South Sudan Armed Opposition Clashes with Defectors in Upper Nile State

Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, the commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state (courtesy)
Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, the commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state (courtesy)
Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, the commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state (courtesy)

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South Sudan Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state announced his forces had taken control of Madeng area, which has been under control of the country’s main opposition led by Riek Machar.

Summary

South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) defected commander, Major General Gathoth Gatkuoth, who claimed to be the overall commander of the alleged defected forces said that he had seized Mandeng area which was under opposition leader Riek Machar.

Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth who is also commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state Thursday announced his battle with the country’s main armed opposition.

Gatkuoth says he is now fighting against both President Salva Kiir’s government and the opposition led by Machar.

In August the defectors claimed that they captured Pagak, Machar’s headquarters near the Ethiopian border, and allegedly killed former commissioner of Leer County.

He has claimed that Machar has no powerful force but depends on commanders who were loyal to him and who are now defecting.

Analysis

The civil strife that has crippled South Sudan has been a battle field between Salva Kiir’s government and his former deputy turn rebel leader Riek Machar.

The new developments come even as the two major worrying parties in the country show no serious commitment to abide by the peace process to end the months of civil strife in the country.

The new twist of situation sees opposition defectors who claim to be allied neither to the government nor to the main opposition join the battlefield. Their new powerful entry could likely dissuade the opposition advances against the government. Alternatively, it would have the government dealing with a new threat.

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