World
S. Sudan army battles rebels in worsening war
Publish Date: Apr 19, 2014
S. Sudan army battles rebels in worsening war
Members of the White Army, a South Sudanese anti-government militia, attend a rally in Nasir on April 14, 2014. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

JUBA - South Sudan's army said on Saturday they had "lost communication" with commanders battling rebels in a key oil state where rebels have seized a major town, amid a worsening conflict engulfing the young nation.

However, army spokesman Malaak Ayuen said the situation was "all calm" in the flashpoint town of Bor, where at least 58 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded when gunmen stormed a UN base on Thursday.

The UN Security Council called the attack on the camp where thousands of civilians were sheltering an "outrage" that may "constitute a war crime".

Among the dead were children, and the UN has warned that the death toll could increase.

The top UN official in the war-torn nation, Toby Lanzer, praised peacekeepers for preventing what could have been a massacre of up to 5,000 people, and vowed the world body would use "lethal force" again to protect civilians under their protection.

In the north of the country in the troubled oil-state of Unity, the army is fighting rebels loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar, after the insurgents launched a renewed offensive targeting the young nation's key oil fields.

Rebel fighters recaptured the town of Bentiu on Tuesday, with UN peacekeepers reporting corpses littering the streets.

- Surge in fighting -

Bentiu, one of the most bitterly contested regions in the war, is the first major settlement to have been retaken since they started a renewed assault.

Rebels said the army had fled Bentiu in disarray and had seized large amounts of military equipment including artillery, but the army dismissed the reports and said it was staging a counterattack.

However, military headquarters in the capital Juba said they had not been able to get through to troops fighting on the ground since Thursday.

"There is a problem of lost communication...the telephones are not going through," Ayuen said.

It was not immediatly clear what has happened to the government force in Unity state, but rebels are reportedly extending attacks, including in the Melut and Renk areas of Upper Nile, another oil-producing state.

The conflict in South Sudan, which only won independence from Sudan in 2011 and is the world's youngest nation, has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes.

The fighting has been marked by reports and allegations of atrocities by both sides, with ethnic massacres, child soldier recruitment and patients raped and murdered in hospitals by attacking forces.

The surge in fighting in the four-month-long conflict comes amid warnings by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that more than one million people are at risk of famine in the war-torn country.

The fighting is between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir against mutinous troops who sided with Machar, sacked as vice-president in 2013.

The conflict has also taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting Kiir's Dinka tribe against militia forces from Machar's Nuer people.

Lanzer said measures had been taken to boost security at other UN bases in the country, which are sheltering close to 60,000 people from different ethnic groups.

"This past week has been the most bleak in South Sudan's history," Lanzer said on Friday.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Ebola-hit Liberia fires absentee ministers
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had told overseas ministers to return within a week as part of a state-of-emergency announcement on August 6...
Palestinians announce long-term Gaza truce
The Palestinians said Tuesday they had reached agreement with Israel on a "permanent" halt to seven weeks of bloodshed in and around Gaza although Israel was silent on the claimed deal....
War on Ebola could take six more months
UN officials have pledged to step up efforts against the lethal tropical virus, which has infected more than 2,600 and killed 1,427 since the start of the year...
IS will
The US military's top general believes Islamic State extremists will "soon" pose a threat to America and Europe and that an international coalition will be needed to confront it, his spokesman said Monday....
DR Congo confirms first two cases of Ebola
THE Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed its first two cases this year of Ebola but claimed they were unrelated to the epidemic ravaging West Africa...
Strong earthquakes shake Icelandic volcano
TWO strong earthquakes on Sunday shook Iceland's largest volcano, which is on red alert for imminent risk of eruption, the Icelandic Met Office said...
Do you think the National Census positively contributes to improved Livelihood in Uganda?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter