South Sudan: Warring Factions Fear Imminent Attacks on Malakal of Upper Nile
Sept 8, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — After six days of heavy battles along the West Bank, a region that has been largely controlled by the armed opposition, South Sudan government fears heavy repercussions on its stronghold of Malakal, the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile state.
Speaking in the national capital, Juba, the Military Spokesman of government troops, Colonel Philip Aguer, reports that the rebels are closing-in from multiple directions
“As per yesterday, the 7th of this month, rebel commanders Mabor Dhol, Tanginye and Johnson Olony have gathered more than 15 hundreds, 1, 500, armaments at the Canal mouth, Khorfulus and in the Western Part of the River Nile west of Malakal town.” Col. Philip Aguer told reporters in Juba, South Sudan.
According to Philip Aguer, the intention of the rebels is to attack and capture Malakal town.
“And the attack will start from the Southern and Norther Part of Malakal town, from the southern side of Malakal that is from the Canal Mouth and Dolep Hill. The forces are under “spiritual commander” Dak Kueth, the Kujur and from the direction of Lalo, Warjuok by Johnson Olony that is targeting to capture Malakal airport” Aguer added.
Aguer also believes that similar preparations are taking place in Unity State to capture Nhialdiu, a town that has exchanged hands more than three times.
According to SPLM/SPLA[IO] and UNMISS reports, government ground troops and Ugandan air-force have been leading major offensives and bombardments on both civilians and rebels bases in Shilluck Kingdom.
Within the last four days, the SPLA-IO military spokesmen in Upper Nile state have issued more than five press briefings calling on Juba and Ugandan governments to respect the Permanent Ceasefire Agreement, a call that was downplayed by the SPLA-Juba military and government spokespersons Col. Philip Aguer and Michael Makuei Lueth.
According to reliable sources from Pangak of Phow State, “SPLA-IO will be forced to re-capture Malakal” to cut off government military supplies that are used to attack civilians in Shilluck Kingdom.
Continued Battles in Wajwok and Lelo
According to Brig. Gen. Nyagwal Ajak Dengkak, the military spokesman of Agwelek Division and advisor to Maj. Gen. Johnson Olony, heavy fighting continued last night, the 7th Sept, in Wajwok and Lelo.
“wajwok village attacked yesterday around 9:30am by kiir regime forces supported by two helicopters gunships and agwelek forces returned fire in self defense.” Brig. Gen. Nyagwal said.
Nyagwal believes that the Agwelek forces did tactical withdrawal from Wajwok to avoid intensive helicopters gunships bombardments on their positions during the day, however, the rebels returned at 8pm and continued the battles until 3Am, after which the government forces were reportedly defeated.
“Last night at around 8:00pm, agwelek forces returned to their position attacking huge spla forces upto 3:00am where fighting stopped and agwelek forces managed to chased out spla forces beyond lelo village with heavy causalities.” Nyagwal said.
The rebels alleged that at least 300 dead bodies of government soldiers are littering Wajwok village.
Latest reports from Lelo confirmed that SPLA-Agwelek forces have withdrawn from Lelo village but government troops have proceeded to Malakal, leaving the area vacant.
“Agwelek forces did tactical withdrawal from lelo to their wajwok base to avoid unnecessary shelling from malakal just opposite to lelo east bank of the nile.” Brigadier Nyagwal said.
Nyagwal further confirms that other than the last night battles, the West Bank is relatively calm this morning as the government troops fear losing Malakal to rebels forces emerging from Dolep-hill, Canal and Khorfulus.
The recent escalations of fighting along the River Nile are believed to have been triggered by a government marine convoy which was dispatched from Juba to Malakal before the signing of peace agreement on 26th August.
Whether the dispatch was coincidental or intended to violate the peace Agreement, the two sides have been involved in intense fighting with either side claiming “self-defense” from the other.
The government has lost some of the barges, gunships, military equipment and troops captured by the rebels from a convoy that is now recalled to Juba.