Home | News    Wednesday 19 March 2014

South Sudan army recaptures Upper Nile capital from rebels


March 19, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) announced Wednesday that it had recaptured Malakal town, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state, one month after it had fallen into rebel hands on 18 February.

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Soldiers from the South Sudan army (SPLA) patrol the streets in the Upper Nile state capital, Malakal, on 21 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Charles Lomodong)

The fighting erupted after rebel forces apparently attempted to expand their positions outside the capital.

“The rebels of [former vice-president] Riek Machar moved out of Malakal town and attacked the positions of our forces in Makal Shilluk, pushing them (government soldiers) to respond in self-defence during which they managed to push [the rebels] back to Malakal town, which they eventually deserted,” SPLA spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer, spokesperson told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

He said that the army took the full control of the town about 4.30pm (local time), adding that SPLA troops are pursuing the rebel forces beyond Anakiar and eastern parts of Malakal “where they fled in disarray”.

Aguer said the army had also repulsed another rebel attack in Guel Guk, west of the Adar oil field.

Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, has also confirmed that government troops are in control of the town, saying rebel forces had temporarily pulled back from Malakal.

“Yes, our forces have withdrawn from Malakal for tactical reasons. We will, however, retake the town soon. Our resistance forces are only a few kilometres outside Malakal,” he told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.


Upper Nile State minister of information Philip Jiben Ogal confirmed the military takeover of Malakal from rebel forces, which comes just 24 hours before the resumption of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, saying the news had been welcomed by the civilian population.

“This is not simply a military victory, but a big relief to the civil population, especially our people who have been under trees and in the open space in many places. You can now hear people of Bailiet dancing,” Ogal told Sudan Tribune, amid noisy background celebrations.

Gordon Buay, spokesperson for former rebel groups now allied to the government in Juba, said he had spoken to the overall operational commander of SPLA forces in the area after Malakal was retaken.

“Our gallant forces, SPLA, have captured Malakal today (Wednesday). The rebels are on the run. I congratulate Lt. General Johnson Gony Biliew,” said Buay.

Meanwhile in Juba, news broadcasts on South Sudan’s radio and television networks led with the recapture of Malakal town by government troops.

The army spokesperson told Sudan Tribune that further details on the situation in Malakal would be made available on Thursday.

“Our forces are still pursuing the rebels, so we do not have full details now, but shall make them available tomorrow when [we] shall have gathered full details,” said Aguer.


In a statement from New York, UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had reported fighting in Malakal between the SPLA and rebel forces in the vicinity of its compound Wednesday afternoon (local time).

“Two rounds of mortar fire also landed close to the mission compound, where some 22,000 displaced civilians are under the UN’s protection,” he said.

He also said that heavy shelling had been reported in areas between Malakal town and the mission’s premises, with UNMISS forces also witnessing troop and tank movements towards the town earlier on Wednesday.

Haq said the warring parties had also clashed on Tuesday in Akoka, located north of Malakal.

He concluded his statement by calling on the two sides to fully comply with a cessation of hostilities agreement signed on 23 January, and to ensure a swift establishment of the monitoring and verification mechanism.

Malakal has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent months, changing hands several times since political tensions erupted in violence in Juba in mid-December before spreading to other parts of the country.

There have been increasing reports of atrocities to emerge from the northern town.

Last month, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said it appeared patients had been shot dead in their beds after healthcare facilities were targeted in attacks.

On a visit to the capital last month the UN’s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, also spoke of his shock at the scale of destruction in the town and seeing corpses left to rot in the streets.

The conflict in South Sudan has pitted troops loyal to the central government and rebel forces aligned with Machar, who was removed as vice-president in July last year.

The ceasefire deal negotiated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has failed to stem violence on the ground, with both sides accusing each other of violating the terms of the agreement.


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  • 19 March 2014 21:56, by George Bol

    Riek machar must surrender to SPLA,so that we forgive him like in 2002. I am glad the Nuer threat is alway zero.This conflict will teach Nuer to be a good people. That will not make them to fight first without analysis. Their children and wives are starving to death in Kenya, Uganda and camps

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    • 19 March 2014 22:10, by Snipper

      George Bol!
      This possessed community will not learn! The spent all their time in Khartoum’s suburb and militiaing around and helped arab to mine the oil at expense of south sudanese and now they sound as if they had done anything for these country! Stupid tribe that never learn. Dinka are peace lovers but nuer appear delusional and always tempted to seek rewards from devil.

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    • 19 March 2014 23:23, by Nyesi Ta

      This r the naked people who r dressed up in clothes, but yet remain naked in their brain. You tell people the war is not b/n Dinka & Nuer, but u still contradict ur self by talking shit, when u r the very people practicing tribalism. Do u mean to say Gen. Gony, Lt. Gen. James Hoth and others r Dinka. Plse. dress up ur brain than to dress up ur long ashy naked butt Idiot.

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      • 20 March 2014 05:36, by Ahmed Chol

        This is tough!

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      • 20 March 2014 06:20, by Lotodo Awino Odug

        Malakal is a done deal, our next targets will be rebels’ homelands.

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      • 20 March 2014 13:06, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

        One wonders who is gaining in this? To me South Sudan is the looser!! From whom is Malakal captured and under whose custody is it going to be under? The people of South Sudan is loosing its citizens daily for no sound reasons apart from selfishness and greed.

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    • 20 March 2014 05:39, by Johndumo14

      Dr Riek Riek has,forgotten and underestimate the power of SPLA the gov.troops.
      Now the SPLA must follow them up to Nassir,Akobo and pibor ,these Counties must be brougt under gov.control ,so the civilians in these counties can start farming and children can go to school.
      Conguratulations TO SPLA ,Teach Dt Riek and his village White army a lesseon they will not forget!!

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      • 20 March 2014 06:10, by Mi diit

        The coward Dinka pretenders lie that they do the practical fighting against the Nuer yet the truth is that the Nuer of Gen. Gony Belieu, Gen Hoth Mai, Gen Bapiny, JEM, SPLA-N, Uganda army, other tribes are the ones fighting for them while they drink beer and continue to loot the country’s resources in Juba and elsewhere. Shame on the coward liars and pretenders. Soon you will remain naked!

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        • 20 March 2014 06:35, by George Bol

          Midiit and Kik Deng,
          Didn’t I told you that never step on Salva kiir tail. I have cautioned you but you down play the reality. NOw, the next target is Nasir and after that Nuer will start surrendering crazy like flies.We Jieng do not killed friends and capable leaders other few nuer leaders with us would have gone if that is a nuer kingdom. War with Nuer will take 35 years after this war.Fact!

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        • 20 March 2014 09:00, by mathem jech amer

          Mi diit
          Gen Hoth Gatmai is the first drunkard in Juba, tell me which war has he ever went to? Rather than drinking and pretending to be chief of staff, does he has any soldiers fighting in fronline except himslef?

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        • 20 March 2014 11:17, by machar

          mi Diit please do not talk about Gen.james Hoth mai,Gen.Johnson and gen.Bapieg monytuil,
          the first drunkard in Juba capital is James who pretended of being the chief of general staff of the spla/splm your Nuer are just a leaders for self mouth survival since their being in the movement all the time shame of Nuer naked ;manguka;

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      • 20 March 2014 08:46, by ngadodo

        Johndumo14,don’t be happy with powers of forgeins posts, Pibor it’s not County of DR Reik Machar, if you go up to Murle Land, it’s would be others broken peace talk with somebody overs. also in Murle cultures if somebody taking refugees in the land, you can follows to that place which he/she hidden to, it’s would be different subjects.

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    • 20 March 2014 05:47, by Johndumo14

      All civilians are advised to leave these Towns-Nasir.Akobo and pibor to avoid cross fire,all the Nuer living in these areas must cross to Ethiopia for your own safty.

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    • 20 March 2014 06:07, by Johndumo14

      The Nuer tribe will pay a high Price for this war!!The Rebel leader Riek Mqachar is a Nuer ,the White army are from Nuer,General peter gadet is from Nuer,top South Sudan army commander James Koang Chuol based iBENTIU is a Nuer,most of th rebels solsiers are from Nuer.Where we go from here? Is this nationalism or tribolism?Africa must ruled in this way? Dr Riek is very dangerous guy !!

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      • 20 March 2014 07:39, by Bentiu son

        Johnwhisky,stop spreading pure lies and false allegations as your thievery uncles,dads,mums and Dinka Youths do at SSTV. Yes.Nuer warriors are leading this rebellion as they did during the colonial periods( 1821-1955) Nuer Resistance Movement,Anya Anya One( 1955-1972),Anya Anya Two(1975-1983) and SPLA( 1983-2005)where the first 4 battalions 104,105,Tiger and Timsa were all mostly from Nuer boys.

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        • 20 March 2014 07:54, by Bentiu son

          Dinka boys,do not dance yet as your poor culture allows you to dance before you achieve the goal.We have reached the gear of No u-turn idiots with your genocidal regime under your whisk President Kiir Kuethpiny Lual- a Jurchol bred turned Dinka Rek of Warap State.Captured Malakal is not the end of this feudal tribal war u had waged against Nuer Nation, we are coming soon to ur end forsure cowards.

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        • 20 March 2014 10:38, by machar

          you Bentiu son nuer was not the first during the joining of the movement strategy this were Dinkas from the Beginning started with Jamus Battalion and later on tiger timsa.therefore,tiger and timsa Battalions defected at the same time during the military operation in pachalla area in 1983-1984 Between.so to be sincere Dinkas were the people who has started the liberation of the sudan since 1821 no

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    • 20 March 2014 07:24, by mathem jech amer

      Since most of these rebels went to bush to get rich, it is better for them to come back now and use the looted money in the banks accross Nuer areas to rebuild the destroyed towns and buy more cows rather than going and loot Dinka and Murle cows again.

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    • 20 March 2014 08:37, by Son of Ngundeng

      Dear All.
      Its not easy to the Nuer warrior to surrender, that was a dream that can never come true, Our forces are fighting with three countries out of tribes, only one community captured three states within three week, does why your sound let it make sense this war it is between Nuer and Campala + Darfur+ South Kordufan + Blue Nile + 62 Tribes of South Sudan Agains one tribes, Shame on you Dinka.

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      • 20 March 2014 08:56, by mathem jech amer

        Son of Ngundeng
        It is just fighting between Dinka and Nuer,don’t add any other people. Please continue fighting to fulfil your father prophecy.

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    • 20 March 2014 09:16, by Johndumo14

      Colonel Philip Aguer how can the civilians returne to malakal town when the rebels said they will come back soon?
      Unless the gov. troops take over rebels strong hold Nasir for sure they rebels will regroup and come back to kill and loot,this time Salva kiir must not make a mistake,malakal is not (Midan kura)foofball camp.Plse President Salva Kiir,People of malakal needs protection&peace

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    • 20 March 2014 09:26, by Johndumo14

      THE BIG QUESTION-Malakal has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent months, changing hands several times since political tensions erupted in in Juba in mid-December.WHAT is behind the news that the gov.troops easily overrun by the rebels in these Towns three times? How will the South sudanese trust the gov.that his tropps can protect their lives and their properties from now and in the future?

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    • 20 March 2014 11:01, by machar

      George Bol Riek must surrender because the strategy plan made by Nuer is like Devil made planning strategy,they just wake up in the Night and though-out of taking action against Dinka with out reason and why do they fight Dinka for what purposes.1991 was the year that riek inter defected from the spla to form his own movement under theme of spla united with Dr.lam akol please Blind riek come home

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    • 20 March 2014 12:52, by Johndumo14

      People of South sudan are realy very very sorry for people of malakal!!The gov.troops and rebels have exchanged malakal 3 times now!!
      The civilians lost lives and properties-Dr Riek is distroying the local civilians daily lives,they have to start from zero-

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  • 19 March 2014 22:01, by Snipper

    Nuers will finish very soon because of blind war run by one tribe. Bor, Malakal and Bentiu death combined will see Nuers reducing in number very soon. Stupid people who don’t understand they needs of south sudanese but their own needs only.Will see how they will benefit in this war!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 19 March 2014 22:17, by william

    Spla oyeeee! Thank for flashing out the rebel go ahead up to nassir. Triator risk must go to Poland with his third concubine called hilde Johnson. Midit will tries business instead of supporting dead whores.

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    • 20 March 2014 06:21, by michael coma

      Soon you will here news about Nassir.US,UK and Norway have abardoned Riek Machar and joined Kiir as what they went is on process to their pockets.

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      • 20 March 2014 08:28, by michael coma

        Soon you will hear news for capturing Nassir.SPLA are advancing to Riek’s base.No peace without discipline.

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  • 19 March 2014 22:27, by San Manyuon

    Before I put across my opinion of the article, I would like to say to my colleagues George and Sniper that please refrain yourselves from such comments. It would be wise to not mention the rebels by their alliance tribe. Yes most or all of them are from Nuer, but you could also see a lot of Nuer fighting against those rebels. This conflict have been preached wrongly. It’s gov’t vs rebels.

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  • 19 March 2014 22:29, by william

    Those are reporting from un base are lying that it was tactical withdrawal Haas! What a joke? Mind your dirty denial will serve no good at all.but the mighty spla is doing job well done.can you tacticfully withdraw from nassir before annehilating your greedy forces? What a stupid traitors?

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  • 19 March 2014 23:29, by Kim Deng

    Taking Malakal town (Latjor City) is not the end of dirty war, which means this war will take many years, and it’s a matter of time before the Mighty Nuer Warriors reclaim Latjor City, Ngundeng City, and Bentiu town. I wonder how these sell-out Nuer soldiers (Gony, Hoth, Gatwech, Buay...) feel about their own people who were sluaghtered in Juba by Mr. Slava’s disciples.

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  • 19 March 2014 23:36, by Kim Deng

    This diry war, which was imposed on Nuer nation is just only three months only. The 1991 lasted for more than a decade, which means if the sell-out Nuer soldiers and their allies hold their ground, at least it will take 5-10 years.

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    • 20 March 2014 08:42, by moto

      KIM DENG,

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  • 19 March 2014 23:56, by San Manyuon

    Whether we call it tactical withdrawal or gov’t victory, I am thinking that it will create a window for this rebels to rethink and eventually giving individuals an opt to lay down arms, join the gov’t and bring end to this regrettable bloodshed. Fellow citizens, democracy is not perfect, but it’s the best way to kick out those selfish and corrupt leaders. It’s citizens’ victory, not gov’t.

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  • 20 March 2014 00:32, by Peter Puoch Ruot

    Read this to all Jangs/Dinkas who are feel with the joy of recpatured Malakal...Freedom fighters oyeee!

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    • 20 March 2014 01:07, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

      I am glad the thugs have been driven out of my Town of Makal. It will give a fresh air for my people that have been suffering in the bushes wandering in Padang North forest. This is the start for now and next will be Akobe,Maiwut,Kuaclualthon and Wutlang. All rebel should be driver out of South to the North where they are getting supplies of weapons there.
      SPLA mother waaoyeee!
      SPLA mother waaoyee

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  • 20 March 2014 04:56, by hellonearth

    Any responsible person who say to hell with this murderous and tribalistic government of Salva Kiir. We will never see peace as long as the drunk idiotic and foolish person we have as a president. Death to him and he likes

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    • 20 March 2014 06:32, by Gangura

      We have made techanical withdrawal so let Philip Aguer not celebrate becoz it is matter of time. we have another mission somewhere we want for it. I am talking of behaf of Dr. Machar whom we stay together here in Jongle bush.
      Maj Gangura

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  • 20 March 2014 06:47, by Jalaby

    As I said before, this is Tom & Jerry game therefore don’t feel so much excited Dinka!
    You know, the war is back and forth, in and out, you might win the battle but never the war because the war is not yet over Dinka!
    Kindly be informed that Nuer troops will soon recapture Malakal again although it becomes useless and ghost city!

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    • 20 March 2014 07:00, by Jalaby

      As I said it before, any Nuer rebel can never succeed unless Khartoum stands behind it!
      Machar troops were not defeated in Malakal but they tactically withdrew from Malakal after they ran out of ammunition and fuel, and if Khartoum remains neutral as it does now and reuse to support them then Nuer rebel cannot succeed!!

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      • 20 March 2014 07:25, by Jalaby

        Juba is now using Darfourian gangsters (JEM) openly in its war against Nuer rebel!
        Juba has given JEM around 20 tanks and huge weapons in Jonglei in order to fight with them Nuer rebel,Shame on you Dinka,why hiring mercenaries?you said you’re brave warriors then where are your warriors?
        You should stop hiring JEM right now or we will support Nuer rebel

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        • 20 March 2014 07:39, by Jalaby

          Darfourian gangsters that hired by Juba regime to fight Nuer rebel on behalf of them, shame on you Dinka!

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          • 20 March 2014 07:44, by Jalaby

            They also hired idiot Ugandan president Museveni to fight Nuer rebel, they don’t mind to hire mercenaries from everywhere, what a shameful?!

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            • 20 March 2014 13:29, by Kalo

              Jalaby leave the South Sudan alone,if you are interesting of supporting Machar,why did you sung alot of song,Just support him,Riek was in Khartoum in 1990s,so called Khartoum agreement but NCP failed to support him,he /she beaten twice shy,Just prove with evident show JEM and SPLM/N are supporting Kiir.

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        • 20 March 2014 08:00, by maluach madit

          Not until today when I realised how ms Jalaby reacts over the retaken of Malakal by SPLA soldiers. Your reaction proved that your head is nuer and your tail is Arab. Please think once, either you join rebel riek fully or you go back to Khartoum. Dr Machar Dhurgon is good for laugh, but bad for decision, because his thought are very Ngundengishly. Sir Mohamed, Dinka Bahrelgazel has never agreed

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          • 20 March 2014 08:01, by maluach madit

            the war because of 5 reasons.1) It will makes genocide as the brave Gazels never easily stop the running enemies..2) They say Malakal is not their state, so let Nuer come to our states if they are men.3) some of the nuer were/still are our strengths through intermarriages and security of the country the years ago and the years to come.4) secret and 5) what the hell shall I tell you all about it?

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        • 20 March 2014 08:50, by mathem jech amer

          JEM is not there to fight on behave of South Sudan, so wrong attitudes won’t help you. JEM is struggling to remove stupid dictator called Bashir, how come you claim to be fighting rebels in South sudan, in case they abandoned rebellion in the north and join South, then don’t call them Darfurians, call them Junuubiin.

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  • 20 March 2014 15:59, by Kim Deng

    The Mighty Nuer Warriors are now dancing in Malakal (Latjor City) after coward Jaang/Slaves stayed in the town for less than 24 hrs.
    Shame on coward Jaang/Slaves!

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    • 20 March 2014 16:21, by Konan

      I congratulate brave Nuer fighters for recapturing Malakal town and driving away coward and food lover Dinka/slaves and their allies M7 HIV soldiers + JEM mercenaries. LOl

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  • 21 March 2014 03:08, by Altruistic

    SPLA Oyeee!

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