Home | News    Monday 18 May 2015

South Sudanese rebels shoot down helicopter gunship


May 17, 2015 (JUBA/ADDIS ABABA) – Opposition forces led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, said they have shot down a helicopter gunship on Sunday which tried to bomb their forces that control the Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal. South Sudan army also admitted that the rebels have captured Malakal, but vowed to retake it “within days.”

An Ugandan attack helicopter crashed on Mount Kenya on Monday 13 Aug 2012. (Photo Reuters)

In a statement to the media on Sunday, Machar’s spokesperson said the rebels destroyed the helicopter gunship on Sunday afternoon.

“Our gallant forces shot down a helicopter gunship on Sunday which came to bomb our troops that have controlled Malakal town since Saturday,” Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

“It was downed at 4:10pm by our forces under the overall command of Major General Johnson Olony,” he said.

Dak said the destroyed gunship was identified as belonging to the Ugandan air force, adding that the picture of its wreckages will be availed to the public any time soon.

The rebel leader’s spokesperson also said their forces also captured Akoka late Saturday, another previously government-held town, north of Malakal. Akoka had been a government’s strong-hold which is closer to the main oilfields of Paloich. Its capture by the rebel forces poses a direct threat to the oilfields in the state.

Dak said a joint force of the opposition forces and the defected force under the command of General Olony have remained in full control of the state capital, in addition to other recently captured towns including Anakdiar and Kodok.

The rebel’s spokesperson further added that hundreds of government’s troops from various locations in the state also defected to the rebel group in the last two days following the capture of Malakal.

The rebel group also said to have captured from the defeated government troops on Saturday 7 tanks and 5 trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.


South Sudan army (SPLA) has admitted that the rebel group captured Malakal on Saturday and are in full control of the town, despite previous denial.

South Sudanese army’s chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan, while addressing soldiers on Saturday at the military headquarters in Bilpam, admitted that Malakal had fallen under the control of the rebel forces but said he was working to retake it soon.

In his speech broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV), the top army chief told the troops in the capital, Juba, not to be demoralized by the capture of Malakal by the rebels, assuring that the army will recapture it.

“I have a confidence in you [pro government forces] that Malakal will be under our complete control soon. And I want to assure the public through this address not to worry about it and to tell them that it [Malakal] will be in our complete control within day,” General Awan said, generating applauds and singing of war songs.

The loss of the strategic capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile state to the rebels coincided with day the historical movement and army (SPLM/SPLA) was formed on 16 May in 1983, which the army commemorated amidst defeat, but the chief of general staff congratulated his troops for the day.

"I want to congratulate you on this day, because without you, there would have been no an independent country called republic of South Sudan. This country has claimed a lot and we will not allow anybody to mess with what we have achieved with the blood of our people,” he said.

Military sources also said six officers including a Colonel were killed in Malakal on Saturday when the rebels stormed the town and captured it.

Colonel Philip Aguer, who on Saturday denied having lost Malakal to the rebels, blamed General Olony for establishing contacts with the opposition forces led by former vice president, Riek Machar, while negotiations were ongoing to bring him to Juba.

“While the government and political leadership was in negotiations with Johnson Olony to come to Juba, he was already in contacts with Sudan and the rebels of Riek Machar,” Aguer said.

“He was talking with Taban Deng Gai, Gabriel Tanginye and Khartoum had lifted their wounded soldiers from recent clashes in Malakal. We have credible information and reports that the rebels of Riek Machar have acquired heavy weapons and military equipment from Sudan, including tanks and multiple rocket launchers. This is unacceptable," the military spokesperson further lamented.

However, Mabior Garang de Mabior, SPLM-IO chairperson for information and public relations committee in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune dismissed the accusations that both the opposition group and General Olony’s soldiers were joining ranks and file in order to collaborate with Khartoum.

Government previously used the militia from the Shilluk ethnic group under the command of General Olony which they armed to fight against the rebel group dominated by fighters from the Nuer community.

The allies turned enemies when Olony’s deputy in command was killed by pro-government forces under unclear circumstances over tribal land disputes between Shilluk and Dinka ethnic groups.

General Olony’s defection to the rebel group became clear on Friday although the two groups had been in contact since late April.


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  • 17 May 2015 22:06, by Eastern

    This is yet another costly encounter and other similar encounters are yet to be witnessed in the course of time.

    repondre message

    • 17 May 2015 22:36, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      That is incorrect statement passed by rebels regarding, military chopper shot down.
      rebels didn’t managed to down the helicopter, it is a just propaganda as usual.
      the six hours shelling by both warriors didn’t resulted of heavy loss as rebels claimed. they have captured the town of Malakal in the last one day but SPLA government will soon take from #Foke person of Johnson Ulony.

      repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 01:40, by Mr Point

        Kiir’s war against reformers is not going well.
        Since independence the people of South Sudan have suffered from a corrupt government, food insecurity affecting 38% of the people, a civil war that has displaced hundreds of thousands and massacres carried out by government militia.

        A military solution is not possible. The broken economy will bring a change of leadership before long.

        repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 04:49, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

        It’s already known as a war of destruction. Malakal today is under rebels’ control but tomorrow it will be for govt. It’s not true that helicopter is downed but missed. Why shd we lie to public. People will after this war say if we knew, we’d not have done so.

        repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 07:15, by Son of Ngundeng

        Dear Dinka:
        Please try one day to convince, we shoot down this gunship with your weapons that you brought from China, for killing the owners of the oil within rich state.
        But there is an example, when you dig an hold to your brother you will be the one would fall on it at the end.

        Son of Ngundeng
        currently in front line
        Malakal Getta Jenubi.

        repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 08:06, by Kumbo

        You ignorance why doubting the fact that the gunship was gun down by opposition force in malakal even your master Uganda have admitted that the SPLA gunship was guned down in malakal.
        read it in chimpreports.com it is a ugandan website


        repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 09:38, by Kiir

        If you don’t believe that Ugandan Helicopter had been shot down by rebel, ask your tribal leader wife of M7 Nyankiir, she will explain to you in Dinka.

        repondre message

  • 17 May 2015 22:31, by Kim Deng

    It’s a matter of time before Ugandan army evacuate this Jungle (Dinka Kingdom).

    repondre message

    • 17 May 2015 22:38, by Force 1

      you have a wrong picture; are you telling us that no one has a cellphone to take the right picture of the helicopter that was shotdown in Malakal if you truly shotdown any helicopter? If no has a cellphone to take the true picture then no one would believe it that you shotdown anything.

      repondre message

      • 18 May 2015 03:51, by Hardlinner

        Force 1 u are just wasting your time responding to the claim. u know vividly that the thug rebels of riek are only good at lying to the media. All I know is malakal was already in control of olony since he first started attacking. While talking were going on, olony was already reinforcing his forces with riek militias. So what happened was just declaration of his defection along with malakal town.

        repondre message

  • 17 May 2015 22:34, by Force 1

    If you guys shot this helicopter down; then try to put the right picture online this picture you have here is a wrong picture. That helicopter was shotdown in 2012 near mountain Kenya. Look at the date underneath the picture if you want to dispute it.

    repondre message

  • 17 May 2015 22:49, by Kim Deng

    Jang (Force 1),

    re-read the artilce again until you digest what what was said before you come to that cheap conclusion.

    repondre message

    • 17 May 2015 23:49, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      The is downed, Dr Jhok Madut Jhok had posed photos of the wreakage, I don’t know where he was at the time? maybe he was doing spider man stunts at the site of incident.

      repondre message

  • 18 May 2015 03:42, by Hardlinner

    Malakal was already controlled by olony since shooting began a month ago. It is just matter of time and the government will retake it just like they did in the past. I now urge all the dinka militias that killed olony duty to take centre stage on capturing malakal. It was their mistake to kill an ally commander the let to this mess. The must now be recruited to fix their mess.

    repondre message

    • 18 May 2015 07:47, by Padiet Deng Alony


      we Padang Dinka of Akoka, Maluth, Renk and Baliet already have soldiers on ground. the mistake is not the olony deputy who was killed but the mistake that he was armed up to teeth that is why he become stubborn and now want to use these weapon against Padang Dinka.

      repondre message

  • 18 May 2015 05:53, by mass

    This conflict in southern Sudan will persist as long as Salva Kirr and his inner circle continue to preside over the young nation’s affairs. anyone with sound mind ,who has been following the conflict in south Sudan meticulously can testify the truth that anything that comes out of the mouth ofsalva’s regime is bogus therefore am not a supporter of someone who attacks democracy,but who fights for

    repondre message

  • 18 May 2015 07:36, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Akobo, in is under fire this morning as government forces pursuing the rebels to Pagak, the strong hold to Dr. Machar,
    the SPLA-IO, forces experienced many lost as six commanders got killed
    > Gen. Pal thiek Mathiop Pul, killed.
    > Gen. James Gatpan Lony, killed.
    > Gen. Thiou Gai Toot, killed.
    > Gen. Joseph Gatluak Pul, killed
    > Gen. Emmanuel Thai Deng, killed
    > Gen. James Yel Dut Yieny, the brothe

    repondre message

    • 18 May 2015 09:42, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      Over 50 militia generals are dealt with, just for the last ten days,Our new target will be 150 more. each SPLA general killed will be equal to 5 heads of militia generals.

      repondre message

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