Yei, 5 January 2019: At least 19 civilians and 8 sustained injuries in fresh fighting between government aided militia mainly from Dinka ethnic known as [Mathiang Anyoor] and armed opposition fighters associate with Lt General Thomas Cirilo Swaka. Fighting occurred in Yei River state around 31 December 2018 to 2 January 2019.
The fresh fighting took place Gorom and Wundoroba areas of Yei River state, a recent report indicates heavily presence of both government forces and NAS [ National Salvation Front] NAS is one of the holdout opposition forces who refused to sign Khartoum Accord and is led by former deputy chief of staff Lt General Thomas Cirilo.
On Saturday while speaking to media in Juba, the spokesperson of newly rebranded South Sudan People's Defense Force formerly known as Sudan People's Liberation Army, Major General Lul Ruai Koang blamed the killing of civilians on rebel forces of Thomas Cirilo.
"They were killed by NAS fighters under the direct command of Kenyi Loboro," said Lul Ruai. Kenya Loboro according to Lul Koang is the area field commander of General Thomas Cirilo.
However, several civilians who spoke to this reporter from their hiding locations around Lainya on Saturday directly accused government forces of randomly attacking civilian populated area of Katigiri where 19 civilians were killed in a gruesome manner.
According to civilians who spoke to SSLN on Saturday, the government Mathiang Anyoor militia swamped into the village after suffering defeat by the forces of Thomas Cirilo in which at least 15 militiamen were killed the day before, so in a retaliatory attack, they [the Mathiang Anyoor] murdered 19 people mainly women, children and elderly persons with disabilities and set entire village in flame.
Wundoroba was an epicenter of killing by government forces and the same Mathiang Anyoor in 2016 /17.
General Thomas and handful other opposition leaders have refused to sign the Khartoum Accord in September 2018, citing the accord has accorded more power to one person [ Kiir] and it has not addressed the root causes of the conflict, General Cirilo has also been calling for Federal state system rather than Centralized power system which has given too much power to one person.
J. Roberts Swaka