SPLM Downs Helicopter Gunship As NIF Escalates Fighting

Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) of the 2nd Front (Equatoria Region) shot down a helicopter gunship at Khor Inglizi 26 miles on the Torit - Juba road on September 24th 2002. The racist Government of Sudan (NIF) has since Sunday September 22nd, 2002 launched both ground and aerial attack on SPLA positions on the strategic bridge of Khor Inglizi. These attacks were decisively repulsed resulting in heavy enemy casualties and the loss of HIND-German made Helicopter gunship. The remaining 3 helicopter gunships fled towards Juba.

It is worth mentioning that the NIF is launching massive military offensive all over New Sudan. On September 24th 2002 at dawn, the NIF forces attacked and overran the SPLA held town of Midil in Southern Blue Nile. This town is 90km north of Kurmuk on the Demazine-Kurmuk road. SPLA forces that withdrew from Midil are now counter attacking the enemy and are confident of dislodging them. Meanwhile, heavy fighting is also taking place in Western Upper Nile (WUN). On September 23rd, 2002, National Islamic Front (NIF) troops from their headquarters at Payak attempted to attack Leer but were repulsed with heavy casualties. SPLA forces under the command of Cdr. Peter Par Jiek are in firm control of Leer town. During the fight for Leer, the racist forces lost 40 men and many others were wounded. Our gallant forces also destroyed two enemy trucks between Dorwak and Mirmir including a ten-ton lorry and a mounted Land cruiser.

In another development, the same forces of oppression attacked various SPLA positions under the overall command of Cdr. Peter Gadet around the oil fields. NIF airforce bombed Gar, Kwer, Tanger among others. More than 300 heads of cattle and ten civilians were killed. In another attempt, NIF forces and militias of renegade Major-General Paulino Matip tried to advance from Mankien towards Tam but were repulsed with heavy casualties. Reports also indicate that SPLA forces in Western Upper Nile under the command of John Gargash and Stephen Gargok rescued more than 600 civilians that were being driven from the Mayom area towards Kadugli by NIF forces and their allied militias. They were apparently cleared from the oil fields and were being taken to Northern Sudan for sale.

The Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA) condemns the NIF regime for escalating fighting all over the New Sudan without any provocation from the SPLA. This escalation in our view is aimed at achieving three main objectives. First, it is meant to end the war by military means instead of a peacefully negotiated settlement. Secondly, the NIF still believes in its scorch-earth policy of depopulating Western Upper Nile for oil exploration. Thirdly, the NIF is carrying out its policy of abduction, servitude and trading in humans. All these evil objectives must be condemned and the NIF should be made accountable.

Finally, the SPLM/SPLA Leadership congratulates Cdr. Oyai Deng Ajak, officers, NCOs and men of the 2nd Front for thwarting the forces of oppression advance to Torit and for shooting down of the gunship. Congratulations also go to Cdr. Peter Par Jiek, John Gargash, Stephen Gargok, officers, NCOs and men of the WUN command for these victories over the enemy in Upper Nile.
Dr. Samson L. Kwaje
Commissioner for Information and
Official Spokesman SPLM/SPLA
26th September 2002


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