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South Sudanese rebels kill Ugandan soldiers in Upper Nile: spokesperson.

October 11, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) -- The armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM-in-Opposition) under the leadership of former vice-president, Riek Machar, have claimed to have killed in action Ugandan soldiers taking part in the renewed clashes against their forces in Upper Nile state.

An unidentified man sits in the gun turret while leading a convoy of armoured vehicles from both the South Sudanese government forces and the Ugandan People's Defence Forces (UPDF) in the streets of Jonglei capital Bor on 19 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)

In a press release issued on Saturday seen by Sudan Tribune , SPLM-in-Opposition military spokesman, Brig Lul Ruai Koang said two Ugandan tank drivers, male and female, were killed and that their pictures and identities will soon be released to the public.

He said the personnel belonging to the foreign army took part in the attempt by the government to gain more territories from the rebels on Friday.

Koang further said the rebels also captured a lot of war equipment from the retreating government troops in the battle to control Doleib Hill, a strategic location just south of Upper Nile state's capital, Malakal.

"To be included in the next press statement are pictures of some of the latest versions of AKM-47 assault rifles captured in the battles, IDs of Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), 1 female and 1 male Tank Drivers killed in action," Koang said.

"Once released, they would provide undeniable proofs that Uganda had heavily deployed forces in all the ten states of the Republic of South Sudan and that it's not only confined to the protection of vital installations in Juba, Bor and Gadiang as previously reported or thought," he further explained.

The rebels spokesperson further broke down the losses inflicted on the government troops and captured equipment which include: an estimated 400-500 loyal troops were killed in action; three (3) T-72 battle tanks and 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier captured in good conditions were later destroyed after the barge that was supposed to ferry them across southern bank of Sobat River could not handle their sheer weight.

He further enumerated that one (1) 120MM captured in good condition; five (5) 82MM captured in good condition; thirty(30) PRGs captured in good condition; fifty (50) PKM light machine guns captured in good condition; three hundred (300) AKM-47 captured in good condition; fight (8) 12.7 captured in good condition; one store full of shells of different weaponry and food items was captured; and one store full of ammunitions for different weaponry was destroyed.

UGANDA DEPLOYS AIR FORCE TO UPPER NILE

Rebels also said Uganda army on Saturday deployed jet fighters, helicopter gunships to carry out bombardments against their positions as well as airlifted additional troops to Malakal, the state capital, to assist in fighting off the opposition forces.

"By yesterday evening, the government in Juba sent in more personnel and equipment to Malakal town including Attacker Helicopters, Gunships and Jet Fighters from UPDF's Air Force. These war planes are expected to carry out air strikes on unidentified and unspecified SPLA targets in Greater Upper Nile Region." Koang said.

He said the SPLA-in-Opposition had taken control of the areas they contested on Friday and that mopping up operations were done in the captured government's barracks.

"SPLA forces remain in full control of aforesaid military barracks and have completed searches & mopping up operations, done with consolidation and beefing up of defensive lines," he added.

He however said president Salva Kiir's forces seemed not to have been convinced by the rebels victory and might make more attempts to recapture the areas.

On Friday government's military spokesman Col Philip Aguer confirmed that fighting was still taking place in Doleib Hill near the oil-rich state capital, Malakal.

Local officials in the town also confirmed they could hear sounds of artillery fires outside the capital.

Upper Nile region, which is the richest and most troubled region in South Sudan has been the center of the latest nine-month long conflict pitting president Kiir's loyalists, predominantly of Dinka ethnic group and their allies against his former deputy Riek Machar's Nuer ethnic group.

The violence erupted in mid-December when political debates within the ruling party (SPLM) turned violent.

Machar accused his former boss of instigating violence when he ordered for disarmament of Nuer soldiers in the presidential guards, sparking off clashes among the guards.

Meanwhile, Kiir said he was trying to foil a failed coup attempt by Machar's group, a narrative which has been dismissed by Machar as well as regional and the international community at large.

Tens of thousands of people have died and over 1.5 million displaced since the crisis began.

(ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6UGAN
Date:Oct 12, 2014
Words:790
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