Wednesday December 13, 2017

After Malakal, Rebels threaten to storm the main oil field

photo: Reuters


MALAKAL – South Sudan’s rebels issued a stern warning to the government troops in the oil field of Paloch that the recent success in the capture of Malakal “will not stop there if the aggression against their forces continued” in areas near the oil field.

Maj Gen Mabor Dhol, the lead commander in the fall of Malakal last night told the Upper Nile Times that government troops continued to provoke them in Melut and other areas adjacent to the Paloch oil field.

“We have been shelled by the Salva Kiir forces in Melut since Sunday in our defensive positions there. our troops near Paloch oil field also have been attacked but they responded in kind to defend their positions. This is a provocation which will leave us with nothing but to capture the oil field. Salva Kiir forces believe in the aggression. we will give them what they want” – Dhol said

Mabor also issued a warning to oil workers particularly the foreign company workers in Paloch to immediately evacuate to avoid any eventually of lives lost during the cross-fire.

“let this serve as a message to oil workers in Paloch and nearby areas. They are not our targets but sometimes bullets don’t discriminate. They need to leave the area as soon as possible. It has been two days since government forces there tried to dislodge us in our locations. The respond can be dangerous, so we encourage them to consider moving out of the oil processing areas quickly since they are not our prime targets.” – Mabor added.


Fighting erupted in Malakal on Saturday evening between the rebel forces and the Juba faction after what the rebels called as provocation against their position in Kaka Tujaria on Friday. Rebels forces started to match to Malakal on Saturday morning to plan their onslaught. The rebel forces are believed to have used the deadly ship they captured from the government a month ago when Johnson Olony defected to the opposition.


After reaching Malakal at 2:30 PM on Saturday, the rebels didn’t wait to carryout on the onslaught. The group started to ferry thousands of their troops across the river to engage the government forces stationed at the airport while leaving at least 6000 more to confront with the Juba faction in the main town centre. The battle in the town lasted for 3 hours. but the battle for the control of the Malakal airport lasted for 3 and half aided by the unstoppable power of the marine ship.

According to an IDP who this reporter spoke to this Sunday morning, rebels flocked into the town Malakal and other areas quckly “like swamps of bees”, emerging from all directions.

“When we saw them dancing and ululating there, we realised that our people have come. They where everywhere like swamps of bees in a muddy and rain affected corridors. The UNMISS soldiers tried to prevent people from going out but they couldn’t do it as they were overwhelmed and the fence had to be mowed down by the jubilant IDPs. We went out to the town centre and provided them with foods and all other necessary stuff since they have done a good job.” – said an IDP.

According to the operational commander, Mabor Dhol the govermnet forces left behind thousands of ammunitions and atleast 20 pickup trucks and 5 wheeled tanks. He said that the ground was unbearable for the trucks and tanks to pass as it was muddy due to rain in the area.




Philip Gual

An Upper Nile State correspondent for The Upper Nile Times. He currently resides in Malakal, Upper Nile State.

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