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Rebels say they have recaptured Unity state’s Bentiu from South Sudan army


April 15, 2014 (KAMPALA) – South Sudanese rebels say they have seized control of Unity state capital Bentiu following heavy clashes with government forces loyal to president Salva Kiir.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) on guard in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s Unity state on 12 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The spokesperson for rebel leader Riek Machar, James Gatdet Dak, said while he had been unable to reach Machar directly, he had confirmed the capture of the key oil-rich town from other sources on the ground, including rebel military spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Riek Gew and eyewitnesses inside the UN base in Bentiu.

“I could hear the ululations of people in the background celebrating its recapture and I couldn’t hear gun shots which suggested that the fighting was over inside the town,” he said.

“To me, the town has fallen to our forces,” he added.

Fighting resumed early on Tuesday inside Bentiu town after rebels entered the city about 6am (local time).

The spokesman for the South Sudanese army (SPLA), Phillip Aguer, earlier denied rebel claims that government troops had been forced to pull back.

“It is not true. The SPLA forces yesterday (Monday) repulsed the attack of Riek Machar rebels, who came from Sudan. Our forces are now in control,” he told Sudan Tribune.

According to Gew, rebels were tracking fleeing SPLA soldiers who were seen heading towards Nhialdiu payam (district) and has urged them to surrender.

Meanwhile, Maj-Gen Peter Gatdet Yaka and Maj-Gen James Koang Chuol, who led the operation, have issued an ultimatum to SPLA soldiers and their commanders, warning them to surrender or risk being killed while hiding in the bush.

According to Dak, Koang, a former SPLA commander who defected to the rebels’ side earlier this year, is expected to to officially take over the administration.

Heavy fighting broke out between rebels and the SPLA around remote oil installations in the north of Unity state over the weekend.

Rebels say the SPLA instigated the fighting after its troops attacked rebel positions, a claim the army has denied.

Multiple sources in the region said heavy gun fire resumed on Monday afternoon and continued on Tuesday morning, forcing civilians to flee to UN camps in Rubkona.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said 10 employees from the Safinat Caspian oil refining company were wounded on Monday when fighting broke out near an oilfield located about 25km north-west of Bentiu.

Five of the 10 employees were wounded, with two said to be in critical condition

A massive government force has been stationed in Unity state since rebel forces were ousted in January.

It is not known how many rebel fighters were involved in the latest offensive.

The eruption of fighting in Unity state comes as the latest blow to a ceasefire deal signed between the South Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition.

Bentiu has changed hands several times since conflict erupted in the nation’s capital, Juba, in mid-December last year before spreading to other areas across the country.

Rebels are demanding the release of four political detainees, who are currently on trial for treason in connection to an alleged plot to overthrow the government, which it claims sparked the violence.

They have also called for the immediate withdrawal of Ugandan troops who are currently providing military support to the SPLA.

The international community has also called for the pull-out of foreign troops, saying it is inflaming tensions in the volatile country.

Machar has also warned against the deployment of foreign troops around oil installations in Upper Nile and Unity states, urging peacekeeping forces with the UNMISS to exercise their mandate.

Peace talks currently being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have failed to halt the violence, with both sides accusing each other of violating the terms of the 23 January ceasefire deal.

Attempts by Sudan Tribune to contact Aguer for official comment on the latest developments have so far been unsuccessful.


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  • 15 April 2014 10:15, by Mi diit

    Bentiu is liberated from Mrs Akiir’s militias and foreign mercenaries. Next target is Warrap in Bahr el Ghazal. We told you guys that you will not be in South Sudan during the rainy season. By August Kiir will go to Uganda or CAR.

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    • 15 April 2014 10:28, by Chol A.

      Midiit do’t rush yet spent one week to month in it n good luck if you rich warrap otherwise lick my ass.

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      • 15 April 2014 16:13, by Abyei Soil

        I doubt whether these rebels group see their affected people way back home they are suffering, a leader of the people can not do that what soever. In my view, riek is just carrying out destruction not a single progress in development and that already failed him.Any cliques behind him are failure altogether.

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    • 15 April 2014 10:38, by Big Boy

      Dear Food-lover Mi diit
      What you are doing with this war is not change, but is the way of getting food and destructed the country bro.if not why do you sacrifices these unfortunate Nuer people were poors? so that the Food lover leader could stay in power and continue enjoying what little wealth the poor nuer has.

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    • 15 April 2014 10:42, by Mi diit

      Look at this confused Philip Aguer. He talks of Monday while professional Mr. James Gatdet Dak talks about the fresh incident on Tuesday morning inside Bentiu town. Aguer is either proud of being a “logical liar” or clings to outdated information. Either way is wrong and unreliable.

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      • 15 April 2014 13:47, by Ayom Ayom

        Who is violating the Cessation of hostilities? I think government may not even allow rebels to last for long in Bentiu, since Unity state is bordering Bhar El Ghazal Region, hence no peace, war continues, tit for tat

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        • 15 April 2014 16:44, by Thokidine

          Ayom yom, u are just a barking dog, if no peace, this fight will end up in ur mother’s hut despite ur bribed JEM, Uganda and SPLM-N. Shame on big gov’t who use foreign forces to fight just a tribe. where were ur strength u been preaching around that u liberated S.Sudan fm North? Pray for this peace, if it fails, u know what will follow. Malakal & Bor are going to fall soon in this April and

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    • 15 April 2014 13:13, by Mapuor

      Nyagaats will never win the current war.Hunger will finish devils and prophets of doom.War should be taken to its heights so that friendly forces security is maintained,fifth column should not be spared.

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    • 15 April 2014 15:08, by Tong dut

      @ TO ALL REBELS,
      You must capture president Kiir right now, go back to juba,in
      somall number,and arrange this time very well, It is a small deal.

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    • 15 April 2014 18:13, by what the hell

      Nuer will never rule South Sudan done even think about it that is a dream that will never happen in this life time, especially that idiot Call Riek do you what Riek Mean in Dinka or Nuer it’s mean distraction, the only way for peace in south Sudan is for Riek to Die and it will happen Soon,death to Riek Machar

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  • 15 April 2014 10:51, by Fundamental Change icon

    I think after taking over Bentiu,the rebels should straight away go and massacre Kiir’s home village in NBGS so that he could feel the pain of human loss and contents to the proposed interim govt without him otherwise for as long as Kiir’s clan is never atttacked he will not sign for peace as he looks at thousand lives so far lost as cockroaches.Bravo Riek!

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    • 15 April 2014 15:46, by Dengda

      This what suppose to happened earlier, Don’t destory our greater upper nile while Kiir Bareghazel enjoying our resources claimed with our blood from Arab, Kiir is now selling country to Arab and Uganda. please go to Warrap and teach them alesson they will never forget. don’t your own people and supporters. Look at the political detainees they are from Greater Upper nile. Kiir had released his bro

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  • 15 April 2014 10:55, by Mack

    Why are your rebels looting and killing Bul Nuer Civilians and State Government Officials? They have killed a deputy information minster.

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    • 15 April 2014 11:58, by Gatkuoth

      Mack, That deputy information minister does not exist in state...may in Juba level. I guess you are not a South Sudanese or else you are planting lies

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  • 15 April 2014 11:43, by Letigolight

    My advice to the opposition; this is a justified war, in fact Riak would have been on the presidential seat in Juba now, but you need to respect the rules of war, ensure the safety of all civilians and combatants whom you happen to defeat, let tribalism go down with Kiir - All will be on your side NOW!

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    • 15 April 2014 12:03, by Wicdail

      You hit the point buddy. This war is ethically justified. Because according to the duty ethics, you can retaliate in self-defence and honour, as long as you are not the aggressor or invader. Nuer acts aggressively in self-defence and honour when their loves ones were mass murdered by Kirr militias in Juba and want to kill thier leaders as well.

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      • 15 April 2014 12:05, by Wicdail

        My congratulations to our freedom fighters and my condolences to those who lose their lives to liberated Unity State, from this savage leadership of Kirr Murdit. Bentiu has fallen into the hands of our fighters forces at 8am Sudan local time and Kirr loyalists’ forces and foreign their allies have been chased towards Nhialdiu with hot pursue until they surrender or kill. If not because Kirr and hi

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        • 15 April 2014 12:07, by Wicdail

          Coun. If not because Kirr and his supporters are so stupid, how do they imagine that the population of Nuer in Unity State could live in wildness while (them) the alien and those whom they bought with own resources could enjoy life and kill innocents people whom they thought are supporting them? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 15 April 2014 12:15, by wang

    I rather leave or keep Ugandans alive than those SPLA thugs....South Sudan is not a safe place for Dinka and those Nuer-sellout....Well-done to Freedoms Fighter...

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  • 15 April 2014 12:22, by Jalaby

    This is amazing picture! so you want to convince us that Jonobean fighters are now copying Darfourian fighters and wearing Turbans?!

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    • 15 April 2014 12:29, by Jalaby

      Well, Darfourian fighters are known to wear "Hijab", in fact many "hijabs" on their hands and bodies,will SPLA fighters wear "Hijab" too along with the turbans?!
      In order for SPLA to wear "Hijab" they need to be Muslims first,so are you telling me that Darfourian fighters converted SPLA fighters to Islam! What a brilliant job that Darfourian fighters have ever done! LOL

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      • 15 April 2014 14:17, by Majongdit

        I keep talking to you ya madam but you fail to understand. If pure Arabs failed to islamize us, how else do you think Darfur could? I know why you cry. We got separated from you in your watchful eyes. we woke up the Fur, Beja, Funj and the Nuba. If we fully support them, the destination will be non other than Khartoum. So, keep quite ya "jana ahram"

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        • 15 April 2014 15:58, by Jalaby

          The war between Jonobean and Arab is over and now the war is between mighty Nuer and coward Dinka, this is a salvage war and mighty Nuer will soon announce the victory and salvage all freedom lovers from Dinka slavery, please have your ass ready idiot Majong! LOL LOL

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          • 15 April 2014 22:14, by Rommel

            Other than being incredibly incoherent, you’re delusional. And don’t think that we don’t know that you’re trying to rile people up. ’Mighty Nuer’? LOL! You employed the services of certain members of these ’mighty’ people against the Dinka during the war... And -guess what- it didn’t work.

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    • 15 April 2014 18:12, by what the hell

      Nuer will never rule South Sudan done even think about it that is a dream that will never happen in this life time, especially that idiot Call Riek do you what Riek Mean in Dinka or Nuer it’s mean distraction, the only way for peace in south Sudan is for Riek to Die and it will happen Soon,death to Riek Machar

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  • 15 April 2014 12:57, by Lotoroboy

    “We have spoken to Gen.Puljang on the phone and told him to surrender and join us or we will catch him alive and deal with him. So far he’s not heeding to our calls but we have given him up to 5 hours to make up his mind”, Koang warned.
    Maj. Gen. Koang, now backed by the notorious Maj. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka, the overall commander of the anti-government operations in Jonglei state, has earlier ca

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  • 15 April 2014 12:58, by Lotoroboy

    Maj. Gen. Koang, now backed by the notorious Maj. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka, the overall commander of the anti-government operations in Jonglei state, has earlier called on Gen. Puljang to “surrender or risked being caught alive.” Reports are yet to confirm the fates of Gen. Mathew Puljang.

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  • 15 April 2014 13:49, by Letigolight

    Another heart attack for Kiir, his dougle has lost strength due to lack of blood supply and I am sure he will not fuck his concubines - Ann Itto and Nunu Kumba very well tonight, they will try to twist it around to make it respond but will finally bend down in fear! We shall look for these women other husbands to do a satisfying job!

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    • 15 April 2014 14:13, by Malakal county Simon

      Its on, Kuacjok is our next target follow by Kiir departure to Uganda!!!!

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      • 15 April 2014 15:18, by Tong dut

        The so call KiiR HUNTING DOGS,Ugandan must be kill in south sudan, for young ones cut their face like Nuer and sent them back to ugandan.Burn down all the oil fiel,so that no money will come out to south sudan.

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  • 15 April 2014 16:29, by Kim Deng

    The Nuer (the only threat to Dinka Kingdom in the South) patience for their unquestionable love to the mother land (South Sudan) gave Dinka all the opportunity they needed to expand their power in the South. The more wealth and powerful the Dinka become, the more able they are to further expand their empire. Such, we have seen that the Dinka Kingdom has been using the SPLA not only to...

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  • 15 April 2014 16:30, by Kim Deng

    eliminate Nuer leaders, but also to destroy/reverse Nuer History [Nuer Conquest/Expansion-Nuer resistance against colonial rule.] By 2016, the non-Dinka tribes across Dinka Kingdom especially the Nuer who never surrender to any colonial or Kingship will be subdue to the maximum.

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  • 15 April 2014 16:32, by Kim Deng

    When Nuer value is not longer adequate to hold the community together instead of self-interests, the community faces big challenges. In other words, putting nationalism above Nuer interest, Nuer interest faces the gravest crisis it has never encountered since 1800s. Neither condemnation nor blaming will change the course the rising-empire took.

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  • 15 April 2014 16:35, by Kim Deng

    Which means, the rising-Kingdom must not be deterred by words; rather, it must be engaged with strategies follow by actions. Had the Nuer ever wished to occupy the whole greater Upper Nile, from Renk to Mading Bor and from Ruweng/Biemnom to Buma-Gambella, it seems unlikely that the other coward Jurs (Jaang, Teet, Bar, Chai…) could have stopped them.

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  • 15 April 2014 17:01, by Kim Deng

    The Mighty Nuer Warriors’ next target is poor Warrap. It’s a matter of time before the whole BEG burned down to ashes.

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    • 15 April 2014 17:47, by Mapuor

      Dear brothers,Riek and his illiterate generals will never win this war.Only a mad man can think of bringing about democracy using savages.Who is Gadet Yaka?He is an illiterate who divided Nuer of Bul into Ghok and Kuec,his going to Bentiu will only revive Kuec/Ghok war.Those who talked of greater Bhar El Gazal were not there during the war of liberation.90% of SPLA forces were from greater Bh

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      • 15 April 2014 17:53, by Mapuor

        The current rebelion has revived tribalism to its fullest state.People of Bhar El Gazal will never accept to be ruled by thugs come what may.More over,power stayed in Upper Nile for 21 years,it must do the same in the other two regions.Any Satan who rejects this fairness on what ever grounds must leave our country very fast.

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        • 16 April 2014 08:48, by Mapuor

          Hahahah regionalization of the conflict. which was started by the disgruntled group has already began.Khartoum and Addis are supporting rebels while Egypt will not wait to see its potential allies defeated.Dinkas and Nuer have enough redundant youth to do the fighting since their youth abhor farming.Hoooo Renaissance damp must surely die.Riek will be overwhelmed and defeated,SPLA OYEEEEEE

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