21 April 2014

South Sudan: Another Town in Falls to Rebels, Spokesman Says

Photo: Tim McKulka/UN Photo
Soldiers of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) .

Rebels loyal to former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar have captured another town in oil-producing Unity state, a spokesman for the opposition fighters said Monday.

Rebel forces captured the town of Mayom, on the border with Warrap state, after intercepting army troops who opposition spokesman James Gadet Dak said were on their way to Bentiu, the capital of Unity state.

"They were moving in the direction of Bentiu, and our forces intercepted them and engaged them," Gadet told VOA.

"After defeating them they pursued them into Mayom and this resulted in the capture of Mayom," he said.

Government troops used Mayom as a "place to reinforce and resupply when they want to launch attacks into other paerts of Unity state," Gadet said.

Bentiu was captured last week by rebel forces.

Gadet denied that the recent uptick in violence in South Sudan was the result of rebels breaching the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by the two sides in January.

"We have not violated the cessation of hostilities agreement but we are defending ourselves because we will not allow them to come to us and attack us when there is this agreement," Gadet said.

The agreement, which called on both sides to stop fighting immediately, has been violated repeatedly since it was signed, with both sides blaming the other for not respecting the ceasefire.

A U.N. spokesman confirmed to VOA that fighting took place in Mayom but did not say if the town has been captured by rebels.

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