Sept 26, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Latest reports from northern Upper Nile allege that South Sudan government has lost control of many border towns to anti-government forces in the series of fighting that resumed on 16 September and continued to date.
According to Chuol Pal, the Secretary of SPLA (in Opposition) in northern Upper Nile, the government forces attacked their position at Wadakona, to the west of Renk, on 16th September, prompting an all out war in the region.
Pal confirmed that the SPLA-IO forces defeated an advancing government troops back to Renk, capturing 9 towns that include Gangbaar, Dukduk, Jerbaga, Daba, Majak, Chambor, Gospami, among others, in less than 5 days.
“After they shelled our position at Wadokhona, our forces had to fight back in self-defense. We captured nine border towns and our forces continue to push them back to Paloich and Renk” Pal said.
Pal confirms that the forces at Wadokona responded with shelling on 17th September and eventually crossed the Nile to contested areas to the west and north of the major town of Renk.
“Yes, after the shelled our position on 16th, we responded on 17th. On 18th we gave them a strong warning at Dukduk, Gangbaar and Jerbaga. Our forces captured 7 mounted vehicles, ammunition and destroyed their military garrisons which they used to shell our position in these areas” Chuol continue.
“Our forces had to cross the Nile because our intelligent discovered that their chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan visited Renk to plan major offensives on our positions.” Chuol said
Pal believes that the government has evacuated officials that include military generals from Renk county.
“After our forces flashed them out of all the border towns, they gathered in Renk. We shelled them there also. Now we are told they evacuated their Generals from Renk to Juba. These ones [referring to loyal forces] will follow also” Chuol said.
According to South Sudan government, the rebels lost 168 personnel and some were captured in the recent fighting.
Pal explained that his forces felt into ambush on 20th September at Gospami, in which they lost 28 soldiers in the battle. He confirms the report to Nyamilepedia, alleging that he is a living witness of what he describes as a “heavy battle”.
Pal believes that it was one of the heaviest battles they have fought in months. He confirms that government reinforcements that came from Paloich ambushed them on their way to Gospami.
“We avoided Renk because we wanted to capture Halagah first but our comrades became emotional and persuaded us to turn to Renk. We changed the rout to south of Renk and felt into Ambush and lost about 28 comrades” Pal regretting the decision.
Pal confirmed to Nyamilepedia editorial team that himself narrowly escaped, and lost his gun during the ambush but his forces regrouped later and captured Gospami.
“It was a heavy battle. I lost my gun but our forces regrouped and captured Gospani” Chuol confirmed.
The rebels have advanced southwards, in which they captured the towns of Daba, Chambor and Majak, towards Paloich oil fields on Satureday and Sunday.
The opposition reiterated that the rebels have captured 22 mounted vehicles, including tanks, in the series of battle at the border towns.
“We captured 22 vehicles, many ammunition and weapons. Our Brig Gen. Puok is determined to shutdown the oil fields if the government continue to attack our position.” Chuol said.
“ Salva Kiir is not for peace, our people have continued to suffer in the hands of this dictator. If we shut down the oil fields Kiir will leave Juba” Chuol emphasizes.
According to commissioner of Renk County, Hon. Lual Deng Chol, the rebels besieged the towns, occupied by Dinka Abiliang, because there was no army in the areas.
“The rebel fighters knew very well that these are villages which have no police or any military garrison and that they went there intentionally to kill them.” Hon. Lual said.
The commissioner has accused the SPLA-IO forces for killing civilians including government officials in the state
“We lost our Speaker, Hon. Wieu Ayii Kak and Ex-Manager for Ivory Bank, Mr. Ayuel Al-Wad Kuot. The rebels should have not done that,” Lual said.
In the latest reports, NGOs have evacuated their staff to Juba as the war intensified in the region. Medair, an International Humanitarian Aid Agency for Emergency, Relief and Rehabilitation evacuated its staff from Renk county on 23rd and 24th September.
In other reports, the Sudan government has opened borders to allow the South Sudanese to cross the border to Kosti and other towns inside Sudan, however, traveling within Sudan to the capital city, Khartoum, remain a challenge for many South Sudanese, who do have legal documents.
Latest reports from Bahir Dar Ethiopia indicate that the IGAD led peace process has made progresses in the last three days. The parties have agreed on federalism and other reforms packages that will be amended in the permanent constitution.
War broke out in South Sudan in December 2013 following political disputes within the SPLM party. Tens of thousands have died in the conflict, and over 1.3 million people displaced to refugees camps within and outsides the country. Oil production has dropped by more than 30 percent.