Sudan Tribune | South Sudan army denies rebel claim of downing plane in Upper Nile State

Posted July 5, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in South Sudan Conflict ~ 4,355 views



Sudan Tribune — July 5, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese army denied on Sunday claims by the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, they shot down a government military aircraft in Upper Nile state.

South Sudanese soldiers are seen outside the governor’s compound, in Malakal, on January 12, 2014 (Photo AFP /Simon Maina)
The spokesperson of the government forces colonel Philip Aguer told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the general headquarters of the government army (SPLA) was unaware of the shooting down of a military aircraft in the oil-producing state of upper Nile state.

“I am not aware of this development. When did it occur? All our forces around Malakal are accounted for,” Aguer said on Sunday.

The SPLA spokesperson was reacting to the reports quoting the SPLM-IO fighters claiming that they have shot down on Sunday morning a gunship while it was bombarding their positions near Malakal.

(SPLM/SPLA-IO) “forces under the overall command of Major General Johnson Olony shot down another helicopter gunship on Sunday morning at Kodok in Fashoda (Upper Nile) state,” said James Gatdet Dak, in a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

He said this came after a failed attempt by government forces to recapture the state capital Malakal which is under rebel control since 28 June.

All the crew members, pilot as well as co-pilot on board were confirmed dead according to rebels commander general Carlo Kuol.

Last May, the rebel group said it shot a helicopter gunship over Melut town, near the main Paloch oilfields, killing a number of soldiers on board. Government denied the claim. However, a later mourning for a dead pilot killed in the shooting of the gunship revealed the incident.


In a separate development, Dak also claimed their forces around Nimule town in Eastern Equatoria state at South Sudan’s border with Uganda under the overall command of Major General Martin Kenyi pre-empted attack by government forces on their positions in the area.

“Clashes occurred inside Nimule town on Sunday at 1am until 4am when our forces withdrew from the town after destroying government’s war logistics in the area,” he said.

He added that opposition forces will be forced to close the trade route between Uganda and South Sudan at the Nimule border unless president Salva Kiir’s government accepted peace and signed an agreement with the rebels.

A resident of Nimule town confirmed the shooting but could not ascertain who was responsible for the incident.

“The shooting started at about 1:30am on Sunday….not far from my house. I was awakened by the loud sound of AK47s,” Philip Thon Aleu posted in the social media on Sunday.

“After about 10 minutes, while I was now guessing what was happening, sounds of guns came from Malakaya suburb. I made phone calls there and I was told some gunmen attacked a check point. After another few minutes, several shots were fired from Malakaya again and a thick smoke arose. Three trucks are set ablaze,” Aleu further narrated on his Facebook.

This is the second time the rebels claimed carrying out attack in the area. Last year, forces under the command of General Martin Kenyi claimed attack on government’s forces in the area and warned they would close the main trade route linking South Sudan with Uganda.

Source — Sudan Tribune

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