South Sudan army regains control of strategic town

Khartoum, Dec 25: South Sudan’s army announced Tuesday that it has regained control of the strategic town of Bor, the capital of oil-rich Jonglei state, which was seized by the military forces loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

“Today we have completely regained control over Bor town,” South Sudan’s army spokesperson Philip Aguer told Xinhua by phone.

“Big battle took place between the forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and forces of Riek Machar, which lasted for about five hours. The SPLA managed to defeat the enemy troops and forced them to evacuate their positions,” he added.

Aguer said the South Sudan army is determined to restore Bantio, the capital city of the oil-rich Unity state.

“The SPLA is preparing for a big military action to restore Bantio which is still held by Machar forces. This will be very soon,” said Aguer.

He confirmed that clashes erupted Tuesday between government forces and armed groups loyal to former South Sudanese vice-president Riek Machar in Upper Nile state, which produces most of the country’s oil.

“Clashes occurred in Malaka, but the SPLA managed to repulse the rebels who tried to control the military command in the city,” Aguer said.

Violent clashes erupted in South Sudan last week between two military factions, one descending from the Dinka tribe to which President Salva Kiir belongs, and the other descending from the Nuer tribe to which Machar belongs. The former vice president is accused of plotting to topple the government.