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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs