Deadly clashes erupt between rival factions of South Sudan party

Deadly clashes erupt between rival factions of South Sudan party

Deadly clashes have erupted between rival factions of South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar’s SPLA-IO, his military spokesman said in a statement.
The clashes erupted on Saturday after Machar’s rivals said this week they had ousted him as head of the party and its military forces.

The armed forces led by a rival party general, Simon Gatwech Dual, had launched an attack on Machar’s men, who had “repelled the aggressors,” Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel spokesman said.

Machar’s SPLA-IO forces killed two major generals and at least 27 “enemy” soldiers, while they lost three men, he added.

The fights could not be independently confirmed and there was no immediate response from Gatwech Dual’s side.

Leaders of Machar’s military wing of SPLM / A-IO said on Wednesday they had deposed the rebel-turned politician for failing to represent their interests.

The fighting could put pressure on the fragile 2018 power-sharing deal between Machar and his former nemesis, President Salva Kiir.

Machar’s allies on Friday rejected the attempt to impeach him as a “failed coup”, insisting he still had full control of the party.

Machar himself this week accused “peace saboteurs” of organizing his withdrawal.

The 68-year-old, a cunning leader who survived years of bush warfare, life assaults and exile, served as vice president alongside Kiir in the first government after the independence of the Sudan in 2011.

But the couple fell out and Machar was sacked two years later. The troops loyal to each man turned on each other and South Sudan sank into five years of civil war.


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