[QODLink]
Africa

South Sudan troops recapture town: rebels

Rebel spokesman says government troops destroyed 'everything on their path', and says they are violating ceasefire.

Last updated: 02 Feb 2014 11:51
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
There was no independent confirmation that the town of Leer had been seized [AFP]

South Sudan government forces have recaptured Leer, an important oil-producing area and the hometown of nominal rebel leader Riek Machar in the northern oil-producing state of Unity, a spokesman for the rebels has said.

Government soldiers and allied fighters "advanced on Leer town on February 1, 2014 destroying everything on their path. [President Salva] Kiir's forces burned down the whole of Leer town and the entire surrounding villages," read a statement from rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Koang on Sunday.

He said that the the government troops were attacking their positions in a deliberate attempt to derail peace talks, adding that the government troops were actively violating a ceasefire signed last week.

There was no independent confirmation that Leer had been seized.

Fleeing from violence

Doctors without Borders (MSF), a medical charity group, reported on Friday that a team of its local health workers had taken "several dozen of the most seriously ill patients from Leer hospital with them into the bush, fearing for their safety".

"Other patients who were well enough to leave of their own accord also fled, and there are no longer any patients or staff left at Leer hospital," MSF said.

Koang accused the government troops of having hunted down and killed women and children and elderly people who had gone to hide in nearby bushes and swampy areas.

"The latest destruction of Leer town... has no strategic, operational or tactical importance," the spokesman said, He accused Kiir of having merely derived "satisfaction" from destroying Machar's home town.

Since the South Sudan conflict started in mid-December both sides have traded accusations of abuses. The UN and rights groups report that both sides have committed atrocities.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict and more than 700,000 people have fled their homes in seven weeks of violence.

A ceasefire has theoretically been in place for almost 10 days but multiple violations have been reported.

316

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.