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Machar rebels claim to have recaptured strategic town of Mayom

April 21, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Rebels led by South Sudan’s ex-vice president, Riek Machar, said they were advancing towards neighbouring Warrap state after capturing Mayom, a strategic border town in Unity state on Monday morning.

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Rebel fighters aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar march in a village inside rebel-controlled territory in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 9 February 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

"Our troops this morning defeated Salva Kiir’s forces and took full control of Mayom town and its surroundings. This is a strategic area situated at the border with Warrap state," Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune by phone.

He said the town fell to the SPLM-in-Opposition on Monday at about 7am local time.

Dak claimed the SPLA suffered heavy causalities, adding that details from the fighting would be made available by the rebels’ military spokesperson later on.

South Sudan army spokesperson, however, dismissed the rebel claims as "untrue".

"The SPLA [Sudan Peoples Liberation Army] forces are in full control of Mayom county", Phillip Aguer said, but gave no details about the military situation there.

The fall of Mayom county, if independently confirmed, poses a direct threat to Warrap state, which is home to the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir.

The latest incident came barely a week after the opposition forces recaptured Unity state’s capital, Bentiu, including the oilfields in the state.