Juba — Sources from the South Sudanese rebels have claimed to have recaptured much of the strategic oil-rich town of Malakal on Tuesday morning, adding that the whole state capital will be under their full control in a matter of hours.
The sources further said that Ugandan warplanes have also taken off from Juba, the South Sudanese capital, and launched air attacks against the rebels around the Upper Nile state capital.
"Our positions came under attacks by the government forces outside Malakal this morning and we had to strike back and pushed them back into Malakal. We have now recaptured about 70% of Malakal city and moving on," said a military commander around Malakal who preferred anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the rebels.
Sudan Tribune is yet to independently confirm the rebels' claims.
Toby Lanzer, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan confirmed the outbreak of hostilities in Malakal between the two warring parties.
"All parties engaged in the violence must uphold people's rights and protect non-combatants," he tweeted Tuesday.