S. Sudanese rebels attack more areas
Monday, February 24, 2014
JUBA - The South Sudan authorities admitted on Monday that rebel forces loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar were attacking more areas in the Upper Nile and Jonglei states.
"They are attacking our bases in several places," Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Col. Phillip Aguer told reporters in Juba.
He said the rebels had attacked army bases in Gelguk village in Upper Nile State's Longechuk County.
"It was at night when they attacked Gelguk, but SPLA forces repulsed them," he added.
The military spokesman said the rebels also attack Gadiang, a town about 80km north of Jonglei State capital Bor.
"They were repulsed three times and 173 of them were killed, while our forces lost ten men and 20 others were injured," he added.
Aguer said the rebels were also currently occupying Jonglei State's Duk County.
"They attacked the county headquarters, Mareng, last evening and are currently there," he said.
"They have also destroyed government and residential buildings in the town," he added.
Asked about the fate of Bor, the army spokesman said the provincial capital was safe.
"They're not in a capacity to advance on Bor," Aguer said.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.
The UN estimates that some 3.7 million South Sudanese are now "severely food insecure," while more than 867,000 have been displaced by the fighting.
MP Deng Dau of Jonglei's Twic East County told the National Legislative Assembly on Monday that the rebels had occupied Padiet area.
"We have information that they are now in Padiet and Duk County, causing a lot of havoc," he said.
Philip Thon Leek Deng, MP for Jonglei's Duk County, said the rebels had also attacked the county's Ageer Payam area.
"This morning they ransacked Ageer Payam; fighting is still going on with the area's youth," he told AA.
Asked whether the armed forces were involved in the fighting, the lawmaker said the army was nowhere to be found.
"There are no SPLA forces in Duk; it is area youth who have mobilized to fight them," Deng said.
"But they [local youth] aren't well equipped and it's difficult for them. The fighting is a hit-and-run battle," he explained.
He noted that rebel forces in Duk were being commanded by former government officers from the area.
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