SSPDF kills suspected NAS officer in ‘self-defense’
The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) has confirmed the killing of a suspected senior officer of Gen. Thomas Cirilo-led National Salvation Front (NAS) in Mundri West County in Western Equatoria State.
SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai told The City Review on Wednesday that Col. Barnaba Buna Samson was killed during a repulsive attack on the SSPDF barrack in Jambo Payam on Monday evening.
“Our forces at Jambo repulsed the attackers and as a result, they killed one colonel from NAS. The colonel is named Barnaba Buna Samson. We were able to recover his personal rifle 4386 and granite,” Maj. Gen. Rul said.
Maj. Gen. Lul said NAS attacked and wounded four SSPDF soldiers in Lanyi. One of the soldiers is in critical condition but no casualties were reported on both sides of the rival forces.
He claimed the attacks were orchestrated on October 18 by NAS commanders among them Gen. Kenyi Lobureng, deputy commander Maj. Gen. Nyambi and Brig. Gen. Emmanuel launched and coordinated systematic attacks on the SSPDF locations in Mundri.
“These attacks were planned by senior commanders of NAS. We are wondering why NAS is launching deliberate attacks on our positions when we are still engaging them in Rome? There was an agreement on the ceasefire to be observed by both SSPDF and NAS,” said Maj. Gen. Lul
Ceasefire long overdue
The City Review was unable to verify this statement independently due to a lack of contact from NAS.
However, Maj. Gen. Lul said NAS’s continuous violation of the cessation of hostility agreement could mean that Gen. Thomas Cirilo was not in control of his forces or not committed to the Rome peace initiative.
He said this means that Gen. Cirilo has been lying to the international community that NAS was committed to the peace process in the
The attacks came in less than two weeks following the meeting between President Kiir and Secretary-General of Community of Saint’Egidio, Paolo Implagliazzo on way forward to the soon resumption of the Rome peace talks.
In September this year, President Salva Kiir suspended peace negotiations with the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) indefinitely due to lack of adherence to the 2017 Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) and January 2020 Declaration of Principles.
President Kiir has repeatedly said peace negotiations with the holdouts would only resume should they show commitment to the two agreements and stop killing innocent civilians in the country.
In August, the government accused NAs of carrying out several attacks on vehicles along the roads in the country, including Juba-Nimule highway, Juba-Mundri, and Juba-Yei-Kaya roads which have claimed lives, vehicles burned and looted and passengers abducted.
Humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in dire need across the country has been severely affected by armed ambushes in recent years especially in the greater Equatoria Region where NAS forces.