Machar says Ugandan air force bombed S. Sudan “rebel” positions

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http://www.sudantribune.com/local/cache-vignettes/L393xH260/a_south_sudan_army_soldier_rests_in_bor_town_-28461.jpgSouth Sudan’s former vice-president Riek Machar on Friday claimed that a Ugandan jet fighter bombed Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) positions of forces loyal to him.

Machar, in an interview with Sudan Tribune, said Ugandan MiG-29 bombed their positions around South Sudan’s Jonglei state capital, Bor, which they temporarily captured before it was retaken by forces loyal to president Salva Kiir.

“Our positions around Jonglei state capital, Bor, have been bombed by MiG [29] jet fighter of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) at around 2pm”, Machar said.

We don’t yet know the number of casualties, he added. The ex-deputy president condemned what he described as interference by Ugandan forces into South Sudan’s internal affairs.

BOR CAPTURE

Machar has been condemning air raids against his forces for the last one week by helicopter gunships belonging to the Ugandan army, which backs government forces.

The Ugandan government has, however, denied providing military support to the South Sudanese army. Instead, Kampala said its troops were in South Sudan to rescue its nationals trapped in the ongoing fighting in the country.

’’No Ugandan planes are in Bor nor are there any Ugandan planes that have been shot,’’ Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesman told Sudan Tribune last week. Gen. Katumba Wamala, the army chief of staff also denied his army’s alleged involvement in the conflict, which threatens peace and stability in South Sudan.

“Bor is a couple of miles from Juba, unless we posses supernatural powers, we couldn’t have moved that fast”, he tweeted in response to a journalist. The Ugandan army on Thursday said it had deployed troops in South Sudan to help secure its citizens from the increasingly volatile country.

READY FOR DIALOGUE

Machar further said he was ready for regionally supported peace talks with president Kiir, pending the release of his colleagues detained in Juba. Two of the detainees have, however, been released while the fate of nine others remains unknown.

President Kiir said he would talk, but without preconditions. On Thursday, Ethiopian prime minister, Haile-mariam Desalegn and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, held talks in Juba with president Kiir, urging for the peace talks to begin soon.

Machar announced he had already appointed his delegation to the talks led by the imprisoned former ruling party (SPLM) secretary general, Pagan Amum Okiech, to end the ongoing rapidly spreading violence and submitted the list of his delegates to the mediators.

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