News / Africa

S. Sudan Army, Rebels Battle Over Oil Town

FILE - South Sudanese army soldiers are seen guarding Malakal town, 497km (308 miles) northeast of capital Juba, Dec. 30, 2013 after retaking the town from rebel fighters.
FILE - South Sudanese army soldiers are seen guarding Malakal town, 497km (308 miles) northeast of capital Juba, Dec. 30, 2013 after retaking the town from rebel fighters.
Reuters
South Sudan's army battled rebels in and around the northern oil town of Bentiu on Monday, hitting hopes for renewed peace efforts days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited to try and revive faltering negotiations.
 
It was not immediately clear on Monday who controlled the town, the scene of an ethnic massacre last month which triggered fears of a looming genocide in the world's newest nation.
 
A spokesman for the government SPLA forces said they had recaptured Bentiu, capital of Unity state, and had now launched a broader offensive in the surrounding region.
 
But a spokesman for rebel leader Riek Machar said fighters loyal to the former vice president had driven the government troops out in an early morning counter-attack.
 
“There will be fighting around Bentiu. The SPLA is trying to establish full control over Unity state and that will take some time,” SPLA spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer told Reuters.

 
Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
x
Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
Bentiu has changed hands several times since fighting broke out in the capital Juba between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and troops backing Machar in mid-December, quickly spreading across the country.
 
The violence, triggered by a power struggle between the two men, has often followed ethnic faultlines, pitting Kiir's Dinka against Machar's Nuer, and has forced a complete halt to oil production in Unity.
 
Thousands of civilians have been killed and more than a million forced to flee their homes, prompting U.N. warnings of a famine in some parts of the country, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011.
 
Kerry traveled to the east African country on Friday, with peace negotiations in neighboring Ethiopia going nowhere. A January ceasefire deal failed.

 
S. Sudan's President Salva Kiir chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, May 2, 2014.S. Sudan's President Salva Kiir chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, May 2, 2014.
x
S. Sudan's President Salva Kiir chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, May 2, 2014.
S. Sudan's President Salva Kiir chats with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he greets Kerry at the President's Office in Juba, South Sudan, May 2, 2014.
Kiir told Washington's top diplomat that he was ready for face-to-face talks with Machar, but his rival held off from promising to take part.
 
Oxfam spokeswoman Grace Cahill said she had received reports of heavy shelling on Monday morning in Bentiu from staff members working at the United Nations base there.
 
“The trauma that continued fighting in Bentiu today is having upon civilians is huge,” she said.
 
Fears of a descent into genocide grew after the United Nations said rebels had massacred hundreds of civilians in Bentiu last month. Days later, residents of Bor, a predominantly Dinka town, attacked Nuer camped in a U.N. base.
 
The United Nations says more than 25,000 civilians have sought shelter in its camp in Bentiu to escape fighting. Tens of thousands more are hiding in other bases across the country.
 
Army spokesman Aguer said the SPLA had also taken back the town of Nasir, in Upper Nile state, an important base for the rebels in Upper Nile state which continues to pump oil.
 
Oil output, South Sudan's economic lifeline, has been cut by a third to about 160,000 barrels per day since fighting began.
 
Oil firms operating in South Sudan include China National Petroleum Corp, India's ONGC Videsh and Malaysia's Petronas.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid