MALAKAL – Government allied militias of Gen Johnson Olony are in full control of Malakal Airport and the town centre after the government soldiers and allies of Dinka militias were “asked to withdraw” from the town centre by Juba’s chief of staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan.
According to some Upper Nile States officials currently inside UNMISS (waiting UN flights to Juba), Olony Forces fought government forces for two days starting from Tuesday, the 21st of April till Wednesday Afternoon.
According to a state government Minister Gatluak Liphoth Diew, the incident happened on Tuesday night when Governor Simon Kun Puoch bodyguards tried to take a sick colleague of theirs to hospital. on their way, they were abruptly stopped by Olony forces they made while on patrol. The Olony forces told them to go back, which they obeyed but before they could possible reverse their pickup truck, they were met with heavy shots and two guards on the back of the truck were killed. the driver and the sick colleague sped away with injuries. After the fleeing guards arrived and as heavy guns were heard, government forces rushed to the scene and opened fire on Olony forces. The government soldiers couldn’t resist heavy artileries from Olony’s and were therefore sent back. The fighting then subsidised for few hours until it resumed again at 5:30 am on Wednesday. Government forces, regrouped Governor bodyguards, local militias of Dinka were then dislodged after heavy reinforcement from Olony’s.
Since Tuesday night, Juba chief of staff, Malong Awan has been trying to calm the situation advising either side to refrain from attacking. Yesterday, the government forces, Governor guards and militias were ordered to withdraw from the town and assemble on the other side leaving Olony’s forces on control of both the airport and the town centre. Preliminary reports confirmed that about 17 people are feared dead between the two sides.
Governor Kun Puoch was not in Malakal at the time of the incident as he was in Juba and scheduled to fly that night of the incident.
GEN OLONY HAS NOT DEFECTED TO THE OPPOSITION
According to one of the Olony soldiers who only gave his first name as James and who was wounded in the fight and being taken to the UNMISS hospital run by MSF, Gen Olony has not defected to the rebels as he continue to talk with the regime in Juba to settle the confusion. the soldier described the incident as unnecessary caused by hostility of segregation of forces based on ethnic lines in Malakal. He said that Olony forces will also withdraw from the town to allow the investigation to take place and what really caused the confusion.
THE UPPER NILE TIMES