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Upper Nile governor downplays rebel threat to retake Malakal

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February 11, 2014 (JUBA) - The governor of South Sudan’s Upper Nile has downplayed threats by an armed group allied to the former Vice President Riek Machar, who have threatened to retake the state capital Malakal, should troops loyal to President Salva Kiir continues to launch attacks on their positions.

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Simon Kun Puoch, the Governor of Upper Nile State (Photo Boboya Simon Wudu)

"The security situation is calm. Civilians have already returned to Malakal town, which is now under complete control of our forces. All these utterances in the media are just propaganda statements”, Simon Kun Puoc, governor of Upper Nile state told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

The United Nations estimates that over 137,000 people have been displaced by the fighting Upper Nile state, which borders both Sudan and Ethiopia.

Governor Puoc was reacting to reports that the rebels repulsed from the town by the government troops in January had regrouped and were advancing towards Malakal town from three different directions.

However, an official in Puoc’s administration told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday: "What the governor said does not reflect on the realities on the ground. He just wanted to avoid fear and panics but the reality on the ground is that there was a fighting today in Owaci, which is not far from Malakal town."

The official, who did not want to be identified, said heavily armed men allied to the former Vice President have been sighted moving in columns from Ulang and Nasir towards Bailiet.

“The information we have is that the rebels are advancing to Malakal. They have reached Canal already and Obel, which is only 25 minutes driving. They overran Owaci this morning on the east and west bank of the Nile respectively, which is dangerous to Malakal”, he explained.

The government official claimed the intention of the rebel group was to attack Malakal so that they divert the government’s attention as their real intention is to try and control the oil fields in Adar and Paloch.

“The group coming from Nasir and Ulang counties will be joined by Lou Nuer youth coming from Jonglei. They will stage joined attack on Malakal town, take it and then leave a small force to engage the government troops and the rest go to the oil fields in Adar and Paloch. They will be joined by those in Wadokona, which is located at the border with Sudan”, he explained.

Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify the claims and attempts to reach the spokesperson of the government troops, Colonel Philip Aguer, failed repeatedly.

The government and rebels are due to resume peace talks in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to bring a end to the conflict that began after a split in ruling party and army triggered fighting the capital Juba that spread to Jonglei and the oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile.

A ceasefire deal signed on January 23 has proven to be shaky with both sides accusing the other of violating it. South Sudan relies on oil revenues for over 90% of its income but has to export its crude through Sudan to the north, from which it separated in 2011.

The presence of Ugandan soldiers fighting alongside the South Sudanese army is believed to have alarmed the Sudanese government. The United State and Ethiopia have both asked Kampala to remove their forces for the sake of the peace process - Machar’s rebels insist that the leave - and to prevent South Sudan’s conflict turning into a proxy war.

(ST)

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  • 12 February 05:46, by Mi diit

    Don’t deny it Mrs. Rat (Kun). Today we will hear a pleasant announcement that Malakal has fallen. The stupid foreign forces and their inferior SPLA elements of Salva Kiir are running like rats, while they were the ones who attacked our positions outside Malakal. Reap your own violations fools.

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    • 12 February 05:50, by Mi diit

      "Gaatke cuonge ni jook luak, eke koan kuirin lath, mi wa ke maar ke tony lang, mi wa ke nyok ke yok piny" Ngundeng exactly predicted it. And he continued, "Bi jaang riaw rey hook" saying the Dinka will be no more, they will not be making noises again in my country, further adding "ba cieng dodien daak" and I will destroy another (foreign) country. This to me now could be the stupid Uganda.

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      • 12 February 05:56, by Mi diit

        LL Reuben,
        Do you want to mock Ngundeng’s prophesies? Don’t do that yet man. We know what is happening. Ngundeng predicted that the Dinka will first strike harder against the Nuer, but the final response by Nuer will be more disastrous on Dinka followed by Nuer’s VICTORY. Ngundeng also said he will destroy ANOTHER country in that tribal war. Could it be Uganda? I thought it was going to be Sudan.

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        • 12 February 05:58, by Gat Gan Kiir

          I wish BBC and VICE reporters were there again this time to bring reality in the ground as what we seen on Bor-Juba Road. I will never trust those government and army officials who are not shame to deny the fact. Our country is being curse by God, the leaders are not there to service the public with truth.

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        • 12 February 06:00, by Mi diit

          Ngundeng predicted the result of this tribal war like this: "Bi Jaang riaw rey hook, emut cuec da moth han jaak dol, bi raan teeth ni tare." Meaning, " The Dinka will disappear, let my spear get sharper, me the colorful, they will fall on their backs facing the ground." In wrestling falling on your back facing ground means total loss and defeat on the one that falls like that.

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        • 12 February 07:55, by chol

          Ngundeng also predicted that Nuers will be smallest tribe in South Sudan after the war,so keep on fighting idiots.All tribes coming to revenge their love one who was killed by Nuers terrorist.

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      • 12 February 06:03, by michael coma

        Who were raning like rats than Nuer malitias?Just beat that wet drum and you will dance staggering like drunkards soon.Salva Kiir must stay as president whether you like or not.At least we decided in 2015 to vote him out but not you fool who will remove him than us.You better join Arabs to go and sodomised you as your culture since 1990s.

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        • 12 February 06:10, by michael coma

          Mii dit
          When eastern Nuer villagers started fighting among themselves,William Nyuon told Riek Machar that he will stop the fight by arresting the instigators on both sides.Devil Riek Machar arguing that ’’the fight was predicted by propget Ngundeng to happen.This the same fake belief i have seen from you.

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        • 12 February 06:23, by michael coma

          Riek Machar is mentally blinded by prophet Ngundeng’s prophercies that when you tell him that Jesus is son of God,he would automatically argue that Ngundeng is the real son of God.

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      • 12 February 06:08, by chol

        Your FALSE prophet Ngundeng will take you to hell very soon fools Nuers.there is no room for terrorist in this country.We will chase you to North Sudan to joint your master fake Arabs.Ngundeng got all wrongs

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      • 12 February 06:35, by Chol A.

        Haaaa mr Mi diit, you still believe in Ngundeng stupid illusion? It became really that if Nuer look like educated he/she still behind more stupid like’s own mother! How come you believe in doom prophet who just want to finished innocent Nuer without wining foolish dream? Let wait’s n see Ngundeng prediction come true you continue fight n you will soon achieve prophet doom illusion good lack!

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    • 12 February 09:19, by Johndumo14

      These Nuer rebels threat fro Nasir are not coming to retake Malakal,they are simply coming to loot food because they are hungry,no food no medicies,to treat their wounded soldiers.
      All the areas of Nuer will be a battle field,they will feel tis war ,Dr Riek Machar is asking for food ,amunitions ,guns from Khartoum from his former husband Omar Bashir

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  • 12 February 07:31, by Kalo

    My brothers Nuer,Ngundeng will finished you guys,don not believe on that

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  • 12 February 07:40, by Majongdit

    They are small people. Just ignore them. They like talking. Let them organise and attack Malakal and they will die again in big numbers like what had been happening already in Bor and Malakal. The HARD FACT THEY GOT TO LIVE WITH IS THAT RIEK MACHAR WILL NEVER RULE SOUTH SUDAN. Another Nuer can, but it will never be Riek. Please mark my word!

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