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Sudan Tribune

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Upper Nile governor returns to oil-rich state

May 30, 2015 (JUBA) – The governor of South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, Simon Kun Puoc has returned to the oil-rich region after government troops gained its control from rebels.

Governor Simon Kun Pouch (FILE)
Governor Simon Kun Pouch (FILE)
The state information minister, Peter Hoth Tuach said the governor landed in Paloch, the main oilfield, which presently has heavy military presence.

“The governor returned today [Friday]. He was accompanied by several officials, including the minister of finance and was received on arrival by the deputy governor and number of officials, including myself”, Tuach told Sudan Tribune by phone.

Military confrontations between Pouc’s bodyguards and forces under the command of Johnson Olony, a former government-allied militia leader forced the former to vacate the state capital, Malakal as opposition forces briefly occupied the area a week ago.

Olony was a militia commander between 2010 and 2012, when he fought under the banner of South Sudan Democratic Movement led by late George Athor Deng, who rebelled in protest of the result of 2010 elections in which he contested as an independent candidate for Jonglei state. He later decided with several other militia groups to abandon rebellion in response to the 2012 presidential amnesty.

The governor, Tuach said, will be in Paloch for at least three days while assessing the security situation in the region following recent skirmishes between the warring factions.

“He [governor] will visit the internally displaced persons and hold talks with local communities and commanding officers of our gallant SPLA forces in the area, personally congratulate them on behalf of Upper Nile state government for defeating the rebels and demonstrating strong commitment, allegiance and determination to defend the constitution, resources and citizens of South Sudan from physical threat and harm,” said Tuach.

The United Nations expressed concerns over the serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law have taken place and are ongoing, as fighting intensifies between forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army–In Opposition in Unity and Upper Nile states.

There are 30,410 people at the protection of civilians sites in Malakal, the UN said.