South Sudan’s rebels shot down a helicopter gunship, threaten to close down a trade route

Addis Ababa, July 5, 2015 (SSNA) — A Spokesperson for South Sudanese rebels on Sunday said rebel forces under the command of South Sudan’s Former Vice President, Dr.Riek Machar, downed a government’s helicopter gunship after a failed attempt by Juba and its foreign allies to use airpower to regain control of Upper Nile State’s capital, Malakal.

The claim comes a few days after the SPLA-IO said it has shot down an alleged Ugandan helicopter gunship.

James Gatdet Dak, the Spokesman for the rebels late Sunday announced the downing of the helicopter, saying forces of the SPLA-IO under the overall command of Major General Johnson Olony carried out the operation.

“SPLM SPLM/SPLA forces under the overall command of Major General Johnson Olony shot down another helicopter gunship on Sunday morning at Kodok in Fashoda (Upper Nile) state. This came after a failed dawn attempt by government forces to match towards Malakal to recapture the state capital from our forces. The gunship was on mission attacking our forces in the area when it met its fate,” Gatdet said in a statement.

The SPLM/A-IO Spokesman also disclosed that a separate military confrontation between government and rebel forces occurred in Nimule, a South Sudanese town bordering Uganda.

Gatdet said anti-government forces are capable to do maximum damage against government interests and threatened to close down a vital trade route linking Juba to Kampala.

“SPLM/SPLA forces will be forced to close the trade route between Uganda and South Sudan at the Nimule border unless Salva Kiir’s government accepts peace and signs an agreement with the Movement,” he asserted.

The rebel Spokesperson further claimed that fighting in Nimule happened after SPLA-IO destroyed government war logistics in an area of Nimule.

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