23 April 2011

Sudan: Clashes With Tanginya's Forces Left 57 Dead Among Them Three Major Generals - SPLA

Photo: Jose Miguel Calatayud/IRIN
SPLA soldiers on patrol in Juba, southern Sudan (file photo).

Juba — South Sudan's army claimed today killing 57 militia members during Saturday's clashes with Tanginya's forces, in Jonglei state, adding three major-generals and several high ranking officers were among them.

SPLA forces who clashed today morning with the forces loyal to General Gabriel Tanginya. claim Tanginya's force instigated the violence by launching an attack against them.

The militia forces were in the process of completing their reintegration into the South Sudan army - the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) - in their designated assembly area of Kaldak, in Jonglei state, when the incident occurred.

After an agreement reached in October 2010, Tanginya was due to integrate his forces into the SPLA before July 9 when the South will secede from the North after voting overwhelmingly to separate in a referendum.

In a press release read on South Sudan TV on Saturday evening by the head of the SPLA Information Department at the General Headquarters of Bilpam, Brig. Gen. Malaak Ayuen, said the forces of Gabriel Tanginya launched the attack against the SPLA forces at Kaldak at 8:30 am.

Ayuen said that the SPLA inflicted heavy losses on Tanginya's forces, claiming 57 had been killed during the attack and many more wounded. He said among the dead included three Major Generals and a number of Brigadier Generals on the side of Tanginnya. Also one Major General and a number of Brig. Generals were captured, he added without giving their names.

It was not clear whether all those killed and captured senior officers participated in leading the attack at Kaldak against the SPLA. The SPLA information officer added that Gabriel Tanginya himself narrowly escaped from the fighting.

Ayuen said it was not clear why the renegade General attacked the SPLA position, but added they believe that the renegade has been in contact with other rebel groups in the region and refused to report to Juba after reintegrating more than 5,000 of his soldiers in the SPLA in the last two weeks.

During the (1983-2005) Sudanese civil war Tanginya fought for large periods against the SPLA, who were then a rebel movement fighting for greater rights of southerners and other groups in Sudan. The war ended in 2005 with a peace deal between the political wing of SPLA - the SPLM - and the Khartoum government.

In the past years of the Tanginya's forces had been accused of attacking Malakal in Upper Nile state, resulting the deaths of hundreds.

Last year before a conference for all southern parties, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, announced an amnesty for other armed groups operating in the region to try and bring stability to the South before independence. Tanginya took up the offer and agreed to integrate his forces.

In February 2011, Tanginya's forces were again responsible for violence in Malakal as they clashed with their northern colleagues after refusing to transfer weapons in their possession to north Sudan.

Tanginya's militia were used as part of the Khartoum government's contingent of joint military units created as part of the 2005 peace deal. The violence erupted after the militia was instructed to transfer to North Sudan without all of their weapons.

Following the announcement that he would integrate his forces with the SPLA Tanginya was made an adviser to Jarch Management.

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