Kampala/Bor — At least 19 militias and one South Sudan army (SPLA) soldier died on Monday, when the two forces clashed in Linkwangule Payam, South Sudan's Jonglei state, the army said.
The incident, according to the SPLA spokesperson, started on Monday night, when a group composed of about 50 militias loyal to renegade David Yau Yau, stormed a United Nations compound in Linkwangule, and requested them to evacuate the area before 10AM.
"While they were communicating with UNMISS [UN Mission in South Sudan], the rest of their forces were deploying along the river in an attempt to block the SPLA forces from the water," Phillip Aguer told Sudan Tribune by phone.
"In the morning of 19 the dug some trenches along the river, between the river and the SPLA base. When the SPLA soldier tried to move along the river side in the morning, they were short at by the militias and they also started firing back," he added.
The incident, he said, escalated during the day, forcing the SPLA to make a counter attack, prompting the militias to withdraw from the area.
"During a mop-up exercise, the SPLA found 19 bodies of the militias. It was first 15 and then another four were found on the grass. The SPLA captured two pieces of mortars [60mm], two RPG 7, 6 AK-47 rifles and one piece of FN gun," he said
The army, he added, lost one soldier in action, while four of them were wounded during the clashes.
He however said the SPLA remains in control of Linkwangule, trying to ensure the area is safe for both the civil population and its forces carrying out the disarmament.
Yau Yau started a rebellion following his electoral defeat for Jonglei state assembly in the 2010 polls, but later laid down arms in 2011 following an amnesty extended by South Sudan President, Salva Kiir. The rebel leader, according to the SPLA, defected to Khartoum in April last year, and re-launched another rebellion against the Juba government four months later.