Malakal, December 25, 2013 (SSNA) — The capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State, Malakal, has been captured by the defected SPLA forces loyal to the former South Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.
The rebels seized the state capital late Tuesday.
The capture of Malakal is a major blow to President Kiir’s administration who is already fighting two wars in Jonglei and Unity States.
“We are now preparing to announce our new Governor, Simon Kun Puoch is gone for good”, a source with Machar’s forces told the South Sudan News Agency.
There is a saying in the Republic of South Sudan, “if you mess [ed] up with the Upper Nile, then, you are deemed to fail”, he asserted.
On Tuesday, an intense fighting erupted between units of the SPLA Division 1st and 7st—the fight broke out when nearly all soldiers of both divisions declared their defection to Machar’s forces by firing bullets in the sky.
Lt. General Johnson Gony Biliu, who commands the two divisions, is now on the run.
Residents of the capital, Malakal, reported that the city is normal and that everybody is happy.
"We are free, free, free!", vows one resident.
Meanwhile, the Governor of the Upper Nile State, Simon Kun Puoch, was sneaked out of the UNMISS compound in the morning hours of Wednesday by UN staff because he complained that some state officials who were with him in the compound don’t like him, the SSNA has learned. His whereabouts is unknown.