“The anti-government forces launched another attack on a small urban centre in Manyo County called Thur-Gwang. 17 civilians have been killed and all their houses are burnt down by the rebel fighters,” Jiben said. The Minister said the attackers are Machar’s loyalists who defected from Wadakona.
“These are the factions which split from Wadakona garrison in support of Machar. They are now still moving about in the forests of Manyo County. The rebels’ existence there is not a great threat. SPLA will stand against them,” he said.
The minister also says there were heavygunshots heard on Friday, south of Malakal. He believes there is another fighting in Pigi County along the area of Canal, north of Jonglei.
Residents in Paloch of Melut County reported that there was fighting on Monday at Adar near Upper Nile’s oil wells. Two SPLA positions in Makal and Panyikang counties were also recently attacked but the rebels were repulsed by the government forces according to the information minister.
Gurtong has not been able to get any comment from the rebels in the state as possible contact persons are difficult to get. Though the government controls Malakal town, at least four counties of Nasir, Ulang, Maiwut and Longechuk are in rebels’ hands.
The Mid-December internal power struggle within the ruling SPLM party degenerated into internal armed conflict pitting armed loyalists of
President Kiir and his former deputy Machar against each other.
President Kiir called it a “coup attempt” but Machar said it was a ploy to eliminate the president’s critics. Dr. Machar and his followers however accuse president Kiir of dictatorial tendencies, saying they want a democratic South Sudan government for which they are fighting.
The conflict quickly spread to Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and the latest in Tonj North county of Warrap state. It has worsened the humanitarian challenges in the country as almost 900,000 people have been displaced and are in dire need of assistance.