Fighting Erupts in Upper Nile, State Officials on the Run

Malakal, December 24, 2013 (SSNA) – An intense fighting erupted in Upper Nile State between warring forces of President Kiir and former VP Dr. Machar, the South Sudan News Agency has learned.

The fighting occured early Tuesday at about 5:00am, South Sudan local time.

Residents of Malakal reported that the Governor of Upper Nile, Simon Kun Puoch, together with few state government officials have taken refuge in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound.

But, Eyewitnesses told the SSNA that soldiers were firing bullets in the sky in what they believe was a celeberation of their defetion to Machar’s forces.

The overall commander of both Division one and seven, Lt. General Johnson Gony Biliu, fled to Paloch. Paloch is a small village located between Malakal and Renk.

Meanwhile, Lt. General Biliu is believe to be teaming up with a small SPLA division outside Malakal and could be planning a counter attack.

The fighting happened between units of the SPLA Division 1st and 7th all stationed in and around Malakal, the capital of the Upper Nile State.

It has also been reported that Nasir and Ulang countries of Upper Nile State have on Monday chased away their counties’ officials who they believe are loyal to Kiir. The Commissioner of Nasir County, Dak Tap, is on the run.

Tension remains high throughout the country after president Kiir accused his political rivals of an “attempted coup”.

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