SPLA Defeat GoS Forces On Juba-Torit And Juba - Lafon Roads

The Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA) denies reports that Khartoum forces have re-taken the strategic towns of Torit in Eastern Equatoria and Kurmuk in Southern Blue Nile.

These reports which are attributed to the Secretary General of the ruling party Mr. Ibrahim Omer Tahir in Khartoum and the regimes' Ambassador in Cairo are not true. These are false propaganda meant to boost the low morale of their forces. These baseless claims are also meant to cover up the loss suffered by the NIF forces of occupation.

However, Yesterday 27th September 2002 one elite battalion of about 500 Mujahidiin troops sneaked behind SPLA lines at Khor Inglizi 30 miles on the Torit-Juba road and briefly captured a small bridge between Ilyangari and Khor Delaib. These Mujahidiin were smuggled behind SPLA lines through bushes by about 15 local militia men allied to the regime. They then attacked our forces at the back. This was followed by six waves of frontal attacks by the enemy from the Juba side. After four hours of fighting, the SPLA destroyed the Mujahidiin battalion killing 300 of them on the spot. A helicopter gunship that came to their rescue was shot down and its three crew were killed. The remaining 200 of the Mujahidiin scattered in the bushes are being mopped up by the gallant SPLA forces in the area.

The frontal attacks were also repulsed with heavy casualties including more than 500 killed. Similarly, enemy attempts to recapture Lafon on Wednesday 25, September 2002 was repulsed with heavy casualties. The enemy lost 250 soldiers killed and the rest including their wounded commander have now fled to Mogiri and Mongalla and are being pursued by gallant SPLA forces.

Therefore, following six days of very heavy fighting at Khor Inglizi and at Lafon the enemy has now been badly defeated in both areas. In the two locations the National Islamic Front (NIF) forces have suffered more than a combined total of 1,000 soldiers killed and several thousands wounded. Khartoum's dreams and attempts to recapture both Torit and Lafon from the SPLA have consequently been squashed.
It is however unfortunate that yesterday, Friday 27th September 2002, the enemy antonov bombed four areas around Leer town in Western Upper Nile (WUN). Four bombs were dropped on Leer town destroying a school while at Bhow location two miles from Leer, one woman and an undetermined number of cattle killed. Details of casualties of the bombing of two other places namely Ngony 12 miles north of Leer and Padeh relief centre are not yet in but it is feared that several people were killed.

The SPLM/SPLA takes this opportunity to warn the government that those Generals who ordered the ill-fated attacks on the SPLA since September 22, 2002 are solely responsible for the so many loss of lives in areas that had been liberated and pacified by the SPLA. These are forces composed mainly of unwilling students and old men who were conscripted, hurriedly trained and sent to the war front. We appeal to the GOS to accept the recently announced SPLM/SPLA initiative for self restraint when the talks resume in Machakos.

The GOS should forget and give up their attempts to recapture Torit and other SPLA held towns. Their intention to have an upper hand over the SPLM/SPLA during the talks is now a doomed project. The NIF regime should on the contrary stop war-mongering and their notorious habit of issuing pre-conditions before the talks resume. Khartoum should instead reciprocate the SPLM/SPLA initiative. They should commit themselves and their forces of occupation in New Sudan to observe a period of tranquility so as to create a conducive atmosphere during the coming talks. Continued provocative attacks on SPLA positions by the NIF will however, not go unchallenged as the Movement reserves the right to defend itself. We shall act decisively.

The SPLM on other hand takes this opportunity to condemn the decision taken yesterday 27 September, 2002 by the GOS to impose a total ban on humanitarian access to all areas in Equatoria region. The denial of humanitarian access to non-combatants in these areas is likely to result in catastrophic consequences on a population that is already vulnerable to drought, poor rains, crop failures and aerial bombardments. The GOS policy of using food and humanitarian assistance in general as a weapon of war must therefore be condemned.

Finally, the SPLM/SPLA Leadership congratulates the Officers, NCOs and men of the 2nd Front in Equatoria for successively destroying the NIF forces of evil that have been aggressing the SPLA for the last six days in Eastern Equatoria. The SPLA will continue to defend Torit and the population

Dr. Samson L. Kwaje
Commissioner for Information and
Official Spokesman SPLM/SPLA
 28th September, 2002 - Nairob


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