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SPLA estimates more than 300 hostile forces in Juba

December 16 - 2013 JUBA (UPDATE 17:15)

SPLA Spokesman Col. Philip Aguer has disclosed to Radio Tamazuj that the South Sudan army is still facing a hostile force of more than 300 men in two areas around Juba. Although claiming that the government is in full control of the security situation in the capital, he acknowledged that two groups of hostile forces have not yet been defeated.

President Kiir earlier identified the groups as loyalists of the former vice president Riek Machar, who denies involvement. The SPLA spokesman told Radio Tamazuj at around 4:30 p.m. local time that one force was “behind Khor William at a distance of about 4 miles from Juba.” He was referring to a group of the SPLA Presidential Guard unit, the Tiger force, which included loyalists of both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

Another hostile group has withdrawn to the area of a farm on the outskirts of town owned by the former vice president.This group “were attacking New Site,” the spokesman said, referring to the general headquarters at Bilpam.

Col. Aguer declined to identify this group with any particular SPLA unit, saying that it was smaller than the one near Khor William and comprised of fighters who had been ‘unemployed’ and ‘not in the SPLA.’

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