Torit, 15 June 2017;The two opposing forces of SPLA-IO and Juba regime militias have clashed in the suburbs of Torit on Wednesday, the resumption of fighting on Wednesday set residents of Town to take cover in their houses as sounds of heavy artillery and mortar could be heard in Torit town.
However, hours later deputy military spokesperson Col Lam Paul Gabriel was quick to accused the regime forces for violating the unilateral cease fire declared by their commander in chief, the Dinka centric President Kiir.
"Large scale government attacks came from multiple directions; Torit, Palotaka and Magwi to attack Moti, Iyire and Iholong areas" reads the press statement.
Lam however said the attackers were defeated, "The gallant Tafeng Division repulsed the attackers with heavy casualties; Fifteen (15) government soldiers lost their lives and thirteen (13) were injured. Our forces captured 8 AK47 and 1 12.7MM in good condition. One (1) Wulit and a land cruiser were destroyed"
He said the objective of the attack was earmarked to punish the civilians, "The objective of the attack by government forces is to punish the civil population in the area, gain and claim space and territory in Imatong state"
By Wednesday afternoon several NGOs from the compound of UNMISS in Torit Town confirmed the fighting, the our sources from UNMISS compound could however not provide the details of causalities of civilians and military from both sides.
The deputy SPLA-IO military spokesperson accused the regime forces for using civilians as human shields. "The government used civilians especially women and children as human shields as they led them towards heavily fortified SPLMA-IO headquarters in Imatong State."
The government has flagrantly violated their Ceasefire and reaffirmed their pursuit of military solutions to the conflict in South Sudan. Col Lam further accused Kiir for refusing to attend the IGAD submit because he was busy planning military offensive to paralyze the efforts of regional leaders to review August 2015 peace agreement, the now dead peace accord. " President Salva Kiir evaded peace talks at IGAD Summit and remained in Juba to plan and order attacks on our bases. This is an act of cowardice and flagrant violation of so called unilateral ceasefire. 2015"
Lam said SPLMAIO will never accept or adhere to any Ceasefire which is not negotiated.