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Vol 55 No 4

Published 21st February 2014

South Sudan

The battle for Malakal

Foreign Minister Barnaba talks reconciliation as government and rebels fight for control of oil-rich Upper Nile

In the most serious breach of the 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement, fierce fighting is raging as government and rebel forces clash in Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State. Each side blames the other for starting the fighting. Ceasefire monitors deployed by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and African Union had not apportioned responsibility as Africa Confidential went to press. However, since the government army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), had previously retaken Malakal and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had just warned of anti-government forces massed to the south-east, it appears the attack came from former Vice-President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon's fighters.

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