Claims that Machar rebels took over town in Central Equatoria are false—South Sudan Army Official

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South Sudan army spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang said reports that armed opposition loyal to exiled opposition leader Riek Machar took control of Morobo town Central Equatoria state are not true.

Ruai said the fighting was about “youths who disagreed on social issues and start the fight there are between two to three-four youths and you know whenever two-three people fight and then it breaks into mass fighting others will just join it without knowing the motive,” he was quoted by Sudan Tribune

He blamed the spokesman for the opposition leader, for allegedly “politicizing” the conflict between the civilian armed local youth and the government’s forces in Morobo county.

“What I know is that it was mass fighting youths, it was not a political agenda but it was being politicized by James Gatdet who has been fanning flames of war from Nairobi,” claimed the SPLA spokesperson, who insisted the SPLA forces are in full control of Morobo and neighboring villages.

Brig. Koang denied that Morobo once fell under the control of the opposition or the local youth. This comes four days after he said his office did not receive any information about the situation in Morobo.

“SPLA is in full control of Morobo and it has not fallen into opposition fighters. They have no presence around that area and social disagreements are everywhere and it is good that fighting did not involve any weapons,” he said.

Earlier, opposition leader’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune that their forces captured Morobo last week. He did not however confirm whether their fighters have withdrawn from the town.

However, area residents who fled to neighboring Uganda over the weekend said they saw opposition forces in Morobo town. Eye witnesses said there are currently no civilians in Morobo because the area has been occupied by rebels.

In recent weeks, aid agencies and local leaders have reported clashes between government soldiers and forces loyal to former First Vice President, Machar, in several places, including Lainya in Yei River counties of the former Central Equatoria state.

Similar clashes between government and SPLA-IO forces were reported last week near Bentiu and Rubkotna, in Unity state, forcing nearly 30 humanitarian aid workers to withdraw from the areas of Nhialdiu, Jazeera, and Boaw.

Source: Sudan Tribune