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Army official claims Malakal retaken after soldiers abandoned positions

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February 19, 2014 (JUBA) - A high ranking military official claimed on Wednesday that an internal conspiracy within the ranks of the South Sudan army (SPLA) had helped rebel forces allied to former vice-president Riek Machar enter Malakal, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state.

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Rebel forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar are claiming to be in control of Malakal after advancing on the oil-rich capital of Upper Nile state on Tuesday (Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged that as rebels advanced towards the town, soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group cut off communication with their commanders and left their positions in the eastern and northern perimeters of Malakal.

As a result rebel forces were able to advance on the town from three separate directions with little resistance, he told Sudan Tribune.

“It is either these people did not want to fight or that they wanted to defect. They just allowed them to enter the town and they withdrew from the trenches,” he said.

According to the official, PLA troops had surrounded Malakal prior to the attack and were communicating on rebel activity via code.

Troops in the southern parts of Malakal were under the command of Major General Johnson Uliny, while other parts were divided according to troops’ knowledge of the area.

“Unfortunately our comrades in the east and the north stopped sharing with us any activity of the enemy. They withdrew from their trenches without [our] knowledge,” he said,” the military official told Sudan Tribune.

Army spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer denied Malakal had been recaptured, although he confirmed fighting was continuing between rebel forces and government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“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. 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”, Aguer told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify whether some SPLA forces in Malakal had defected prior to clashes erupting. Aguer says he has lost contact with field commanders in the town and is therefore unable to provide further information on the events unfolding.

However, sources on the ground claimed that Malakal had been in rebel hands since Tuesday evening, with many civilians fleeing to a UN compound in the area.

“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 state government official told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

If the allegations are proven, this would be the third time that Malakal has fallen to rebel forces since conflict broke out in the country just over two months ago.

The outbreak of violence in the strategic town, located about 497km from the South Sudan capital, Juba, may also shatter a tenuous ceasefire deal signed between rebel forces and the South Sudanese government on 23 January.

In a separate incident, at least 10 people were killed on Tuesday when inter-communal violence broke out inside a UN camp, where 21,568 internally displaced people are currently seeking refuge.

The UN has not named the tribes involved in the skirmishes or provided further details on what sparked the violence.

However, 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.

(ST)

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  • 20 February 07:01, by omoni jr.

    on April 12,2012, SPLA mostly composed of Nuer and Equatorians stormed Panthou, and dislodged the NIF/SAF and beat them mercilessly and occupied the town for almost a month before coward salva museveni told them to pull out.

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    • 20 February 07:04, by omoni jr.

      During the operation, over 300 Dinka army escaped, leaving their heroes battling with well armed NIF/NCP militias, according to some analysis ,South sudan army,SPLA without Nuer is useless,

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      • 20 February 07:18, by Bolman

        Thank omoni jr by telling the fact let the cowards understand who is the man in South Sudan

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      • 20 February 07:19, by Bolman

        Thank omoni jr by telling the fact let the cowards understand who is the man in South Sudan

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        • 20 February 07:47, by George Bol

          This week, SPLA will dance in all Nuer counties.
          Since the conflict, nuer has been deceiving SPLA as loyolsits when SPLA has upper hands,but defect when they think SPLA lost. This had happend in BOR operation and now in Malakal.
          This time we do not needs them to hide in the UNIMIS in the towns we captured. For me, now loyalists even Hoth Mai can defect any time if he think spla is losing.

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      • 20 February 07:37, by Mapuor

        Omoni jr
        My dear read the history of SPLA from 1983 to 2005.The war of liberation was exclusively fought by Dinkas.Your Nuers were Khartoum militias.SPLA fought militias in many areas and managed to subdue them.This war will never stop till Nyagaats are defeated.Dinkas are yet to see whether Juba is protecting their lives.Tong diit bi riem Akol kum nyin aci rot jook.Loko thin,eee lueth nyalic

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        • 20 February 08:29, by jubaone

          Mapour,
          Do you know that the strongest SPLA resistance was fought in Equatoria under katiba Shakoush made of predominantly non-Dinkas? Do you know that Torit and Kapwata were liberated twice by Alt.Cmd Obuto Mamur and the credit later claimed by Cmd Ajang Biar in late 90´s? Talk shit with people who do not know jenges. Of course there are good jenge fighters but most are cowards.

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        • 20 February 12:22, by Bentiu son

          Gogrial thief Mapuor,Which SPLA/M History? Dinka refrains from feeding public with pure lies n avoid stealing collective efforts exerted by all 64 ethnic groups in the country include our African brothers from Nuba Mt,Aghsna n Buja tribes in Eastern Sudan during long civil war in South Sudan.Which war did cowards Jeenge defeated Nuer warriors? If you are victors why imported mercenaries to help u?

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      • 20 February 07:42, by Chol A.

        Omoni jr spreading lay does not help you at all. please let’s keep fighting as we are and we will see who can succeed in this war. Spla fought for 21 years without you Nuer while stabbing them at the back n they were succeed so it good now we know one enemy.

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      • 20 February 08:42, by mathem jech amer

        Omoni jr
        You are really a Nuer lier, SPLA fought Jalaba without Nuers. Nuers were busy protecting Panthou for Arabs and all of them were malitias under Riek, Matip,Gadet and other malitia leaders, so what do you mean that without Nuers, SPLA is useless? Why did other tribes brought peace when Nuers were fighting along Bashir line

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        • 20 February 10:29, by Hardlinner

          It time government should remove nuer soldiers from operation. I know it hard decision to fight your kinmen, but what nuer government soldier did would create suspicion against them. It would have been welcome had they declare straightway that they didn’t want to fight their nuer colleagues. Atleast that would have allowed defending forces to replace them with other.

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      • 20 February 09:59, by Majongdit

        Omoni Jnr,
        The whole world knows that it’s the Dinka that fought the Arabs through out our struggle. The Nuer are known prostitutes who the Dinka and Arabs used in turns.

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        • 20 February 13:17, by jubaone

          Majongdit,
          If jenge liberated the South from the Arabs alone, then they should fight Machar and the Nuer alone. It was a force of predominantly E. equatorians that came in on the 16 and 17th Dec 2013 under the command of Gen. Obuto Mamur that finally flushed the opposition Forces. The jengs were busy rounding up innocent Nuer civilians. That is the truth. All know that in Juba

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      • 20 February 11:38, by Angelo Kumuko

        I tell, those Dinka they prefer collecting left over goods in the aftermath of goods. Where we the Equatorians and Nuer fought the war, yet they clam to be liberators.

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    • 20 February 07:32, by Sir King

      Omoni jr,
      I think what you want to do is to lead South Sudan and you can’t lead South Sudan without Dinka. Please stop those segregative writing. Riek Machar wants to be a leader for South Sudanese, and you can’t tell me that he will be a leader for Nuer only. Stop your unintellectual writing.

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      • 20 February 07:35, by Sir King

        Dinka have never been cowardice, even you know better. Only what people want here is a change and good governance and if it is now Nuer and Dinka, you better stop and keep quiet.
        STOP YOUR UNREASONABLE WRITING AND DON’T LOCALIZE THIS WAR!

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        • 20 February 11:46, by Sir King

          Equatorian are just food eaters but they don’t either fight or do anything

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          • 20 February 13:25, by jubaone

            Sir King,
            Ya aryan jenge inta. It is now equatoria that is giving your refuge, food, education, health services and even dignity. Think of your jenge heartlands, nothing. Now come to Awiel, Gogrial, Wunrok, Marial Bai, Tonj, etc. you find that all Darfuris and Jalaba have taken over businesses. Come to Juba, just full of jengs because the luaks have no food. Now equatorians are mobilizing. Wait!

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    • 20 February 07:54, by william mawien

      Hahah nuers are very funny,the ran to the bushes in their villages to hide after trying the might spla the freedomfighters and filed to manage it . Okey tell us how you are a man in your villages . How many states do you control? So wait for this coming massive military operations in upper Nile region.where will you run?

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    • 20 February 07:56, by Gat Gan Kiir

      Malakal is going to be name "Latjor City"

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      • 20 February 08:04, by Mapuor

        Gatnyagaat
        Hunger has already showed its teeth to your militias.Your foolish engineer will go down in history as a tribalist who massacred Dinka civilians from 1991 to 2013/14.He will never lead this nation,may be in the absence of Dinkas which is impossible.Riek must be defeated,no absorption of illiterate generals any more.

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      • 20 February 08:08, by Bolman

        you are correct Gat Gan Kiir I Agree with you, let Malakal be rename Latjor city its a very legitimated name for us to next generation thank for reminding me

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      • 20 February 08:10, by william mawien

        Hahaha which malakal is going to be named latjor city? In your grave you name it latjor city just wait for the up coming massive military operations:). Iam talking to you as a friend you ran to Sudan or Ethiopia inorder to save your life coze i dont think there will be any nuer militia surviving

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        • 20 February 08:15, by George Bol

          William,
          Malakal will be the graveyard for Nuer rebels. And mark my words-SPLA will reinforced their positions because Malakal is strategic town like Bor. Oil and Juba respectively. This is going to be the end of Nuer mobilization because the one left in their villages. My worried is what would happened when Youth from Dinka mobilized themselves. Rwanda will be far from reality!

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        • 20 February 08:20, by william mawien

          @Bolman
          "latjor" in nuer language is the grandfather of nuers. The founder of nuer tribe. This latjor was a mad,useless and lazy dinka who was expelled by dinka elders from bar el ghazel as a punishment for his disobedient and stupidity now latjor gave birth to many nuers in upper Nile region nuer in dinka language means a very huge circumcised penis

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          • 20 February 08:43, by Chol A.

            Haaaaah, You got it brother William, they do proud of this name not knowing it an insult!!

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            • 20 February 15:42, by Bolman

              @Choli we has different language, in NUER language your name chol mean cooke or penis,but nobody should challenging your culture using name, in NUER Latjor mean very strong in mind and productive man not weakly, my friend mark my words down Malakal will be named Latjor City whether you like or not according to Majority rights, we soon eliminated dinka/cholo number in Malakal to let it minority

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      • 20 February 18:49, by michael coma

        Latjor city.Hahahahahahahahaha.latjor city e meer kun ateptionsm.

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    • 20 February 09:47, by Johndumo14

      Dr Riek got support from Khartoum in 1991Again he is getting support food and guns from Khartoum inorder to kill our people,let us unite to treat Dr Riek and his generals the same we did to Khartoum during our 20yrs struggle.Most of the rebels are from Nuer,only only one tribe,can one tribe defeatCan we sit by us all the 66 tribes of South sudan? Can We justsiby and let this guy distroy us.

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    • 20 February 10:00, by Johndumo14

      The life of Dr Riek Machar is in Danger!Some top rebel commanders are planning to kill Dr Riek,so that they can take over leadership of all rebels units in t Malakal,Bentiu and Bor.Dr Riek is being accused of not a true leader,he simply joined the rebellion because he was dismissed from the post of Vice president.When a Group of srebels tried to kill him ,that is why he ran from betiu to Jongli

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    • 20 February 10:21, by Northern Sudanese

      Correction
      in April 10 2012 South Sudanese army came in hundreds attacked the border post of North Sudanese soldiers which forced them to withdraw. by April 20 2012 after 10 days (less than 2 weeks) SPLA’s asses got kicked out hardly. your president cried in the media about withdrawal when the Northern Sudanese army was inside the oil field lol and you never dared to mention Heglig/panthou again

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    • 20 February 11:36, by Tong dut

      SPLA can not fight, let there boss Kiir brings more uganda forces as he used to do that.
      We are going to fight as Kiir wants it,but let SPLA stop lies.

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    • 20 February 11:44, by Sir King

      The best thing for us to do is to have REPUBLIC OF UPPERNILE STATE, REPUBLIC OF EQUATORIA STATE AND REPUBLIC OF BAHR EL GHAZAL STATE, because we failed to rule ourselves. Salva Kiir would have not appointed James Wani Igga because these Equatorian are not helping anything in his government. He would have appointed another Nuer to replace Dr. Riek Machar.

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  • 20 February 08:37, by siddaw

    I think all the plonkers accentuating segregating retaliations here are running insane. instead of working toward achieving PEACE for the betterment of our nation. U’re here preaching the obscure messages base on the tribal timeline. How would u accept being manipulated by the failed Kiir & Riek yet the nation is still at large?

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  • 20 February 09:48, by Awei-ngok

    Nuers will die soon except the few in the diversified government in Juba. The worst is that their relatives are killed by Riek back home. They will soon be adopting children for themselves. Now I call them to mobilise their few remaining people against Riek otherwise, they will remain with nothing after this pending imminent reprisal attacks on Nuerland!

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  • 20 February 09:51, by Awei-ngok

    Nuers will die soon except the few in the diversified government in Juba. The worst is that their relatives are killed by Riek back home. They will soon be adopting children for themselves. Now I call them to mobilise their few remaining people against Riek otherwise, they will remain with nothing after this pending imminent reprisal attacks on Nuerland!

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    • 20 February 10:43, by Angelo Kumuko

      M7 politely told kirr it is time you go it alone. I care more about my citizen the Ugandan safety. I want to be neutral and help in the negotiation. He left without even taking the cup of coffe that was put in front of him in the state house. And Kirr was crying like a baby. this time wiping his eyes with a towel because no handkerchief can contains his tears.

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      • 20 February 14:54, by jijury

        Breaking News: Confirmed report From Malakal’s attacks over 9000 government troops killed by Rebels.Faloch and Maluoth are overran by the rebels. foreign troops killed by the rebels have 600-1000 South Sudanese pounds in their pockets. We are waiting for Kiir to send more troops!!!

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