South Sudan army says it has recaptured Upper Nile State State capital, Malakal from Riek Machar’s rebels.
Malakal fell to opposition in mid-May after a Shilluk Major General, Johnson Olony, defected from government troops.
He clashed with SPLA at Doleib Hill about 10 kilometres from Malakal town where according to SPLA-IO spokesperson, Dickson Gatluak, SPLA was defeated leading to the loss of the two.
Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said Major General Johnson Olony had defected to their side and was in control of Malakal.
In his speech broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV), army chief of staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan, said they would soon recapture Malakal.
Over the weekend, SPLA announced that it had defeated rebels and was in control of Akoka town which had been earlier overrun as Machar aimed for Paloich oil fields.
This evening, army spokesperson, Col Philip Aguer, told Eye radio that SPLA had recaptured Malakal.
“Government forces entered Malakal town this morning,” Aguer confirmed to the radio.
He also said there was another rebel group that has been formed in Western Equatoria State.
Aguer is expected to announce the capture of Malakal this evening on SSTV.
The UN has been calling on warring parties to cease hostilities and protect civilians.
UN also reported human rights abuses, displacements, burning down of villages and killing in Leer, Unity State, parts of Upper Nile State and Jonglei state where fighting has been ongoing.
Over 100, 000 civilians fled the fighting that engulfed Leer town, the home of rebel chief Machar, a week back.
Relief agencies say the situation is still volatile.
UN has been threatening sanctions on those who continue to fuel the South Sudan conflict.
Juba rejects threats of sanctions
Meanwhile, South Sudanese presidency has rejected the imposition of targeted sanctions and called on the international community to give a chance to the government to bring about peace.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, Presidential Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, said that the sections will negatively affect South Sudan at this time while the government is endeavouring to bring about peace.
He further said any kind of sanctions are futile because government was committed to the peace process.
“Sanctions do not bring peace, so it is advisable to give the government a chance to reach peace with the rebels instead of imposing the sanctions,” he said, blaming the opposition for being unserious.