Over 50 killed near South Sudan oil-rich town: army

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October 16, 2016 (MALAKAL) – Intense fighting between South Sudan’s rival
factions around the Upper Nile state capital, claimed about 56 lives, the
army spokesperson, Lul Ruai Koang said Sunday.

SPLA soldiers sit at the back of a pick-up truck in Malakal, Upper Nile
state January 12, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

The clashes, he said, occurred over the weekend as the armed opposition
forces attempted to gain control of the strategic town.Koang claimed a
separate rebel attack on a government post was successfully thwarted by
pro-government forces in Malakal Friday.

"Our forces were able to successfully drive them back with heavy
casualties. Over 56 rebels were killed," he toldReuters.

The official rebel spokesperson was not immediately available for a comment.

South Sudan’s rival factions traded accusations over clashes in their
respective positions, raising doubts on the implementation of last year’s
peace agreement, which ended over 20 months of conflict.

The rebels, in a statement, claimed their position in the west bank of
Malakal was attacked at about 6:00pm by pro-government forces.“Today
evening at 6pm, our military positions near Wajwok and Lalo villages had
been attacked by SPLA forces stationed in respective locations mentioned
and heavy fighting is going on right now”, said Brig. Gen. Nyagwal Ajak
Dengkak in a statement.

He blamed the attack on government forces, further claiming that
pro-government forces had deployed helicopter gunships to Malakal town with
the view to reinforce ground forces with air cover should their forces
attempt to move on the oil-rich town.

Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the rebel’s claims.South
Sudan descended into war in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir
accused his former deputy Riek Machar of a coup attempt. Tens of thousands
of people have died and millions have displaced in the country’s worst-ever


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