Juba, January 30, 2019 (SSNA) — The South Sudanese and the National Salvation Front (NAS) are mobilizing their forces in Yei River State for a possible military confrontation, a senior national security source who spoke exclusively to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on condition of anonymity said on Wednesday.
The source said the national army, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), has been ordered by President Salva Kiir to attack NAS positions for refusing to accept the September 2018 peace agreement. The source claims that South Sudan views NAS as a threat to its existence and wants to at least dislodge it from Yei River State and other areas.
“There will soon be a very big war between the government and the NAS. This war is all about peace. Those of Thomas Cirillo don’t like the deal. They said this agreement is not good but President Kiir wants Cirillo to accept it. This is the problem,” the source explained.
Pressed if the government thinks fighting against NAS would force Cirillo to embrace the deal. The source believes war between SSPDF and NAS will not solve the problem.
“Civilians are now fleeing their homes in Yei River. For me, fighting against Cirillo is like adding fuel to a burning fire. They should not attack his bases,” explains the source.
The source also disclosed that Ugandan troops have secretly been deployed to Yei River State, ready to fight alongside government forces against the National Salvation Front.
Two weeks ago, SSPDF and SPLA-IO threatened to use military action against the NAS if it refuses to back the agreement, declaring Thomas Cirillo as “threat” to peace. It is not clear if the armed opposition led by Dr. Riek Machar is a part of the looming military offensive against the NAS.
An expert warned that declaring war against the NAS simply because it refuses to back the deal could cause a nation-wide instability.
The South Sudan News Agency understands that the NAS refuses the peace agreement because the pact fails to address the roots cause of the conflict, labeling the deal as “a recipe for more conflicts.”