28 August 2017

Uganda: Fighting Erupts At Oraba Border

Photo: Stefanie Glinski/Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Cathedral camp in Wau hosts over 10,000 IDPs

Oraba Border — Serious fighting erupted between Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan government forces last Saturday, leaving about 10 people dead, according to eye witnesses fleeing the clashes.

The fighting, according to some residents who fled to Koboko District, was started after the rebels clashed on the outskirts of Kaya Town, just 20 kilometres from the Ugandan border district of Koboko.

"We had to flee from Kaya because the fighting lasted for several hours. [Some soldiers] and a journalist who was covering issues in South Sudan were killed. We left the bodies and the injured residents and soldiers inside Kaya," said an eye witness who preferred not to be named for fear of reprisal.

The bodies of Malish Ring and one only identified as Malual, both SPLA soldiers, were brought to Koboko Health Centre IV for postmortem. Other casualties are receiving treatment at the same health center in Uganda. Two opposition fighters were killed in the fighting and Christopher Allen, an American freelance journalist, was also killed in the crossfire.

The South Sudan Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Samuel Luate, told Daily Monitor that he was attending an event but promised to provide details on the attacks later.

Despite a ceasefire, the two armies have continued to make counter attacks in a quest to either regain control of towns or capture more territory.

As a result of the fighting, some South Sudanese, especially women, have continued to cross to Uganda via River Kaya, which is predominantly controlled by the Opposition army. Recently, the deputy spokesperson for SPLA-IO, Col Paul Lam, told Daily Monitor at River Kaya bridge that they would continue to defend the territories that they control once attacked by the government forces.

"We shall continue to guard and strengthen our stronghold areas. And should we just look on to be attacked by the government force? No we shall defend ourselves. And as long as there is divisionism in South Sudan and Kiir's government is still rocked by corruption and disparity in the army, we shall not stop fighting," he said.

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