May 4, 2014 (JUBA/KAMPALA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) says it recaptured rebel stronghold Nasir in Upper Nile state and Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, the government and rebels confirmed to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
- A South Sudanese government soldier stands in front of a vehicle in South Sudan’s Unity State on 12 January 2014 (AP)
The SPLA spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer on Sunday told Sudan Tribune that Nasir, which is on the north side of the Sobat River 30 kilometres from the Ethiopian border is in the hands of government forces, adding that the SPLA had also recaptured Bentiu.
Aguer further said the army has retaken Nasir from the rebels in response to rebel constant attacks.
“It was used by rebels as a base to attack Malakal,” he said.
“We have a constitutional duty to protect the country. we are not violating cessation of hostilities agreement,” Aguer said.
A rebel official from Nasir confirmed to Sudan Tribune their tactical withdrawal from the town, adding “It’s just a matter of time. Our forces will soon flush them out of the area”.
The attacks on rebel positions in the two towns started Saturday night according to the rebels who accused the Sudanese rebel groups of taking part in the two operations.
South Sudan rebel commander in Unity state Maj.Gen. James Koang Chuol has confirmed the recapture of Bentiu town and accused the Sudanese rebel groups of JEM and SPLA-N of participating in the attack besides the South Sudanese army.
The Sudanese rebel groups deny involving their fighters in the South Sudanese conflict.
Chuol vowed that his troops will soon re-seize Bentiu, adding “We will kick them out soon, it will not take us some days or hours”.