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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid