News / Africa

South Sudan Rebels Claim Recapture of Malakal

  • A South Sudan army soldier stands next to a machine gun mounted on a truck in Malakal town, 497km (298 miles) northeast of capital Juba, December 30, 2013 a few days after retaking the town from rebel fighters. Rebel forces said Tuesday, Jan. 14, that they had retaken Malakal after days of clashes with government troops.
  • The city of Malakal rests on the bank of the White Nile River, South Sudan.
  • A pirogue packed with passengers arrives at a dock after crossing a waterway near the town of Malakal, seen from an airplane over South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013. Around 200 people drowned Sunday when a boat carrying them away from the fighting in Malakal sank on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • The battle for Malakal came as representatives for both sides in the South Sudan conflict hold peace talks in Addis Ababa. Members of South Sudan rebel delegation are shown at the opening ceremony of the talks on Jan. 4, 2014.
  • South Sudanese soldiers listen during a briefing at the army general headquarters in Juba, Jan. 8, 2014.
  • Displaced people walk past razor wire at Tomping camp, near Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • A soldier with the Sudan People's Liberation Army - the army of the Republic of South Sudan - is pictured behind a South Sudan flag as he sits on the back of a pick-up truck in Bentiu, Unity state, Jan. 12, 2014.Bentiu was recaptured by government forces on Jan. 10.
  • An ostrich runs through empty streets and past destroyed buildings in Bentiu, Unity state, after government forces on Jan. 10, 2014 retook the town from rebel forces.
  • South Sudanese army soldiers are seen guarding Malakal town, 497km (308 miles) northeast of capital Juba, Dec. 30, 2013 after retaking the town from rebel fighters.
South Sudan Rebels Claim Malakal Recaptured
Lucy Poni
Rebel forces loyal to former South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar recaptured the town of Malakal Tuesday, a spokesman for Machar announced to delegates at talks aimed at ending the violence in the world's newest nation.

“I have just received confirmation from our field commander that the SPLM/SPLA forces under the direct command of Major-General Gathoth Gathkuoth have recaptured the strategic town of Malakal, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state," Brigadier-General Lul Ruai Koang, Machar's military spokesman, said.

"Our forces are still pursuing Salva Kiir’s forces,” Ruai said in Addis Ababa, where the two sides in the month-old conflict are holding peace talks.

Fighting has been raging in and around Malakal since Sunday. Ruai said government troops were likely among some 200 people who drowned when a crowded boat sank as it carried people fleeing the fighting across the White Nile River.

“Government forces were chased, some towards Akoka. Our forces are still pursuing them. Some of them crossed the river. So the people who are said to have drowned in the river, I am sure some of them are government forces,” he said.

Ruai said the general in charge of government troops in Malakal, Johnson Gony Beliu, abandoned his soldiers and fled to Juba with Upper Nile state Governor Simon Kun Pouch.

It was impossible to confirm Ruai's claims with independent sources or with the army.


Rebels vow to keep oil flowing


The capital of Upper Nile state, which produces the bulk of South Sudan's oil, has already changed hands twice since South Sudan was engulfed in unrest last month when an attack by renegade soldiers on an army headquarters in Juba  quickly spread around the country.

Heavy fighting was reported in Malakal on Tuesday morning as the rebel forces launched a final assault on government positions.

Ruai said that recapturing Malakal has given the rebels control of South Sudan’s oil,  which could give them a better bargaining tool at the peace talks in Addis Ababa.

But that was not the reason they launched their offensive on the strategic town, he said.

“We are not doing this so as to strengthen our position at the negotiations.  We are doing this because we have been attacked several times,” he said.

Ruai said the rebel forces will ensure that oil production continues in Upper Nile, which produces around 85 percent of South Sudan's oil, the backbone of the young country's economy.

Before a disagreement with Khartoum led to a production shutdown in January 2012, South Sudan produced half a million barrels of crude a day, accounting for 98 percent of government revenues and about 80 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Revenue Watch Institute.

Reports that Malakal was again in the hands of rebel forces came days after government troops snatched control of  Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, from Machar loyalists.

A women displaced by fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles in the village of Mingkamen on Jan. 14, 2014.A women displaced by fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles in the village of Mingkamen on Jan. 14, 2014.
x
A women displaced by fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles in the village of Mingkamen on Jan. 14, 2014.
A women displaced by fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles in the village of Mingkamen on Jan. 14, 2014.
The two sides are also fighting for control of Bor,  the capital of Jonglei state, which government forces vowed last week to recapture from rebels, who took control of the town early on in the conflict.

The United Nations says well in excess of a thousand people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in four weeks of violence in South Sudan.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ajok balach from: USA
January 17, 2014 12:46 PM
Riek has damages his chance to become a south Sudan president what sisi !

by: YOUNG from: KENYA
January 16, 2014 2:12 PM
Riek, we are behind you. Fight for your people & democracy

by: OK from: Kenya
January 16, 2014 6:48 AM
we need Riek

by: Pidor ttet Duop from: USA
January 15, 2014 12:55 PM
My comment is we do not want dinka to be leader again.

by: Dr young from: Malakal
January 14, 2014 3:34 PM
People of south Sudan keep your force such you defeat them.we are young generation of south Sudan n i believe in kiir but i hate riek machar
In Response

by: Keak Tegn from: Ethiopia
January 16, 2014 1:06 AM
Greetings my fr, and let me tell you one thing which you will never forget,ok.
Dr. Riek the man whom you hated, is as gentle as a lamb! That's why everybody likes Him.
Dr. Machar is Democrat not as Dictator as Mr.Mayardit you live on.
The only one thing which let you to support Mayardit is to be moneys looter like Him.
Kiir's family and tribe is all about corruption:
1. His wife Mary Ayen had stolen monies from Juba in 2012.
2. His tribe Dinka(Jaang) watched after him if intoxicated he would write letter for his tribe to looted monies in a bank.
3. Currently, Mayardit Massacred Naath Nuer tribes in Juba, south sudan claimed that it was a coup.
If this is a coup, why Dr.Riek doesn't kill Dinka civilians and not burned down the captured states?
It is because they are Democracy fighters claimed to alter Dictator president-ship.
I have more to say, but these are enough.
Dean Keak

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs