SPLA cries to US, UN as fighting grips Malakal

SPLA soldiers sit in a vehicle in Juba December 20, 2013. Talks between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and African mediators trying to broker a peace deal after six days of clashes between rival army factions are progressing well, Ethiopia's foreign minister said. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (SOUTH SUDAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY)

SPLA soldiers sit in a vehicle in Juba December 20, 2013. (Reuters)

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Upper Nile State capital Malakal in the warring South Sudan.

Rebels accuse Paul Malong Awan’s SPLA troops of launching attacks on their forces Tuesday afternoon in Shilluk and Akoka area.

On Sunday and Monday, SPLA moved against rebel forces 4km away from Medina, Wichnoori and at Warjuok 11km south bank of River Nile.

Rebels claim to still have control of Medina.

SPLA spokesperson, Col Philip Aguer, says the army fought off rebels on the west bank of the Nile with gunships and maintained control over Malakal town.

“Our forces are in control of Malakal,” Aguer emphasized.

Col. Aguer said in a statement over the weekend that Bilpham had dispatched barges to supply logistics to their forces in Malakal.

Rebels in turn say they repulsed SPLA at Mathiang Anyoor.

In earlier Wathkey, Nyieewni and Tonga battles, rebel commanders, General James Yak Dayiem and cde. Johnson Kuol, captured child soldiers and took them as prisoners of war.

On Sunday evening, SPLA-IO spokesperson, Col. William Gatjiath Deng, issued a statement accusing the government of attacking its bases in Upper Nile state with helicopter gunships.

Rebels further accused SPLA of crossing the Nile and setting fire on villages in Collo land in Collo Kingdom.

They said the pillaged villages are Detang and Lelo populated by people displaced during the December 2013 conflict.

SPLA asks US, UN to takeover from IGAD

Meanwhile, the SPLA has called for U.N. and U.S.A. to monitor the ceasefire after IGAD unexpectedly cancelled a preparatory workshop in Addis.

“The SPLA calls upon the members of the international community, particularly the U.N. and the U.S. to provide a joint monitoring and verification mechanism,” Col Aguer told reporters in the capital Juba.

Colonel Aguer pointed out what he called the “flawed” nature of the Addis Ababa Agreement which he said “interim joint monitoring and verification from the UN and U.S. will help” fix.

National Courier quotes Aguer saying Machar has no control over his troops particularly the defected faction which has been attacking positions of the SPLA for the last 10 days.

“The US and the UN should fill the gap that was created by IGAD,” he said noting that the regional body should have created a mechanism to monitor and report on who is violating the ceasefire.

He told Eye Radio that the call is contained in a statement sent by the Chief of General Staff, Paul Malong Awan, to the US embassy and the UN.

‘‘This shows the commitment of the army command; that if there is any independent body to monitor the ceasefire the army is ready and welcoming anybody that will fill the gap to assure the transparency in the implementation of the ceasefire,” Col Aguer said.

The US has circulated a draft document at the UN Security Council, seeking sanctions if the peace agreement signed last month is not implemented.

In a statement after a closed-door meeting last week, the UN threatened more sanctions if the government and the opposition fail to fully implement the deal.

The UN has already sanctioned six military generals on both sides over their alleged role in the conflict.

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