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Rebels Capture Unity State Oil Wells; New Fighting in Malakal

Malakal, December 26, 2013 (SSNA) -- Rebel forces loyal the former Vice president Dr. Riek Machar have captured most of the oil wells in Unity State, the South Sudan News Agency has been able to independently verify the reports.

The rebels seized the wells late Thursday.

The Minister of Petroleum Stephen Dhieu Dau admitted that the rebels have taken control of much of the Unity State oil wells and he  believes that the defected forces could damage the wells.

"Some oil wells are in the hands of rebel soldiers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar and we fear they may cause damage to the facilities and the environment”, Stephen Dhieu told the Reuters News Agency.

New Fighting in Malakal

Fresh fighting broke out on Thursday in the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile State between the warring forces vying for the control of the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

Malakal was seized by the defected SPLA forces late Tuesday, but, the government refused to acknowledge the falling of Malakal into rebels' hands, saying its forces control half of the city and asserted that the SPLA will soon defeat the rebels and recapture the town.

"They control half of the town and government troops control the other half. They will be defeated soon," SPLA Spokesperson Philip Aguer was quoted by the Reuters as saying.

Some residents claim that heavy gunfire was heard in the city center and people are force to stay in their houses due to the fighting. But, the SSNA cannot confirm the existence of a fresh fighting.

The deepening political crisis in the world’s youngest country has resulted in the death of civilians in Juba and other parts of the country.

Earlier this week, the United States calls on Kiir and Machar to start “immediate mediated political talks” so that a peaceful solution can be attained.

Meanwhile, East African leaders intensify their search for a peaceful end to the young nation’s deepening political turmoil.

Fighting erupted in South Sudan capital, Juba, on December 15, after disagreement between units of presidential guards. But, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardiit claims that his political adversaries attempted a “coup”; despite the fact that details of the alleged coup remained sketchy.

Statement of Sudanese and South Sudanese Civil Society on the Conflict in South Sudan

Geneva, Kampala, New York, Tuesday 24 December 2013

December 25, 2013 (SSNA) -- We, the undersigned, representatives of civil society organisations from Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan wish to express our deep concern about the military confrontations that erupted in the Republic of South Sudan on 15 and 16 December 2013. We are utterly disturbed that the violence, which started in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has now spread to other parts of the country. This unexpected development threatens the foundation of the nascent nation and puts to jeopardy the safety and well-being of its citizens.

We wish to stress our conviction that violence and the destruction of lives and livelihoods serve no purpose and deepen the humanitarian and human rights challenges faced by the government and people of South Sudan. It is also our belief that open and free dialogue that yield a mutually accepted agreement reached through the informed opinion of all the concerned parties, constitute the only way to resolve the current political differences in South Sudan.

We appeal to the political leadership of the Republic of South Sudan to put the interest and aspirations of the populace for peaceful coexistence, progress, development and happiness as their prime objective and mission. This requires greater political sacrifices from all the conflicting parties in South Sudan and we are confident that all those concerned in that part of our country are bestowed with the necessary courage and wisdom to pursue such objectives.

We appeal to the President of the Republic of South Sudan to release, with immediate effect, all persons held for expressing political views critical of the government performance and to start, without conditions, a process of national reconciliation and political dialogue with such persons and with those who are currently under arms against the government.

We appeal to the Heads of State and Government members of the African Union, particularly members of the IGAD countries, to continue to place the situation in South Sudan as a top priority on their agendas and to consider rendering their good offices and personal intervention with the parties to the conflict in view of reaching a negotiated peaceful settlement of the on-going conflict.

We appeal to all States neighbour of the Republic of South Sudan to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs or to extend military or similar support to any party to the conflict or to take advantage of the situation for ulterior motives, but to play instead a role of promoting dialogue and reconciliation between the parties for a peaceful South Sudan.

We appeal to the humanitarian community to redouble their efforts in providing the necessary humanitarian assistance and make available basic materials needed by a growing number of civilians in different parts of the country.

We pay due tribute to all the victims of the on-going conflict, including UN staff and peacekeepers, who lost their lives on the line of duty.

Signed:

1. Abdelbagi Jibril: Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre
2. Dr. Abdelgabar Adam: Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA
3. Abdelmageed Haroun: HAND
4. Biel Botrous Biel: South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy
5. Bushra Gamar Hussein Rahma: South Kordofan Human Rights and Development Organisation
6. Faisal El-Bagir: Journalists for Human Rights (JHR-Sudan)
7. Dr. Farouk Mohamed Ibrahim: Sudanese Organisation for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms
8. Hafiz Mohamed Ismael: Justice Africa Sudan
9. Hala Alkarib: Regional Director, SIHA Network
10. Dr. Hamid El-Tigani Ali: Associate Professor, American University in Cairo
11. Jimmy Mulla: Voices for Sudan
12. Dr. Luka Biong Deng: Kush Inc.
13. Mahjoub Mohammed Salih: Editor-in-Chief, Al-Ayam Newspaper
14. Mohamed Abdalla El-Doma: Darfur Bar Association
15. Dr. M. Jalal Hashim: Sudanese Association for the Defence of Freedom of
Opinion and Conscience (SADFOC)
16. Nabil Adib Abdalla: Sudan Human Rights Monitor
17. Dr. Nada Mustafa Ali: Visiting Professor, Women and Gender Studies, Clark University
18. Nasredeen Abdulbari: Columbia University
19. Niemat Ahmadai: Darfur Women Action Group
20. Osman Hummaida: African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
21. Rashid Saeed Yagoub: Journalist , France
22. Shamsaddin Dawalbait: Project on Democratic Thought and Islamic Reform
23. Professor Sidiga Washi: Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women Studies
24. Sabri Elshareef: Center for Democracy and Peace, New Jersey
25. Dr. Suliman Baldo: Sudan Democracy First Group
26. Suliman Hamid: Blue Nile Center For Justice and Human Rights

For media contacts:

1. Geneva: Abdelbagi Jibril: +41 79 737 97 49 and +41 76 360 95 26
2. Kampala: Biel Botrous Biel: +256 778 89 67 45
3. New York: Suliman Baldo: +1 646 467-3724

South Sudan’s Rebels Seize Malakal

Malakal, December 25, 2013 (SSNA) -- The capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State, Malakal, has been captured by the defected SPLA forces loyal to the former South Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

The rebels seized the state capital late Tuesday.

The capture of Malakal is a major blow to President Kiir's administration who is already fighting two wars in Jonglei and Unity States.

“We are now preparing to announce our new Governor, Simon Kun Puoch is gone for good”, a source with Machar’s forces told the South Sudan News Agency.

There is a saying in the Republic of South Sudan, “if you mess [ed] up with the Upper Nile, then, you are deemed to fail”, he asserted.

On Tuesday, an intense fighting erupted between units of the SPLA Division 1st and 7st—the fight broke out when nearly all soldiers of both divisions declared their defection to Machar’s forces by firing bullets in the sky.

Lt. General Johnson Gony Biliu, who commands the two divisions, is now on the run.

Residents of the capital, Malakal, reported that the city is normal and that everybody is happy.

"We are free, free, free!", vows one resident.

Meanwhile, the Governor of the Upper Nile State, Simon Kun Puoch, was sneaked out of the UNMISS compound in the morning hours of Wednesday by UN staff because he complained that some state officials who were with him in the compound don’t like him, the SSNA has learned. His whereabouts is unknown.

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