Five people were killed and three others injured in South Sudan Thursday when gunmen ambushed a convoy of trucks returning to Uganda on the Juba-Nimule Road.
A military spokesman blamed National Salvation Front (NAS) rebels for the attack.
A military officer at a check point on the Juba-Nimule Road reported the three trucks were ambushed about 6 a.m. in the Kit 2 area.
The passengers and driver in the first truck survived the attack, said deputy army deputy spokesperson Colonel Santo Domic.
“The leading truck was shot but managed to escape the ambush with three wounded… but the other two trucks were burned, and within those trucks, five civilians were burned to death,” Domic told South Sudan in Focus.
Domic said the identities of the victims could not be confirmed because their bodies were burned beyond recognition.
“There are measures being taken for specialized forces to go there and try to evacuate the burned bodies and try to understand exactly what happened,” said Domic.
The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) said it believes the National Salvation Front forces are responsible for the deadly attack because the rebel group allegedly carried out similar attacks on the same road in the past.
“According to SSPDF, they want to give a signal that they are there, and they wanted to confirm their presence in the area, but if there is any other reason, then they should talk for themselves,” Domic told VOA.
The NAS has repeatedly violated the cessation of hostilities agreement the group signed with the government, added Domic.
Last week, the SSPDF accused the NAS of attacking people along the Juba–Kajokeji Road, a claim NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel denied.
In a statement released Thursday, Samuel accused the SSPDF and its allied militia of looting, burning houses, raping women and killing civilians. In the last two weeks SSPDF attacked NAS forces that were crossing into NAS-controlled areas, according to Samuel.