27 December 2013

South Sudan: Rebels Capture Unity State Oil Wells - New Fighting in Malakal

Rebel forces loyal the former Vice president Dr. Riek Machar have captured most of the oil wells in Unity State, the South Sudan news Agency has been able to independently verify the reports.

The Minister of Petroleum Stephen Dhieu Dau admitted that the rebels have taken control of much of the Unity State oil wells and worry that the defected forces may cause damage to the wells.

"Some oil wells are in the hands of rebel soldiers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar and we fear they may cause damage to the facilities and the environment", Stephen Dhieu told the Reuters News Agency.

New Fighting in Malakal:

Fresh fighting broke out late Thursday in the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile State between the warring forces vying for the control of the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

Malakal was seized by the rebel forces late Tuesday, but, the government denied the claim, saying its forces control half of the city and asserted that the government forces will soon defeat the rebels.

"They control half of the town and government troops control the other half. They will be defeated soon," SPLA Spokesperson Philip Aguer was quoted as saying.

Heavy gunfire was heard in the city center and residents of Malakal are forces to stay in their houses due to the fighting.

The deepening political crisis in the world's youngest country has resulted in the death of civilians in Juba and other parts of the country.

Earlier this week, the United States urges all sides to accept "mediated political talks" so that a peaceful solution can be attained.

Meanwhile, East African leaders intensify their search for a peaceful end to the young nation's deepening political turmoil.

Fighting erupted in South Sudan capital, Juba, on December 15, after disagreement between units of presidential guards. But, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardiit claims that his political adversaries attempted a "coup".

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