Heavy fighting erupts in Fangak County after government troops launched successful attacks

Addis Ababa, November 28, 2014 (SSNA) — Heavy fighting between government and rebel forces broke out in Fangak County, Jonglei State, late Friday with both sides using heavy artilleries, the South Sudan News Agency has learned.

The latest fighting casts doubts on the success of the ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia.

South Sudan’s government troops launched successful attacks on rebels’ positions and took control over the administrative Headquarters of Fangak County, Phom El Zaref, according to the military Spokesman for the SPLA-in Opposition, Brig. General Lul Ruai Koang.

Koang said government soldiers have been shelling their outposts for days and that their forces decided to make a tactical withdraw, warning that the SPLA-in opposition is ready to retake all areas from government troops at any time.

“After three to four days of heavy shelling of Phom El Zaref, the Administrative HQs of Fangak County in northern Jonglei State by Government’s Artillery and Riverine Units, our Gallant SPLA Forces under overall command of Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tangiye completed tactical withdrawal from the town centre and took positions at vintage points,” Koang said in a public statement.

Koang stated government forces deliberately set houses on fire, adding that the town that they burned down is mainly a Ghost town because all its residents left for their safety.

“Kiir’s tribal army entered Phome El Zaref and deliberately burned all down all the structures which survived the un-proportionate and destructive artillery, mortar fires used,” he added.

On November 26, rebels’ positions in Fangak County came under heavy attacks from government forces stationed in Uluak on western bank of the White Nile in Panyikang County, Upper Nile State.

The spokesman for the anti-government forces also disclosed that forces loyal to South Sudan’s Former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, had inflicted heavy personnel and equipment loses on the government’s troops and capturing 300 different weapons.

Meanwhile, the office of the SPLA-Juba Spokesperson, Philip Aguer, has refused to comment on the new fighting.

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