News / Africa

Opposition Forces Capture Parts of South Sudan Oil Town

Women carry the body of a civilian killed in the center of Malakal, Upper Nile State in South Sudan, Jan. 21, 2014. The town erupted in violence again Tuesday.
Women carry the body of a civilian killed in the center of Malakal, Upper Nile State in South Sudan, Jan. 21, 2014. The town erupted in violence again Tuesday.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
— South Sudanese opposition forces have pushed into the center of Malakal, the capital of the county's main oil producing state, and taken control of parts of the town after fresh fighting erupted there early Tuesday, officials told VOA.

“At the moment the force that attacked from the eastern part managed to have some pockets that penetrated into the center of the town," army spokesman Philip Aguer said, adding that the anti-govenrment forces had started the fighting by launching a three-pronged attack on Malakal.

The army, or SPLA, was in control of the southern and northern sectors of the town, Aguer said.

Staff open the doors of the morgue at the teaching hospital to add another body to the 24 already there, 20 of whom were killed from violence according to the staff, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014Staff open the doors of the morgue at the teaching hospital to add another body to the 24 already there, 20 of whom were killed from violence according to the staff, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
x
Staff open the doors of the morgue at the teaching hospital to add another body to the 24 already there, 20 of whom were killed from violence according to the staff, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
Staff open the doors of the morgue at the teaching hospital to add another body to the 24 already there, 20 of whom were killed from violence according to the staff, in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
Although no casualty figures were available from the latest unrest in the town, global non-profit International Medical Corps said its personnel have treated more than 100 people wounded in the fighting.

The NGO's program manager in Malakal said the new fighting is causing tensions among civilians to spiral.

"Even inside the U.N. camp we have
seen tensions begin to rise and we have seen fights break out between groups within the IDP camps," she said in a statement.

The United Nations reported that some of the fighting in Malakal took place near the U.N. base in the town, where some 37,000 displaced people have sought shelter from fighting that first broke out in December. There were no immediate reports of casualties on the U.N. base.

A woman and her children sit in their makeshift shelter at the U.N. compound in Malakal, where some 37,000 have sought shelter.A woman and her children sit in their makeshift shelter at the U.N. compound in Malakal, where some 37,000 have sought shelter.
x
A woman and her children sit in their makeshift shelter at the U.N. compound in Malakal, where some 37,000 have sought shelter.
A woman and her children sit in their makeshift shelter at the U.N. compound in Malakal, where some 37,000 have sought shelter.
​Grace Cahill, the South Sudan spokeswoman for international aid organization, Oxfam, said the fighting in Malakal caused Oxfam to interrupt relief work at the U.N. base. 

"We have to look for a way in the coming days that we can go back to work," Cahill said.

"All these incidents of fighting across the whole country make our humanitarian work incredibly difficult, and it has a huge impact on the displaced people that we are trying to help,” she said.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and some 870,000 others have been driven from their homes since fighting erupted in South Sudan.


Not the first ceasefire breach


As the capital of the state that produces around 85 percent of South Sudan's oil, Malakal has been a key battleground in the fighting that started in Juba in mid-December and quickly spread around the country.

Oil production has continued in Upper Nile during the conflict, but with production cut off in the other oil state, Unity, overall crude output in South Sudan has fallen.

The fighting in Malakal was the latest breach of a ceasefire agreed to at the end of last month. Fighting erupted near Malakal last week,  just as pro- and anti-government sides were beginning a second round of peace talks in Addis Ababa. Aid groups have also reported heavy fighting in Unity state.

Two sides swap blame for new clashes


The government blamed those clashes and the latest unrest in the heart of Malakal on anti-government forces.

But just as he did last week, opposition spokesman Lul Ruai Koang laid the blame for the clashes with the government, saying opposition forces were merely defending themselves after the SPLA attacked their positions.

“We are not trying to regain control," Koang said. 

"We had actually been in partial control of Malakal. What had been a problem was that they had been attacking us... harassing civilians and stealing their property and food," he said.

The fighting violates a cessation of hostilities agreement signed by both sides last month. It was not immediately clear if the latest clashes will impact the peace talks in Addis Ababa.


Are rebels getting help?


Aguer speculated that the opposition forces are getting help from an outside source that has been delivering supplies and munitions in rebel-held areas.

"After the SPLA controlled Gadiang (in Jonglei state), there was a lot of evidence that there has been a plane landing, plane dropping ammunitions. Whose plane, we don’t know. Where did they come from? We do not know. That is a subject of investigation," he said.

"The same thing when we captured Bentiu," in Unity state, Aguer added.

"There were six trucks that were loaded with food and ammunitions. Where did they come from? We do not know,” he said, giving no evidence to back up his allegations.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny speculated that a government that is angered by Uganda’s military involvement in the South Sudanese conflict could be providing the aid to the opposition forces, but did not name any specific government.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid