No rebel forces in Mangalla, says Bari Community
The Chairperson of Bari Community, Stephen Pitia Lako, refuted claims on Friday that there are forces of the National Salvation Front (NAS) in Mangala County, Central Equatoria State.
Lako was responding to what he termed “concocted information” issued by the SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj Gen Lul Ruai, on December 26, in which the latter alleged that the army was engaging the NAS rebel forces in Mangalla County.
“We call for the investigation of the baseless statement issued by Major General Lul Ruai Koang, the SSPDF Spokesperson, for labeling our Bari village people as NAS rebels,” he protested.
According to the press statement issued by the army boss, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) fought and flashed out the National Salvation Front (NAS) forces in the area.
“To ensure the faithful celebrate the festive season in peace, mobile infantry units stormed NAS bases, resulting in the neutralisation of five rebels, and the recovery of 30 rounds for 82 MM. “A NAS base that had 1,000 individual trenches was also captured,” Lul said.
He also stated that forces clashed with NAS forces on Mankar Island.
“SSPDF would like to assure the people of South Sudan that forces are still carrying out offensive operations to flash out NAS rebels on several islands they have been occupying between Juba and Mangalla,” he added.
But in his address to the media in Juba yesterday, Lako claimed that the SSPDF was fighting the people of Mangalla County, not the rebels as claimed.
He called on the forces to stop fighting the civilians and vacate the area to allow the residents to retreat to their homes.
He called on President Salva Kiir to direct the forces so that they could stop the operations, which he said were infringing on human rights.
“We urgently urge the President, the Commander in Chief of the SSPDF, and the Supreme Commander of all Organized Forces to direct all the security organs to immediately cease the unwarranted offensive operations against our innocent Bari people in all the Bari land” Pitia said.