South Sudan says the oil town of Bentiu remains under government control, but a main opposition group in the country says that is not true. The rebel group says it seized control of the town after three days of heavy fighting.
A spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Army and one for the rebel People's Liberation Army in Opposition each claimed Wednesday his group has control of the Unity state capital.
SPLA-IO spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said the rebels took control of the town Wednesday afternoon, but SPLA-Juba spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said, “That is a lie.”
Aguer said SPLA-Juba managed to defeat the rebels Wednesday about 4 p.m. after four hours of fierce fighting.
Thousands of people have been killed, and more than a million have fled their homes since fighting erupted in December.
According to analysts, the violence was triggered by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.
The conflict has disrupted oil production, which provides a big portion of the government's revenue.
Diplomats and analysts say there could be a surge in fighting as the dry season approaches, after a lull during the rainy season.