Opposition group says proxy war in South Sudan risks peace deal

Lam Paul Gabriel, the Deputy spokesman for SPLA-IO

By Simon Deng

South Sudan’s main opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition are warning of an ongoing proxy war in the country that could derail the peace deal implementation.

The country’s peace deal has brought together the government and several opposition groups in a Transitional Government of National Unity that ends in 2023 and is expected to usher in a new democratic era.

Fighting has been going on in the last few months in the northern part of South Sudan blamed on an infight in the SPLM-IO but Lam Paul Gabriel, the Spokesman of the group said it’s a different issue.

“The issue of Kitgwang claiming attack is not true, they did not attack us, they did not have presence in Koch County,” Gabriel told Juba Echo.

“We know IG (government forces) attacked us. It is not only a violation but it is a war by proxy which is not right,” he said.

Attempts to reach out to Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the army spokesman and also the Koch county authorities in unity state for official comment were futile by press time.

Last week, the SPLA-IO Kitguang faction led by Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, the former SPLA-IO chief of general staff, said they were attacked by SPLA-IO forces from Mirmir cantonment site of Koch County of Unity state, prompting them to capture Mirmir which was being used as a launching pad for attacks by the SPLA-IO.

Gabriel said that preparation for the attack at Mirmir cantonment site started four days earlier, noting that forces where moved from a place called Rier and stationed in a place called Moi and mobilized to attack Mirmir cantonment sites.

“We were also attack in a place called Matin by Maj.Gen Khor Chuol who defected from SPLA-IO to SSPDF, when you are under SSPDF that mean you are under command and control of SSPDF,” he said.

“We still point fingers at SSPDF attacking us through these militia that defected to them.”

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