January 19, 2014 (JUBA) – Homes, offices and the market have all been reduced to rubble following recent heavy fighting between the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and rebels in Jonglei state capital, Bor.
- This picture posted on Facebook by Jangdit Dengajok purportedly shows the destruction of Bor’s main market following weeks of heavy fighting in the Jonglei state capital
Jonglei caretaker governor John Kong says he is disappointed with the level of destruction, saying he blames rebels.
“They [rebels] destroyed everything”, Kong told reporters in Bor on Sunday.
Bor was recaptured by the SPLA on Saturday following three weeks of intense fighting between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and rebel fighters aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.
The capital of South Sudan largest state has changed hands several times since the fighting erupted in the national capital, Juba, a little over a month ago, spreading to other parts of the country soon after.
The SPLA airlifted 12 journalists in to Bor on Sunday, with pictures showing the extent of the damage to buildings in the market, government offices and homes.
Bor hospital has been looted and the bodies of patients can be seen still lying in wards, according to images broadcast by South Sudan Television (SSTV).
Dead bodies lie on the streets and entire residential areas have been emptied, a local reporter who visited Bor told Sudan Tribune on his return.
It was not immediately clear who is responsible for the destruction and the spokesman for the rebels could not be reached for comment.
The SPLA retook Bor on 25 December, but rebels later seized the flashpoint town on 31 December.
Rebel forces have confirmed that the SPLA is now in control of the town, but have claimed their withdrawal was tactical.
“There was no fight in Bor town. Our forces tactically withdrew and now preparing for the next move that will target a number of more strategic towns and locations”, Machar’s spokesperson, James Dak, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
Dak said the withdrawal was intended to lure in “the pro-Kiir forces and their Ugandan mercenaries”.
Uganda, which deployed troops to South Sudan to fight alongside the SPLA, has claimed credit for Bor’s recapture.