October 19, 2017 (KAJO-KEJI) – Clashes early this week between two different South Sudanese rebel groups in an area near the young nation’s border with Uganda, left three dead, rebels told Reuters.
- Martin Abucha (second from right) rests with his troops in rebel-held South Sudan (Jason Patinkin)
The clashes reportedly occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kajo Keji between forces loyal South Sudan’s former army general Thomas Cirillo Swaka and those allied to the country’s former First Vice president, Riek Machar.
Both sides provided contradicting statements on what actually caused them to clash.
Lam Paul Gabriel, the deputy spokesperson for the Machar-led rebels told Reuters that the National Salvation Front (NSF) forces attacked on Tuesday, killing two soldiers and capturing two others.
Another rebel official said they had to withdraw troops from a battle with pro-government troops nearby in order to fight off the attackers.
John Kenyi, a commander on ground was quoted saying Machar’s forces killed one of his men, but they captured “a few” rebels.
The two forces, fighting to dislodge President Salva Kiir from power, are not known to have publicly clashed against one another before.
South Sudan’s civil war, nearly in its fourth year, was caused by political disagreements within the country’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) forcing Kiir to sack his then deputy, Machar.
Ten of thousands of people have been killed and over three million displaced since the civil war broke out in December 2013. Aid agencies say nearly 5 million people could starve it war rages on.