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South Sudan Rebels Seize Bentiu

Addis Ababa, October 29, 2014 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese rebels have on Wednesday afternoon (South Sudan local time) seized the capital of the oil-rich unity state, Bentiu, from the government troops.

The fighting occurred more than ten months after war broke out in Juba.

Bentiu had changed hands numerous times since the war erupted in late December last year.

Rebels military Spokesman, Brig. General Lul Ruai Koang, confirmed the seizure of Bentiu saying opposition forces have liberated Bentiu after government soldiers attacked their positions for two days.

“Our Gallant Resistance Fighters under overall command of Gen.Peter Gatdet Yak this afternoon liberated Bentiu town from Kiir's genocidal forces. In the last two day; the enemy has been attacking us 5km north and 7km south of Bentiu forcing our forces to return a barrage of fires in self-defense leading to the fall of the town”, Gen. Koang said.

“Our forces are consolidating their gains and pursuing these tribal militias towards Mayom and Pareng”, he added.

Koang also stated that Juba is funding the war from Upper Nile oil, and warned that anti-government forces are capable of launching a crippling blow against oil facilities if deems necessary.

Meanwhile, SPLA Spokesperson, Philip Aguer, called the fall of Bentiu a “lie”. Aguer further asserted that government forces took full control of the town after four hours of fierce battle.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and at least 1.5 million have fled the country as the fighting raged.

Peace negotiations are continuing in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, with little success.

Heavy fighting Erupts in South Sudan’s Upper Nile

Addis Ababa, October 10, 2014 (SSNA) -- Heavy fighting broke out between South Sudan's government soldiers and forces loyal to the former South Sudanese Vice president Dr. Riek Machar.

Heavy artillery shelling and machine gun fire were heard in and around Doleib Hill and Obele early Friday.

Rebels said their forces have captured Doleib and that they have inflicted heavy losses on government troops.

Meanwhile, the official spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, Philip Aguer dismissed rebels’ claim, saying that SPLA still controls large part of the Doleip.

Doleib Hill and Obel zones are located south of Malakal, the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

It is unclear which side started the fighting. However, both sides have already accused each other of breaking the truce.

Rebel sources told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that government soldiers have been bombing their positions since early October, stressing that they have not started the recent fighting. Government sources also rejected rebels’ claims and stated that rebels have been bombarding their sites for days.

South Sudan Air Force Personnel Defected to the Rebels

Addis Ababa, September 13, 2014 (SSNA) -- Air Force military officers and Engineers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to South Sudanese president salva kiir Mayardiit have joined the rebels, saying their decision to join the SPLM/A-in Opposition is a result of lack of diversity in the army.

The officers also accused South Sudan’s government of tribalism.

In a press conference held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the defected personnel explained some of the reasons why they decided to leave the government’s side.

“…training opportunities for South Sudanese joining the Air Force does not reflect diversity; for instance, the first batch comprised of 32 pilots, 21 of which were from Dinka tribe, the remaining 63 tribes were represented by just 11 pilots”, the statement reads in part.

“…poor promotion policy: Officers who joined the Air Force in 2007 have never been promoted and in some situations, promotions are based on ethnicity, and Poor maintenance and services police, up to two-thirds of the fleet is grounded due to corrupt practices by successive Air Force Commanders who would misappropriate funds meant for maintenance and services”, the statement added.

The names of the defected personnel are:

1. 1st Lt. Tut Jock Bov, Chief Air Force, Ground Engineer
2. 1st Lt. Pito Adwok Nyaba, Fixed Wing Pilot
3. Sgt. Ocholla Joseph, Flight Engineer
4. Pvt. Khan David Bidit, MI-17 Helicopter Pilot
5. Pvt. Liech Domach Ruei, Air Traffic Controller 
6. Mr. Riang Ruei Duop, Senior Manager, South Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority

The Director of Military Information and Military Spokesman for the SPLA-in Opposition, Federal Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, praised the newly arrived officers. Koang declares that their defection will help reinforce the establishment of Air Force in the rebels’ controlled areas and counter the Ugandan air power.

“These are some of the best trained air servicemen; some of whom received training in South Africa, Ethiopia, Russia and the United States of America. Their defection to SPLA (Opposition) is a major blow to Juba. Their presence in the resistance movement will facilitate establishment of Air Force in liberated areas as well as help in countering UPDF’s Air force which had dominated the skies of South Sudan since the Civil War broke out on 15th December 2013”, Koang said in the statement seen by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).

The deserted SPLA personnel also said that the government of South Sudan used Air Force to transport Militias and SPLA regular soldiers who participated in the killing of innocent civilians in Juba late last year.

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