SPLA fight with Gatdet militia intensifies east of Abyei
Peter Gatdet’s militia fought with SPLA troops at Mankien in Unity State on Friday, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. The following day, Gatdet moved his force south-east to Buaw, where he attacked an SPLA encampment and took over the area, according to an UN security source.
Peter Gatdet’s militia fought with SPLA troops at Mankien in Unity State on Friday, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. The following day, Gatdet moved his force south-east to Buaw, where he attacked an SPLA encampment and took over the area, according to an UN security source. SPLA casualties were about 40 wounded at Mayom, according to the UN source and the news agency Bloomberg. Among those killed were three South Sudan police whose vehicle detonated a landmine on the Mayom-Mankien road on Friday. The SPLA says that the militia has been supplied with mines by the Northern army.
The SPLA spokesman on Sunday directly linked the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) offensive in Abyei to the militia activity in neighboring Unity State. “On 24th April top SAF security generals met with Peter Gadet in Nyama, East of Abyei, in which Peter Gadet was instructed to participate in liberating Abyei from Abyei Police as he will receive better armament and equipments and PDF and Janjaweed Commanders were introduced to Peter Gadet as counterparts,” said Col. Philip Aguer in a press statement.
Col. Philip Aguer also claimed that in early April the Sudan Armed Forces General Headquarters ordered the Divisional Command in Muglad to open its stores to a militia battalion loyal to Abdel Bagi Ayii (from Northern Bahr El Ghazal) as well as to forces of Gatluak Gai (also from Unity State) and Peter Gatdet. He implicated the Gatdet force in several attacks in April and May, including on an SPLA base at Bong, between Mayom and Abiemnom counties, some cattle camps in Warrap State, and Mankien.
The bush war with Gatdet could tie down elements of the SPLA 4th Division, preventing them from deploying to the Abyei front. The 4th division is presently headquartered at Mayom, about mid-way between Bentiu and Abyei. On the other hand, SPLA forces in Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap face no such opposition and reportedly are moving to reinforce Southern elements in Abyei.