A series of co-ordinated military assaults launched by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) in March has succeeded in capturing 24 garrison towns previously held by the National Islamic Front (NIF) government forces. The spectacularly swift offensive swept all opposition aside and killed, wounded or captured a total of 16 000 enemy soldiers. By the end of March the strategic towns of Kaya, Yei, Lainya and Kajokeji had been captured by the victorious SPLA forces.
The entire border with Uganda is now effectively under SPLA control (as is the Zaire, Kenyan and Ethiopian borders with Sudan). The SPLA’s dramatic new offensive has, therefore, broken the stranglehold of the NIF blockade on Western Equatoria and opened the road for relief supplies to be driven through Uganda into Western Equatoria. The SPLA is now also able to link its liberated territories in Eastern Equatoria to Western Equatoria and onto Bahr El Ghazal.