The spokesman for the regional administration of the oil-producing Upper Nile State, Philip Jiben has told reporters that rebels loyal to the sacked Vice President.
Fighting was said to have broke out in Malakal around 0400 GMT Tuesday morning and government forces were said to be highly engaged with the rebels in battle in what is the central zone of the country.
The clashes will fuel concerns over the security of South Sudan’s northern oil fields which is the sole economic lifeline for the country. Oil revenue makes up more than 90% of the country’s national budget.
“The fighting is continuing, but our forces are still in control of Malakal, we making all effort to foil the attacks to prevent further damages to oil installation centres’’, Mr. Jiben said.
The conflict has already forced South Sudan to cut oil production by a fifth to 200,000 barrels per day, all of which is currently pumped from the Upper Nile State.
Analysts say this would be seen as breach of the peace agreement signed in Ethiopia but government and rebels have both accused each other of violating the peace accord signed on January, 23 last month.
A U.N. official said he had received reports of fighting in Malakal but could not confirm them. The town fell into rebel hands after fighting first broke out in mid-December before the army recaptured it last month.
Fighting in South Sudan broke out on December 15 last year and lasted till January 23 this, after a peace accord was signed by government and rebels representatives in Ethiopia which was mediated by regional leaders. President Salva Kiir has repeatedly blamed Mr. Riek Machar of the conflict.
Both President Kiir and Mr. Machar were part of the Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) which fought for independence from Sudan but relation between the two worsen in less than 2 years of independence from Sudan.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News
You must log in to post a comment.