By Mabior Philip
Juba (Borglobe)…the Sudan People’s Liberation Army is in a hot pursuit of the rebel leader George Athor, who is cowardly in hiding, the army spokesperson Kuol Deim Kuol said, in a bid to bring security under control as the independence vote nears.
In a press conference yesterday at the Minister of Information’s regular press forum, Kuol disclosed that the army attacked the infamous rebel hideouts at Payakyak in Jonglei’s Khorfulus County mid this month, killing 39 rebel soldiers. The rebels, however, managed to kill 2 army soldiers in the shoot-out.
“I can tell you, we want to arrest him alive or kill [George Athor]”, he stressed, as he described the military’s might as enough to deter off aggression against the January, 2011 vote. “We are pursuing them and the problem is that the area is becoming swampy”.
George Athor rebelled against the Government of Southern Sudan after losing Jonglei state gubernatorial seat in the last April’s general elections, unlawfully claiming that the vote was rigged.
The Undersecretary, Bior Ajang of the Ministry of SPLA Affairs, which is charged with designing the SPLA policies and handling administrative issues, said Athor will be tackled militarily in protecting the referendum.
“Fighting him to either get hold of him or kill him is what can help the people of southern Sudan ”, Bior said during the briefing. “I am opposing the idea of not fighting him to allow people go for the referendum”, he added.
Recently, a white plane was arrested in Falouj in Khorfulus County in Jonglei state, where George Athor is twisting his life in the thick bushes. Athor’s third in command, the former commissioner of Pigi County , was captured in the plane. The plane belonged to the Sudan Armed Forces. The SPLA said it was the evidence that some circles in the north were arming criminals in the south to disrupt regional peace.
In a related development, Kuol said the army attacked the hideout of Kul Chaar, another leader of rebelling armed men in Unity, killing five of his soldiers and capturing some guns. He is now running towards Heglig north of the state, where they are always accommodated by the SAF, he said.
Gatluak Deng, according to the official military statement, is under treatment in Khartoum , after running from the SPLA for his life on foot, which caused his feet to swell. Duop Gatluak, also leading armed gangs, was wounded by the SPLA and he is now in hiding, according to the army spokesperson. “With unity of the SPLA and security organs, we are tracking down these criminals”, Kuol said.