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.
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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid