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Sudan Tribune

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Rebels claim inflicting heavy losses on Juba forces in Unity state

May 21, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA/NYAL) – Opposition forces loyal to former vice-president, Riek Machar, said they have inflicted heavy losses on troops loyal to the country’s president, Salva Kiir, in Unity state.

Rebel commander Brig General Joseph Gai Gatluak (left) pictured in front of his troops in Upper Nile state's Manyo county in March 2015 (ST)
Rebel commander Brig General Joseph Gai Gatluak (left) pictured in front of his troops in Upper Nile state’s Manyo county in March 2015 (ST)
Heavy fighting erupted on Wednesday and continued on Thursday in Nyal town, administrative headquarters of Panyijiar county in Unity state, near the border with Lakes state in Bahr el Ghazal region.

Rebel leader’s spokesperson in a press statement to the media on Thursday said their forces came under attack but responded with full force and destroyed a battalion sent by the government.

“In southern part of Lich (Unity) state, on Thursday, our forces destroyed a full battalion of soldiers loyal to Salva Kiir when they attacked our positions on Wednesday in Nyal administrative headquarters of Panyijiar county,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said in a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

“Their remnants were repulsed and ran back in disarray,” he said.

In the heavy fighting in Nyal, according to him, rebel troops inflicted heavy losses on government’s forces in terms of human casualties and materials.

The equipment captured or destroyed he said included 3 tanks (T-55) captured in good condition, 2 tanks (T-55) destroyed, 2 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) captured, 1 APC destroyed, 8 big trucks captured in good condition, 2 toyota pick-up mounted with heavy weapons captured and 2 fuel tankers captured.

He added that remnants from the government troops were spotted escaping with only 2 big trucks and 1 fuel tanker towards Lakes state.

MELUT NOT STRATEGIC

The opposition leader’s spokesperson said their forces have withdrawn from Melut town in Upper Nile state since Wednesday because it was no longer strategic after taking all the arsenal from it.

He said they were not defeated in Melut town but decided to leave the town which they captured on Tuesday.

“As we stated on Wednesday, our forces have withdrawn from Melut town. This is because Melut town is no longer strategic to us after we captured it on Tuesday and took all the government’s war arsenal in it,” Dak said.

The South Sudanese army spokesperson Philip Aguer announced in Juba Thursday they recaptured Melut and repulsed the assailant joint rebel force which involved militianment led by Maj Gan Johnson Olony. He further said oilfields were not affected by the fighting.

However, Dak said the opposition forces remained in full control of Tangrial Bil refinery site which they also captured on Monday night.

Also the rebel official added that their fighters on Thursday captured Mangok, another strategic town which is gateway to Adar oilfield.

The opposition forces, he added, have also remained in full control of the oil-rich Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal, which they captured since 16 May, subsequently together with other towns including Doleib hills, Akoka and Kaka.

The East African regional bloc (IGAD) is yet to announce a date for resumption of the peace talks to end the 17-month long civil war.

(ST)