Juba/Addis Ababa, April 15, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudanese government has dropped containers of toxic gas on rebel-held areas in Bieh State, a senior rebel military source told the South Sudan News Agency on Saturday.
The official who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak said the government used at least three military helicopters to drop the poison gas.
“After days of failed attempt to capture our areas in Waat, the genocidal regime in Juba decided to use poisonous gas on our gallant forces and civilians. The gas is suffocating people. People affected by this gas attack are experiencing severe coughing,” the officer told the South Sudan News Agency.
Lt. Col. Lam Paul Gabriel with the SPLA-IO military command also released a statement, confirming the gas attack.
“After failing to defeat the SPLA-IO forces with regular weapons, the Juba government Militias under the command Governor John Gony Biliew of Akobo State and Majiok Gatluak Thoa of Bieh State used poisonous gas that blindfolds, weakens, makes someone loses focus and causes sneezing while attacking SPLA-IO positions and civilians in the IDP Camps,” Gabriel said the gas use has been systematic, saying, “This criminal acts of cowardice by the Juba Government started on 11th April 2017 in Yuai, proceeded to Waat on 14/04/2017 and still going on with an aim of reaching Akobo.”
Gabriel said rebel forces have tactically withdrawn from Waat Saturday night to focus on civilian evacuations.
“There are many civilians casualties in Yuai and Waat due to this act of terrorism by the Juba regime,” he said.
The armed opposition calls on the African Union (AU), Troika countries and the international community to immediately send investigators to Bieh and Akoba states to investigate what it described as “this use of poisonous gas by the Juba regime.” The SPLA-IO urges the international community to send a medical team to the affected areas to treat those affected by the alleged gas attack.
One senior rebel official in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told the South Sudan News Agency today that the armed opposition intelligence branches have evidence showing Ugandan government is secretly assisting South Sudanese government in the gas campaign.