February 23, 2019 (JUBA) – The National Salvation Front led by Thomas Cirilo (NAS-TC) Friday dismissed claims by a rebel faction that announced their defection from the group to join the ranks of the government.
On Monday, a group that split from NAS-TC, the Equatoria Non-Allied Forces (ENAF), signed a peace agreement with the government in Yambio mediated by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Following what he appeared on Thursday at the official TV South Sudan Broadcast Corporation (SSBC) where he expressed their support for the revitalized peace agreement and called on NAS fighters to lay down their arms and to join the peace implementation process.
“NAS military command would like to refute the allegation made by one called Moses Yanga Yoana and six (6) others who were paraded on the SSBC claiming to be NAS members and have now joined the Juba regime,” said NAS Spokesperson Suba Samuel Manase in a statement to Sudan Tribune on Friday.
Manase further added that Yanga had defected from the group in March 2018 as he was dismissed on accounts of subversive activities, and became a member of South Sudan United Front SSUF.
“NAS, therefore, has nothing to do with those individual elements,” he further stressed.
The holdout NAS-TC has become the main armed group that continue to fight the government forces in the Central and Western Equatoria regions as it rejects the IGAD brokered revitalized peace agreement signed by the government and opposition groups.
The group leader stated recently they would continue to fight the government forces until a new peace agreement is negotiated with the government as they want a new deal that provides more autonomy to the local authorities.
Manase also, said their fighters ambushed a number of government soldiers riding a pickup vehicle “while trying to go into civilian villages around Morobo”.
He said the attack meant to protect civilians from “systematic looting, rape and displacement,” by the government soldiers.