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S. Sudan rebels deny Bentiu recapture by government forces

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January 1, 2014 (BENTIU) - South Sudanese rebels in Unity state have dismissed as "rubbish" a statement by the former rebel South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), who claimed to have recaptured Mayom county, particularly the oil producing Manga and Tor areas from dissent forces loyal to ex-vice president Riek Machar.

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South Sudan Liberation Army’s (SSLA) rebels in Unity state, August 2011 (ST)

Peter Riak Gew, a spokesperson for the rebels confirmed that their forces on Wednesday clashed with government troops in Abiemhnom county, saying they they repulsed the latter back to neighbouring Warrap state.

“Our people here including those living in Mayom were surprised by the false reports aired out by Miraya FM radio and other media outlet claiming that Mayom and other places are under government control", Gew said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

The Rebel spokesperson was reacting to a statement released by the SSLA spokesperson Gordon Buay who claimed Wednesday morning that their troops, which merged with the regular army, recaptured Mayom on the first day of 2014.

"The SPLA forces, under the command of Maj. Gen. Mathews Pul Jang, captured Mayom, Timor, Parieng and Manga in one day on Jan, 1st, 2014 and are now advancing to Bentiu town", reads a statement Buay released.

Buay further accused the rebel Gen. James Koang of planning to blow up a bridge connecting Bentiu with the other counties in Unity state to prevent SPLA tanks to cross the river, warning that such action "would amount to a war crime".

But Gew said forces loyal to South Sudan’s former vice-president Riek Machar were "strong enough" to defend Unity state.

"The fourth division has not lost control of any of Unity state since it mutinied”, he stressed.

Large parts of Jonglei state’s division of SPLA defected last month days after fighting broke out mid-December in the South Sudanese capital, Juba between members of the presidential guard.

Koang who defected and took control of the army’s fourth division in Unity state on Saturday 21 December, last week told Sudan Tribune that oil production was halted and oil workers evacuated on 25 December.

ARMY SILENT

Meanwhile, the SPLA has not commented on reports that its forces were moving towards Unity state capital, Bentiu, in a bid to retake the town from dissent forces.

“Forces loyal to the former vice-president Riek Machar still control Bentiu … It is just a matter of time before the SPLA restores law and order in the state”, the army spokesperson Colonel Phillip Aguer said on Wednesday without giving further details.

Over 1,000 people have died in the fighting and some 200,000 people displaced by the conflict. Negotiations between the rebels and the government are scheduled to begin on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

(ST)

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  • 2 January 08:25, by Gat Gan Kiir

    Poor Buay must refrain from lies, this time is not a time for propaganda sits time for action. Being talkative by feeling lies would not help, juba itself would be on fire before 10 Jan, Mark my words. 40% of army in juba declared their locality to Dr. Machar and un accountable army are on their way to Juba. It’s matter of days. Freedom must reign now

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    • 2 January 08:37, by Adok Wolu

      stooge Gordon Buay, still a malitia who is not yet integrated to the spla, he is reporting rubbish in a hide, why don,t u come out and face the war ? let me assure u that it will never happen in the history of unity state that, stooge capture it from the most strongest Nuer in Bentiu,remind your snuf eater mr Franco Duoth to refrain from telling liar to maraya yesterday.

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  • 2 January 09:16, by wang

    I think that hopeless so called Gordon Buay and his groups are missing their payments from their BOSS Kiir...for not doing their tasks properly, but he (Gordon Bauy) doesn’t know that lairs is bad manner in the Nuer Community...also he is (Gordon Buay) good example that people can take notes on him when he publicly swears to god last time that he will bring those who have had rebelled against the

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  • 2 January 09:17, by wang

    also he is (Gordon Buay) good example that people can take notes on him when he publicly swears to god last time that he will bring those who have had rebelled against the govtz within 3days period if they don’t surrender themselves to govtz....by force

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    • 2 January 09:39, by Malakal county Simon

      Bentui its our strong holdits its not a captutred, and will never be captur
      Democracy oyee!!
      South Sudan Oyee!!
      Dr Machar Oyee!!

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      • 2 January 11:56, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

        Riek’s struggle for political leadership has spiraled into military and tribal camps simply to avoid the upcoming elections of 2015 where campaigns would be based on track record, not what is so-called “warriors” taken entirely on tribal dimensions. Nuer alone can never defend militarily the three States where they hail from without support of Dinka and the other tribes of South Sudan.

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        • 2 January 11:57, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

          If some Nuer, like “white army”, claim to be warriors, why did they fail to wipe out SPLA/M from 1991-2002 when SPLA/M was still fighting guerilla warfare? Why did they fail to wipe out SAF from their land, as they are trying to do against Dinka in towns and UNMISS compounds, in order to liberate South Sudan and rule it without support of the other tribes?

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          • 2 January 11:58, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

            Why did Riek and his “white army” fail to make a coup attempt to the NCP-led government or raise political leadership question to Khartoum Islamic-led government when they were in the same bed from 1991 up to 2002? Why do Riek and his retarded army commanders and the white army believe that South Sudan can be possibly ruled along tribal line?

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            • 2 January 11:58, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

              Why would Riek believe that “white army” including forces under James Koang and Peter Gadet would be able to exterminate the Dinka-led government of Cde. Salva Kiir Mayardit, protect the nation from foreign aggression and rule it without support of any Dinka and other tribes? Is Riek Machar a perfect proof to Khartoum’s claim that South Sudanese cannot govern themselves?

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              • 2 January 11:59, by LabotoNyom KobiYe

                Popular opinion indicates that infrastructural development and service delivery is important regardless of regional and international effort to resolve the outstanding issues with Khartoum since 2005; but Riek Machar’s opinion indicates that eight years is enough for President Salva. He’s worried when will his turn to rule South Sudan come regardless of his track record and the upcoming elections?

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                • 2 January 14:21, by Mayom County Boy

                  TO" Lobot Nyom Kobiye
                  you remain for five days only.
                  i know it very well you will be capture after five days if fighting took place in juba ,believe me and you will cry like a woman who is husband was kill .

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                  • 2 January 16:55, by Bentiu son

                    Mad Dinka dog aka Gordon Buay stop feeding the public with fib n baseless allegations which had no sense at all.Gordon Buay do you think your boss Salva Kiir will trust you when you feed him with lies or false news? No man, be careful,the foolish BEG Dinka will get rid of you if you don’t stop ruunning after them.Mayom County is under their beloved Son Dr Riek Machar Teny

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