South Sudan: Machar Calls For Forgiveness As Clashes Continue
South Sudan’s First Vice-President Riek Machar has called on the people of South Sudan to forgive one another for the sake of peace, as rival sides continue to clash in the country.
The opposition leader spoke to 5,000 church-goers on Sunday after reports of a clash emerged between his allies and government soldiers in Mayom County.
The accusations continue
Mayom Country Commissioner John Bol Mayak claims opposition fighters allied to Riek Machar raided hundreds of cattle in the county’s Bilthiang village on Friday. He said the armed group was led by Peter Tang, who was appointed as the commissioner of Rubkotna by the opposition party, as part of the transitional government recently set up in South Sudan.
Twelve people were reportedly killed in the clash – seven fighters from the SPLA-IO armed opposition group and five others believed to be government fighters.
Opposition denies accusations
In typical fashion, these accusations were swiftly denied by the opposition group and countered with a different version of events, this time blaming the government. The governor of Unity State, who was also appointed by the opposition party, claims armed government troops from Mayom attacked civilians in Ruokchiengduot village, killing five on Friday.
“It is very miserable for the adversaries of peace to continue attacking civilians and looting of properties remains fragile while peace is already availing in the country,” said Unity State Governor Weirial Puok Baluang.
He called on regional leaders and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) to deploy teams to verify the situation on the ground.