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Thursday, Jul 02nd, 2015

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South Sudanese rebels gain ‘full control’ of Unity state oilfields

Juba/Addis Ababa, June 5, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan’s rebel forces on Friday captured oilfields after three days of fierce battle with government troops in Unity State.

Rebel Spokesman James Gatdet Dak released a statement, saying the armed opposition, SPLA-IO, took full control of all oilfields in Unity State and threatened to target Adar and Paloch oilfield in the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

“On Friday morning our forces from Division 4 took full control of the whole Unity oilfields in the oil-producing Lich (Unity) state. Our next targets are Adar and Paloch oilfields in Upper Nile state. We will make sure the only two remaining oilfields cease to function as well,” Gatdet said in a strongly worded statement.

“The plan is to close down oil production in both Unity and Upper Nile states which are the only two oil producing states in South Sudan,” Gatdet revealed.

Gatdet slams Kiir’s government for using oil money to buy arms instead of helping vulnerable South Sudanese.

“This is to deny Salva Kiir’s regime from using the oil revenues to finance and perpetuate the war. He buys weapons and hires mercenaries to continue fighting the war in defence of tyranny while the suffering people of South Sudan have been dying of hunger, diseases and lack other basic services,” he said.

Gatdet also accuses government forces of launching what he described as “full scale offensive” against the SPLA-IO and added that the armed opposition has delivered a humiliating defeat to government troops.

The rebel Spokesman further stated that the SPLA-IO is well prepared and ready to strike and capture the remaining oilfields in Upper Nile State and “shut down their operations” with ultimate goal to deny Juba from using oil as a war indemnity.

Last month, South Sudan’s rebels warned that it has finished its military preparation and that it will attack Paloch oilfields at anytime to capture them from government troops.

South Sudan’s government expels UN humanitarian chief

Juba, June 1, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese government on Monday expelled United Nations’ Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer, who has recently been appointed to take up a new post in a few weeks.

The move comes as relations between UN and the violence-torn nation have increasingly become tense.

The United Nations strongly condemned the move and has called on Juba to immediately withdraw its decision. The world body also calls on South Sudanese government to respect international agreements and to fully cooperate with all UN’s agencies.

"The Secretary-General calls on the government of South Sudan to reverse its decision immediately," a UN statement reads in parts.

Lanzer, who also doubled as deputy head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan, has been applauded by the UN for his work in South Sudan.

“Mr Lanzer has been instrumental in addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities in the country and ensuring that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches the most vulnerable," the statement added.

UN disclosed that Lanzer was not in the country when the decision to expel him was announced.

The abrupt dismissal of Lanzer has been widely interpreted as a result of his last month criticism against Juba after government forces committed massacre, raped women and young girls, and kidnapped young boys in the oil-rich Unity State.

SPLA-North withdraws from Malakal as South Sudanese rebels threaten “all-out war”

Pagak, May 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese rebels have revealed that combined forces of SPLA-Juba and SPLA-North with air support from Ugandan air force early this week launched a coordinated attack against rebel positions in the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

The armed opposition said fighters of the Sudanese rebel, the SPLA-North, started withdrawing from Malakal on Tuesday evening and completed their withdrawals on Wednesday evening.

On Monday, the Spokesman for the SPLA-Juba faction Philip Aguer said government soldiers recaptured Malakal from rebels and that Juba inflicted heavy losses on rebel fighters.

The SPLA-IO appears not convinced by government version of Malakal fighting.

Johnson Wal Hoth, a high-ranking official with the military command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), said Monday fighting in Malakal was basically a fight between South Sudanese rebels against SPLA-Juba with its foreign allies. He stated that soldiers of the SPLM/A-North, a Sudanese rebel movement fighting against Khartoum’s regime, were involved in the attack, adding that Juba soldiers and Ugandan air force also participated in the operation.

“Let me be clear, we know from our military intelligence department that SPLA-North and Ugandan air force were coming to help Kiir’s government. We know Kiir is paying Ugandan President and leaders of the SPLM/A/North to fight against us because he knows his forces can’t resist our forces; so this is not a new development and we are not surprised about it,” Johnson told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) in heavily militarized Pagak town.

“What we are surprised about is the fact that we withdrew our forces from the town before they came in…and surprisingly Juba went ahead and claimed that they have defeated us,” he said mockingly, adding that “the SPLA-North fighters have now withdrawn” from the Malakal.

The rebel military official reaffirms rebels’ commitment to peace and warned that the SPLA-IO is fully prepared and will launch “all-out war” if Juba does not changes what he described as “reckless behavior.”

Fighting broke out in December of 2013 between different units of presidential guards after months of political turmoil among senior leaders of the ruling SPLM party. South Sudanese President Kiir accused his chief-rival, Dr. Riek Machar, of orchestrating a military coup. Machar denied the accusation, saying Kiir planned the alleged coup in an attempt to try to purge his political opponents.

IGAD-led Peace talks between South Sudan’s warring factions have been ongoing in the Ethiopia. However, the talks lead to little or no success with fighting still raging.

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