The South Sudanese armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, on Saturday said they have recaptured the strategic Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal, along with a number of previously government-held towns in response to aggression by president Salva Kiir’s government.
In a press statement released on Saturday, the office of the chairman of SPLM-IO announced that its forces under the overall command of General Johnson Olony captured the state capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile state.
“Our forces under the overall command of General Johnson Olony recaptured Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal, on Saturday from pro-Salva Kiir’s forces. We are now in full control of the town and its surroundings,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
He said during the heavy fighting which started on Friday evening, the rebel forces inflicted heavy casualties on the government’s troops.
“Seven tanks and five trucks mounted with heavy machine guns plus other military equipment were left behind by the forces loyal to Salva Kiir,” he added.