IDPs in the United Nations’ compound said their colleagues in churches and hiding in their houses risk being killed as the rebels still control Malakal town.
Malakal fell into the hands of the Anti-government forces led by the country’s ex-vice president Dr. Riek Machar, now turned rebel leader since mid-February after they overan the government forces there.
“People are suffering. They have no food and water to drink. The town is looted,” an IDP lamented. “So, there is no hope of life for those who are now in Churches and in their hideouts in town.”
They are now being abused by rebels,” an IDP told Gurtong on condition of anonymity.”They are now dying because they are not Nuer or they are supporters of the government.”
It was reported that Dr. Riek Machar recently visited Malakal to encourage his fighters as he allegedly intends to move his headquarters there. Upper Nile State authorities have relocated their base to sRenk, another major town in the far northeast of South Sudan bordering Sudan.
The IDPs said the whereabouts of the South Sudan army is not known. “Our question is: where is the government? Why does the government refuse to rescue our lives? It is now weeks since Malakal fell to rebels,” he lamented.
Earlier on, government officials said that their forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have made a “tactical withdrawal” from Malakal to avoid heavy bloodshed.
Rebels are controlling 5 counties of Nasir, Ulang, Maiwut, Longechuk amnd Malakal which is the state capital and serves as the regional city of the Greater Upper Nile.
Since mid-December when the conflict broke out in Juba, the government blamed it on the ex-vice president Dr. Riek Machar. He is accused of plotting a “Coup” against President Salva Kiir’s Government. However, Dr. Riek said it was a presidential guards’quarrel.
The conflict quickly spread to Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and the latest in Toonj North and East Counties of Warrap state.
Humanitarian Organizations reported that over 10, 000 people lost their lives and 800, 000 others displaced and some taking refuge in the UNMISS bases across the country as others have fled to neighbouring countries.