S. Sudan’s rebels say gov’t airstrike kills 13 civilians

JUBA, Oct. 12 — An air raid allegedly carried out by government
warplanes killed at least 13 civilians and injured dozens in Waat in
northeastern South Sudan, a rebel spokesman said on Tuesday.

Lam Paul Gabriel, Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO)
deputy spokesman, said two government warplanes on Monday launched air
bombardment around Waat, Bieh State, killing at least 13 civilians. “So
far people have counted about 13 civilians killed but there were several
who are injured. We don’t know how many might have died in hospital this
morning,” Gabriel said. Fresh clashes erupted there last week between
government forces and rebels loyal to the country’s former deputy president
Riek Machar, leaving over 90 dead and dozens injured, according to the
South Sudan army (SPLA). SPLA deputy spokesman Santo Domic Chol
acknowledged that fighting took place in Waat in the early hours of Monday
but denied the rebel’s accusation that it used warplanes during the

Chol said the rebels attacked their positions in Waat at around 6 a.m. and
the battle lasted for 23 minutes. “The rebels don’t maintain ground in
Waat, it is the SPLA that is in Waat, but they are only trying to capture
it,” Chol told Xinhua in a phone interview from the South Sudanese capital
of Juba. The East African nation has been embroiled in more than three
years of conflict that has have taken a devastating toll on the people of
South Sudan. A peace pact signed in Addis Ababa in 2015 under intense
international pressure was shattered again following renewed violence
between rival government and opposition troops in the capital Juba in July
2016.The conflict has since spread to other regions that had enjoyed
relative peace, causing displacement of least 4 million people, ethnic
polarization and tribal violence that has killed tens of thousands. –¬†XINHUA¬†