June 10, 2017 (GSN) - High ranking military officers in South Sudanese army have been killed on Thursday when their convoy came under attack on Juba - Nimule road, resulting in the death of more than 40 people, the SPLM-IO rebels said on Friday.
Brigadier General Charles Kon AKot and Colonel Amigo Ange were killed in an ambush carried out by the rebel fighters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) under command of the former first vice president turned armed opposition leader, Riek Machar.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Daniel Justin Thursday confirmed the attack, which occurred near Moli village in the Eastern Equatoria State.
He told reporters in Juba that 14 people lost their lives, and 10 have been injured and the cars in which they were travelling have been burnt.
In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack signed by Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO said the attack was a response to the repeated attacks on their positions by the government forces and to tell the world it was not part of the national dialogue declared by President Salva Kiir.
"The SPLA-IO takes responsibility on the Juba - Nimule road ambush of yesterday 8/6/2017 and would like to make it clear that the ambush on Nimule-Juba highway was carried out by its forces of the Anyanya division in Imotong state.," said the statement.
The statement denounced repeated attacks by the government forces on their positions and denied Juba claims that the SPLA-IO in Imotong state joined the national dialogue process.
"This is our response to the constant attacks on our bases and making (a) false claim about us joining the National dialogue. The SPLA-IO will not dialogue without it’s Commander in Chief and will not sit back while the government continues attacking its bases," reads a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The SPLA-IO, further said they destroyed four military Land Cruisers and nine other vehicles. Five Ak47 were recovered in good condition. More than 40 lives perished including civilians who were caught in the crossfire.
The armed opposition regretted the loss of civilian lives who felt victims due to an exchange of fire with the government forces who used them as cover.
The incident, it says, was a direct attack on the government escort vehicles which were completely destroyed as reported by the government police spokesperson. The statement warned civilians to not move with the army on the road to avoid becoming victims of attacks targeting the government forces.
"The government should not think that they can intimidate the SPLA-IO and continue to survive using the Juba-Nimule highway which is within our reach and control. The struggle continues," stressed the rebel group.