BY NATIONAL COURIER STAFF
(BILPHAM, JUBA CES) – The SPLA GHQs released a statement late last evening announcing the repulsion of rebel forces which were stationed at the river port in Melut, a town 60 minutes drive west of Paloich in Upper Nile State. The SPLA Spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer Panyang said that the national army defeated the rebel forces at 1630 hours.
Col. Aguer said that three armoured rebel barges carrying tanks, artillery and mortars were sank by the SPLA with the help of the airforce. He dismissed rebel claims that they shot down one of the army helicopters which was involved in the operation. He added that the SPLA also recaptured Thiangrial, the site of a unfinished refinery which was underconstruction.
The SPLA also denied the rebels had ever captured Akoka. Col. Aguer said the rebels did not disembark from the barges in Akoka and Melut but were rather indiscriminately shelling and firing on the towns from the barges whilst stationed in river. The SPLA also gave the rebels in Malakal 72 hours to withdraw their forces or face a full military assault.
The UN on Tuesday said that four civilians, including a woman and a child died after two mortar shells landed inside the UNMISS base in Melut. Eight more civilians were injured. In a statement the UN said that it is “deeply concerned by the disregard for civilian lives, UN personnel and facilities.” ♦
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