News / Africa

    'Matter of Time' Before Army Retakes Bentiu, South Sudan Official Says

    A Sudanese man carries a bed past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) national army soldiers patroling the town of Bentiu following its capture, Jan. 12, 2014.
    A Sudanese man carries a bed past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) national army soldiers patroling the town of Bentiu following its capture, Jan. 12, 2014.
    Charlton Doki
    A South Sudan army spokesman said Tuesday it was "a matter of time" before government forces regain control of Bentiu and another town in Unity state that have fallen to rebel forces.

    "Unity state in general is a fighting area and it’s just a matter of time that the SPLA will re-establish control of Unity state or these areas of Bentiu and Mayom," said Colonel Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

    "Things will change soon,” he said.

    Forces opposed to the government of President Salva Kiir last week overran Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, and on Monday said they captured the town of Mayom on the border with Warrap state.

    The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday accused the rebels of singling out people who were hiding during the fighting in Bentiu and killing them based on their ethnicity or nationality.

    Aguer called what the rebels allegedly did "barbarism" and said the SPLA will do all it can to dislodge the rebels from areas they control.

    “The SPLA is mandated by the constitution to stop those acts of barbarism. And it’s just a matter of time that the SPLA will control the area,” Aguer said. He said the SPLA is still in control of Unity state's oil fields. 

    Rebels seek to shut down government oil production

    Rebels say they want to shut down crude production to prevent the government spending the country's largest source of revenue on weapons. 

    Lul Ruai Koang, an opposition spokesman, said anti-government troops have fanned out and captured several positions in Jonglei state, including the administrative headquarters of Duk county.

    Koang also accused government forces of destroying bridges and other infrastructure in Unity state to try to prevent the rebels advancing beyond Mayom and Bentiu.

    Aguer dismissed the allegation.

    "It’s the rebels that have intentions to blow up bridges. They want to cover up their activities,” he said.

    The recent increase in violence in Unity state has resulted in a sharp rise in the number of South Sudanese seeking shelter at U.N. facilities.

    Joe Contreras, the acting spokesman for UNMISS, said there were around 12,000 people sheltering at the base in Bentiu last week, compared to around 4,000 at the start of the month when South Sudan peace talks were put on hold.

    The talks are due to resume on Monday after a four-week break. The international community has warned that South Sudan is on the verge of famine if the fighting is not stopped immediately and aid allowed to get through to people in need.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mario Manyuon from: Juba
    April 23, 2014 9:18 AM
    The solution to South Sudan's problem is that, every family should convince their young not to take against individual or a any group.

    by: Deng Tut from: Addis baba
    April 23, 2014 4:42 AM
    Greedy of power is a problem to whole African Nation and AU is not protecting the civilians but the leaders.
    South Sudan's conflict is a simple issue but the IGAD is making business on it and the Government has not intends to kill his people and the Rebels are for destruction to take us back in 18c.
    The government and Rebels are continues gambling on their usual business.
    God is looking at them.

    by: Human Eaters from: Juba
    April 23, 2014 4:34 AM
    The SPLA spokesman always saying that matter of time and everyday matter of time but Rebels don't says matter of time they just captured Towns without consider time.
    If the government is not able to provide security to people then it is good for government's leadership to resign instead of wasting resources and life of civilians .
    In Response

    by: Atak Atem from: U.S.A. IA
    April 23, 2014 2:48 PM
    is it not passive obedience to the Reik Machar's policy to those who are backers him ? I think what happened at Unite State was actually a good news to the rebel's backers. To me the Kiir administration must do something important to protect people. Kiir should not resign as other people said. What happened not only in south Sudan,but it happened everywhere for instance , Libya , Syria etc. but those leaders non of them resigned. And no one of these rebel or protests got full freedom or step down any their leaders what they needed since 2011.

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