Juba, 24 July 2019: Heavy fighting broke out on Tuesday between National Salvation Front [NAS] and SSPDF in Lobonok, Lobonok lies approximately 40 km from Capital Juba.
SSPDF has since this morning deployed heavily in capital Juba, heavy weapons and tanks have also been deployed in strategic locations and government institutions on Wednesday
This is the first such fighting has come so close to the capital since the signing of the peace deal in September 2018.
The National Salvation Front (NAS), which is led by former SPLA deputy chief of staff, Lt General Thomas Cirillo Swaka in 2017 who called for the toppling of President Salva Kiir's government, the group said this morning its forces in Lobonok had come under intense attack by SSPDF.
According to the source within General Thomas Cirilo's NAS group, eight  government soldiers have been killed, this, however, could not be independently verified. The source further said their forces are on high alert as they are expecting more attacks by the government forces.
South Sudan army spokesperson Maj General Lul Ruai Koang however, told AFP, "Since morning we didn't access our commanders on the ground in Lobonok, and we have no latest information there,"
Lobonok, is home County of Vice President James Wani Igga and is also near General Thomas Cirillo's home town, therefore, it has long been a stronghold for NAS rebel group.
South Sudan government and main rebel group control by former first Vice President Machar and many other opposition groups have in September 2018 reached a peace deal in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, NAS and several others including former South Sudan army chief, General Malong, were not part of Khartoum peace agreement.
While peace has largely held across the country, fighting has continued between government troops and the NAS in the Central Equatoria region, particularly in and around Yei River state whose inhabitants are mainly ethnic Bari speakers where General Thomas hails from.
J. Roberts Swaka