News / Africa

South Sudan Forces, Rebels Clash in Upper Nile

SPLA soldiers on guard in Bentiu, Unity state, Jan. 12, 2014.
SPLA soldiers on guard in Bentiu, Unity state, Jan. 12, 2014.
VOA News
South Sudan's military is battling rebels in the northern Upper Nile state region on Wednesday, amid international concerns that unrest in the world's newest country could spiral into a full-fledged civil war.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer told VOA fighting continues in the oil town of Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state.

Forces loyal to President Salva Kiir are battling soldiers who back his former deputy, Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July.

On Tuesday, the rebels said they had captured Malakal -- a claim the government denied.

Doctors Without Borders says hundreds of people have been wounded over the past few days from fighting in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states.

In a Wednesday statement, the relief group said it had treated 116 people for gunshot wounds in Malakal and the Upper Nile state community of Nasir.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, on Wednesday, called for unity and said the government forces would prevail.

"The SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) will fight courageously and will defeat the rebels within and outside South Sudan borders," Ateny said. "The government will defeat the rebels forever. His excellency Kiir Mayardit instructed the government to stand ready to defend the nation from internal aggression. He urged all South Sudanese to stand together and see this dark moment through."

Representatives of both sides have been meeting in Ethiopia for talks on a possible cease-fire.

The U.N. says the unrest has left at least 1,000 people dead and more than 400,000 displaced.

In Washington, Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the State Department's African Affairs Bureau urged South Sudan's leaders to seek reconciliation.

"Each day the the conflict continues, the risk of all-out civil war grows and tensions continue to rise," she commented during a congressional hearing. "Let me conclude by saying that I am gravely concerned that the crisis in South Sudan has the potential to escalate even further. South Sudan's leaders on both sides are breaking their promises to their own people."

On Tuesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm at the rising number of people who have been killed or forced from their homes by the conflict.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Canton Jones from: Uk
January 19, 2014 1:26 AM
In 1991 south Sudan had the same fight with that same person and now again.
But we pray for y'all and y'all keep praying too.
At the end of the day we all equal in God's present.
It's only stupid that put themselves above equality God bless ya

by: Anonymous
January 17, 2014 8:29 PM
How will the Kiir regime defeat the rebels when the war is already tribal? The whole situation is now messed up. One side is Dinka, supported by Uganda's junta and Rwanda' juna miliatis with USA complict, as usual winking to let the two East Africa warlords continue with their mischievous ways to get pardon for poor governance, while on the other side you have the Nuer loathed by the Kiir's regime & some other Dinka for their patriotic credentials according to historical events ,compared to Dinka who connived with the British in colonization. So no matter who is to blame for starting the conflict , a better way is to find unity like was for Kenya on the Raila vs Kibaaki struggle that led to an ethnic conflict. The models of Rwanda and Uganda are useless. Rwanda exterminates opponents while Uganda junta does the same or keeps them in terror and persecution in all ways possible. Sso inviting Uganda and Rwanda militias to help, will yield the results that look like DRC East before the UN intervention brigade with perpetual war, no one wants such a bad outcome. UN/AU can do better, Ethiopia and Kenya could be helpful in finding a sensible solution. A battle pitting Nuer vs Dinka with neighbors taking sides to help in the death of innocents is absurd, shameful and must be stopped at once. Obama and Kerry and Ban-Ki moon and others should have better methods at hand than relying on backward autocratic puppet buffoon leaders that terrorize their own people & the region to cling to power.

by: Eng Simon Monyluak Mijok from: juba
January 17, 2014 6:04 AM
Risk has be deciv by width There no different between risk and child of 5 years old.

by: Salah Pitia from: juba
January 16, 2014 10:06 AM
Riek must know that, nuer are fighting s sudan government

by: Peter from: Seward
January 16, 2014 8:39 AM
Ofcourse nuer were targeted from begening of the conflict and for these who blames Riek they did not know what started the problem. Kirr guards tried to disarm nuer soldiers then they refused and took arms against Kirr guards that is the fact about this conflict

by: Kudyang from: Juba
January 16, 2014 4:58 AM
What is happening now is bad and can only be count on Riak who decided to pick up arm. All claims that Nuer are targeted are all falls and baseless. If Riak had not organized his forces what happened within the presidential guards would have been settled simply. why did his forces started shooting in BILFAM? if he did not intent to fight why did he not stop his forces to not fight?

He knows that 1991 history is still fresh in the mind of people and he has created another worst one. He must face justice.


by: jk from: msa
January 16, 2014 2:42 AM
If only the presindet could speak the two mother tongue there would be no war in s.sudan

by: JOSEPH K MUTAI from: kerich kenya
January 16, 2014 1:38 AM
The south sudan has democratic government and Machar should wait for next general election where he can finally fight with Presi dent Kiir through ballot box. Shame on Machar .He should be prosicuted for war crime at Hague.
In Response

by: mahamed from: mogdisho
January 16, 2014 12:43 PM
brothers and sisters of south sudan please stop civil war

by: Ori onii from: Kampala
January 16, 2014 12:53 AM
The first thing our adamant politicians(Kiir & Rak)have no appetitie to come into compromise bcoz they like o remain in the throne n casless about he suffering, killings, hoplessness of S. Sudanese who have lost trust of them. Our leaders can not see practical examples from Nyerere, Mansela and many others who did only of their people than theirself interest. What is the reasons of giving conditions after conditions to resolve the miscalculations of simple mathematics in order to cling on power: nine years+ is not enough with all these accumulated wealth of our blood? Alas, let them to prepare themselves to join Mr.Charles Taylor, and friends from Boznia etc.

by: Kakueng from: Nairobi
January 15, 2014 10:54 PM
In my opinion, the international community should come up with the policy to avoid dragging of country civil war.
Six months interim govt which represent both warring party is possible
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