Home | News    Wednesday 19 February 2014

S. Sudan rebels say they are in full control of Malakal, army denies claims

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February 19, 2014 (JUBA) – Rebel forces led by South Sudan’s former president, Riek Machar, say they are now in full control of Malakal, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state, following fierce battles on Tuesday morning with government troops and their foreign allies.

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Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, the commander of rebel forces in Upper Nile state (File ST)

Rebel military spokesperson Brig Lul Ruai Koang told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that forces loyal to president Salva Kiir were flushed out from Malakal town and were being pursued towards Akok county.

This would be the third time, if true, that Malakal, a strategic town located about 497km from the South Sudan capital, Juba, had fallen to rebel forces since conflict broke out in the country two months ago.

Koang accused the government and its allies of provoking the rebels prior to the recapture of the state capital.

“The government troops and its allies today (Tuesday) in the morning launched unprovoked, simultaneous attacks on our defensive positions, 7km south and 5km east of Malakal town. The attacking forces were repulsed, pursued and flushed out of their last stronghold north of Malakal town,” said Koang.

He also accused neighbouring Uganda of military involvement in the battles, saying its jet fighters had dropped several bombs on rebel positions around Malakal.

“While close combat engagements were ongoing, Kiir’s troops received massive air support from Uganda warplanes. Our gallant forces under the direct command of Maj. Gen. Chayuot Manyang and under the overall command of Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth are still chasing the remnants of government troops towards Akoka county,” Koang said.

He added that rebels were yet to ascertain the number of casualties on the ground from both sides.

ARMY DISMISSES REBEL CLAIMS

The spokesperson for the South Sudan army (SPLA), Phillip Aguer, has dismissed the rebel claims as “untrue”, adding that fighting was still ongoing in the strategic town.

“The rebels of Riek Machar have not captured Malakal. It is not under their control, although a few managed to penetrate into the town from the south, north and east,” Aguer told Sudan Tribune by phone on Wednesday.

"Our forces remain in control of strategic areas in the southern parts of Malakal, and it is just a matter of time before our forces declare complete control of the town,” he added.

South Sudan government spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth also denied the claims, instead accusing the rebel SPLM/A In Opposition forces of violating the ceasefire agreement signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 23 January.

“I don’t think the rebels control Malakal. In any case, we would have flushed them out long ago if we never respected the ceasefire agreement,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

However, residents and government sources in the area claim rebels took complete control of the town on Tuesday evening, forcing many civilians to flee to a UN base camp.

“The rebels are in full control of the town as of now. It seems the government forces withdrew to the south. The fact that the SPLA forces are not in the key areas and installations, like Airport, hospitals, river port and the military headquarters indicates that they may have pulled out,” a senior government official told Sudan Tribune Wednesday.

Another source within the state government said that rebel forces appeared to have acquired improved weaponry, revealing that for the first time they posed direct threats to the tanks used by the government troops, many of which were destroyed in the battles.

UGANDA ACCUSED

Meanwhile, the rebels have reiterated accusations directed towards the Ugandan army (UPDF), alleging that the “negative role” played by the latter in the internal South Sudanese conflict was a major factor in Kiir’s decision to resist political reforms within the country’s ruling party (SPLM).

Ugandan officials have maintained that they are footing the bill for the country’s military deployment in South Sudan, arguing that they are there to prevent internal fighting escalating again, as well as protecting their national security interests by ensuring the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) does not resurface in South Sudan.

10 DEAD AT UN CAMP

The UN mission in the country (UNMISS) has confirmed that at least 10 people were killed on Tuesday when inter-communal violence broke out within a UN camp, where more than 20,000 internally displaced people are currently seeking refuge.

“From this (Tuesday) morning there has been heavy fighting in and around Malakal between the SPLA In Opposition and the government forces. Simultaneously, inter-communal clashes flared up within the protection of civilians site within the UNMISS compound, which also came under cross fire,” a statement issued by the mission said in part.

The agency condemned those who instigated the inter-communal violence, saying it “reserves the right to take appropriate action against these individuals.”

UNMISS said the incident had been contained by it troops and police units, although its statement stopped short of mentioning which tribes were involved in the violent outbreak.

However, sources familiar with the incident told Sudan Tribune that the clashes within the UN compound pitted the Dinka and Shilluk tribes against members of the Nuer ethnic group.

Although the cause of the inter-communal skirmishes remains unclear, witnesses claimed that fighting erupted after Nuer youth reportedly became angry when Shilluk and Dinka tribe members in the area refused to join the rebellion in support of Machar.

Associated Press reported on Wednesday that UN personnel had been forced to remain inside the Malakal base amid safety fears as heavy fighting continued.

US EMBASSY CONDEMNS ATTACK

Meanwhile, the United States embassy in Juba has condemned the Malakal clashes, describing it as a blatant disregard of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by both sides/

“The fighting in Malakal endangers the lives of civilians and threatens further instability in Upper Nile State,” it said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“Armed conflict and violence will not solve this crisis,” it added.

The statement also called on both sides to immediately abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement and engage in serious negotiations at ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa.

“It is of paramount importance for the government to name and send immediately its representatives to the joint technical committee so that the Monitoring and Verification Teams can begin their work of monitoring the agreement under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),” the embassy stressed.

“Continued military conflict will only prolong the violence and worsen the humanitarian crisis that threatens to consume the country,” the statement adds.

(ST)

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  • 19 February 09:14, by Ambago

    SPLM/A Oyeee!! But which faction?

    repondre message

    • 19 February 10:03, by Malakal county Simon

      Both Makue and Aguer, should stop feeding public with liars.... Malakal has been captured by Democratic forces of Dr Machar!!!!

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  • 19 February 09:17, by Joseph Canada

    Congratulation Dr. Riek and your forces. We need to take our nation back and solve our own problems on the ballot box rather than paying another nation to kill our people with Cluster bombs. All Dinka will test th oppression and bullet like the other minorities in South Sudan.

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    • 19 February 09:37, by wacjak

      Canadian, sorry indeed. Dinkas tested bullets long time ago. one thing they can never allow is to be oppressed. Your traitor shall soon die in the bush. Your kids, brothers and sisters are starving of hunger and here you are talking of defeating the govt. What a useless group. Campaign for a better government and not to oppress Dinkas otherwise, you won’t succeed in your endavour fool.

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      • 19 February 10:07, by Malakal county Simon

        Wacjack
        Dinka elders should advice Kiir to stop step-down, or they will elder’s of Uganda soon!!!!

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        • 19 February 10:10, by Malakal county Simon

          Correction;
          Or they will be Uganda elders soon!!!!

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    • 19 February 11:29, by Letigolight

      The GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless the opposition fighters; we have been buying dirty river water in Juba SSP10 per a barrel for the last 9 years! transported by Somalis and Ethiopians! The Kiir government has imbezzled over USD9.2 billion without any trace! We pray that all these evil forces of Museveni and Kiir private army be destroyed in the name of the living GOD!, SPLM opposition Oyee

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    • 19 February 20:25, by Below the Law

      Joseph Canadian
      What did you go to do in Canada?
      Did I hear you shouting congratulations for Riek destroying Malakal for the second time in less than two months? I thougt a canadian like you could have some intellects and so could assist developed our south sudan. In contrary devils like you help put our country into this mess. Our God curses you and Riek immediately.

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      • 20 February 05:45, by Joseph Canada

        Below the Law, I am glad you ask me such a question as" what did I go to do in Canada, and we should have some intellect to assist to develop the nation of South Sudan" YES!! You are right. I personally worked hard during the Referendum and the election here in Canada. I used my own car to transport people to Voting places, I did that so that we can have Equality for all

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      • 20 February 05:46, by Joseph Canada

        Below the Law, I am glad you ask me such a question as" what did I go to do in Canada, and we should have some intellect to assist to develop the nation of South Sudan" YES!! You are right. I personally worked hard during the Referendum and the election here in Canada. I used my own car to transport people to Voting places, I did that so that we can have Equality for all!!

        repondre message

        • 20 February 06:07, by Joseph Canada

          Cont: But then what happen was not what I wanted. Kiir and Dinka Leadership turned south Sudan into Dinka nation, Still money into caskets, Offices, and created the Dinka army. They even hire Ugandan with cluster Bombs to kill South Sudanese. So for you Mr. Below the Law, which side will you be on? love for Nation or Love for a Tribe?

          repondre message

  • 19 February 10:27, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Instead of peaceful dialogue with Riak Machar and his groups under military operation, government can only use language of AK-47 such that they can understand very well what is peace and what is war.

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    • 19 February 13:45, by Mou

      in fact and for the matter of fact, For peace to be acceptable from all sides, Kiir must step down, Riek must step down and both of them must go away and forget being leaders of this country. We need another person who is not a Dinka and not a Nuer but from any South Sudanese tribes.

      repondre message

    • 19 February 13:45, by Mou

      in fact and for the matter of fact, For peace to be acceptable from all sides, Kiir must step down, Riek must step down and both of them must go away and forget being leaders of this country. We need another person who is not a Dinka and not a Nuer but from any South Sudanese tribes.

      repondre message

  • 19 February 10:55, by Awei-ngok

    Mi diit and your likes,
    Nuer will be wiped out soon!Wait and see.No tribe will rule this country unless by all tribes of South Sudan.Kiir is ruling because it is and was his turn.The SPLM/A in O is composed of only Nuer militias and civilians.Those foreign agents militaring you are hating indirectly.They are killing you Nuer idiots.Dinka as a whole will join this senseless war and you will see!

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  • 19 February 12:18, by Mapuor

    Hahahaha SPLA is still in Malakal guys,Nuer militias attacked from the East entered the main market and looted civilians in the center up to ’Rei El maseri’ area.Hahahah this morning the story is different,they have all been flushed out, fleeing with loot towards Gualguk.Hhahah Nyagaats will never rule come what may.SPLA OYEE

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    • 19 February 13:33, by Malakal county Simon

      You have no different with both Makue Lueth and Philip Aguer, by always feeding public with liars.... What a tribe! who believe in liars, and becomes part of Dinka culture.... Malakal is a done deal, and there should be no more oils money to hires foreign forces to kills South Sudanese, and we heard that’s Kiir is secretly preparing for his exit for Ugand!!!!

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  • 19 February 13:14, by Akot Deng

    hi what a confused society of Nuer, being uneducated is a disease really becuase Nuer are fighting useless war without taking care of the civillians.

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    • 19 February 13:21, by Diversity

      Gelweng/titweng/dootkubeny are drunk of the blood of innocent to the extend that they forget that they were the ones who started the killing of innocent and continued everywhere in the country? Imagine!

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  • 19 February 13:18, by Akot Deng

    Nuer are fighting magically, which can not work in this world of innovation and techloght all over and the world are watching stupid Nuer fighting for no cousre only subjecting thier people for suffering.

    repondre message

    • 19 February 13:35, by Malakal county Simon

      You have no different with both Makue Lueth and Philip Aguer, by always feeding public with liars.... What a tribe! who believe in liars, and becomes part of Dinka culture.... Malakal is a done deal, and there should be no more oils money to hires foreign forces to kills South Sudanese, and we heard that’s Kiir is secretly preparing for his exit for Ugand!!!!

      repondre message

      • 19 February 13:44, by Malakal county Simon

        Our target is illegal president Kiir!!!! And Our goal is very is for Kiir to resign after starting a sense-less war, and massacring of innocent Nuer civilians in cold-blood.... Or if the Dinka elders insist to keep silence to advice Kiir to resign, You all will be people’s of Uganda soon....

        repondre message

  • 19 February 14:04, by Alfredo christiani

    Mi Diit or whatsoever you call yourself
    You wanted this new born country to be like Rwanda genocide of 1994 between Tutsis and Hutus which is not acceptable, you better to preach for peace among ourselves .if all DINKAS with their supporters accepted this war, you will be like Tutsis of Rwanda; believe me, no need for distractions Okay .

    repondre message

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