NAS denies Juba-Yei highway attack allegations
In a statement released yesterday evening, the National Salvation Front (NAS) have denied allegations that the forces committed the recent attacks on travellers along the Yei-Juba highway.
Last weekend, 3 separate attacks on cars and motorbikes in Lainya county saw 10 drivers killed and robbed. A number of commentators, including Governor of Central Equatoria Emmanuel Adil Anthony, have blamed rebel groups such as the NAS for the attacks.
Describing the accusations as 'wild', NAS spokesman Suba Samuel Mansae wrote that they are 'baseless and aimed at tarnishing the image of the movement'.
He has instead argued that as the highway is under the control of the South Sudan People's Defence Forces (SSPDF) and its allied militias, they should be looked to as primarily responsible for the ambushes.
'The citizens of Central Equatoria State in particular and South Sudan in general are living in agony because of the atrocities being committed by the SSPDF', the NAS have said.
'The NAS forces, for the last 2 weeks were being attacked by SSPDF who have been crossing to NAS controlled areas and its defensive positions in both Yei and Lainya Area Command'.
Speaking generally, the statement also refers to the grievances the NAS holds against the SSPDF and the South Sudanese government.
'The cattle keepers from different areas of South Sudan are freely marauding and grazing in the whole of Central Equatoria State, armed with modern weapons and constantly supplied with food as well as ammunition from their benefactors in Juba', the letter alleges.
The NAS have been fighting against the South Sudanese government since 2017, rejecting the R-ARCSS and the leadership of President Salva Kiir.