel Dumo Jame told VOA.

He said the rebels using PKM machine guns, launched the attack around 2:00pm local time on Sunday. He said government soldiers were positioned in their military barracks at the time of the attack.

“They [NAS rebels] fired and everybody was rushing into his trench,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it hit one of our soldiers, a sergeant by [the] name Wol Deng Wol. We do not know casualties on their side.”

Confirming the fighting, army spokesperson Major General Lul Ruai Koang says the clash broke out at A’baya village near the border with Uganda after the rebels attacked a military site.

“There was an attack on our position at A’baya military outpost,” Koang told VOA.

“It was attacked by NAS rebels and we lost one soldier but the attackers were repulsed. It is still tense but we are maintaining our position.”

Koang called for calm among local civilians, saying government forces are in control of the situation.

Jame said one suspected rebel fighter was arrested and is being interrogated at the military barracks in Kajokenji.

“We are appealing to the members of the public to be calm because the security situation is under control just after thirty minutes’ engagement,” Jame said.

Yose Kei Wudu, sub-chief of the Kangapo One Payam, said despite the fighting, calm has since returned in the area.

MP Wilson Lodiong, who represents Kajokeji in the National Legislative Assembly, said the army is still pursuing the rebels, and has also appealed for calm.

NAS rebel spokesperson Samuel Suba did not respond to repeated calls for comment.