April 23, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Latest reports from Upper Nile State confirm that the forces of South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army, under the warlord Maj. Gen. Johnson Olony, are celebrating what they refer as “a major victory” in Malakal this late afternoon, April 23, 2015.
According to our latest phone conversation with our corespondent, Peter Gatbel, in Malakal at around 1:40pm (South Sudan local time), the militias have just defeated the last batch of government troops in Malakal.
The reliable source reiterates that the today’s battle was the heaviest of the three days’ series of fighting.
According to military sources, major reinforcement comprising of Dinka Padang youth, Abushok, governor’s bodyguards drawn from Presidential guards and remnants of other SPLA units led by Gen. Makuach have been reinforcing one another since 9pm last night in attempt to retake the town.
The source confirms that the rebels group, however, reinforced from the West Bank and took full control of the town.
This report has been verified by the Upper Nile Deputy Governor, who responded from Melut, Minister of Information in Malakal, and the SPLA-Juba military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, who spoke to SBS radio a few hours ago from Juba.
Aguer, however, believes that Maj. Gen. Olony controls the town but he is still loyal to Salva Kiir government.
Col. Aguer claims that the government troops were instructed to withdraw to avoid escalation of the conflict.
“Until now Olony is still loyal to the Government of South Sudan but his forces are in control of Malakal after the other SPLA forces withdraw to a distance in order to allow Juba to resolve the situation peacefully. Olony is now in contact with the senior SPLA officials in Juba and we will only confirm his intention this evening (23/04/2015). I can confirm that SPLA soldiers fought each other on those two lines but the motive and the intention are yet to be established.” Philip Aguer explains through SBS radio.
According to Gatluak Liphoth Diu, the acting Minister of Information of Upper Nile State, Gen. Olony’s forces attacked the SPLA Unite this afternoon despite the statements from Juba.
“As i speak with you; General Olony forces have attacked the SPLA unite which is Abushok. We don’t know the motive untill now but Juba have been telling us that General Olony is still a Government’s General. The soldiers led by General Makuach are now fighting his forces and then fighting is intensifying. Iam now speaking to you from Malakal.” said Hon. Gatluak Liphoth, the acting information minister, who seeked refuge at UNMISS compound.
Other reliable sources confirmed that the troubled governor, Simon Kun Puoch, remains in Juba after attending the loyal-Nuer meeting in the national capital on Friday last week.
Despite several attempts to capture Malakal during their earlier defection between 2010 and 2013, SSDM/A did not exert any significant pressure on Malakal.
The militia group, however, has built a measurable force within the last 16 months of fighting, and took control of heavy artillery to lead the fight against the anti-government forces in the state.
The number of casualties, and military loses and gains from today’s battle are yet to be verified. The warlord general, whose Deputy was slain in an ambush by the government troops three weeks ago, is expected to release a press statement within the next two days to declare his position on the conflict.