TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rebels surge anew in key South Sudan town

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
 

NAIROBI, Kenya — The fierce clashes to control the South Sudanese town of Bor on Tuesday represent a pivotal development in the 2-week-old conflict, giving rebels more clout in peace talks being held this week while potentially undermining President Salva Kiir's grip on the government and his ruling party.

After losing Bor little more than a week ago, loyalists of former vice president Riek Machar, who is leading the rebellion, stormed back in Tuesday morning, attacking government forces and seizing strategic parts of the town. By Tuesday night, it was unclear how much territory the rebels had captured, with some reports suggesting they were in full control.

Even as the fighting raged, American and African mediators were pushing the sides to attend peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and by afternoon, rebel and government officials announced they would send representatives, raising the prospects of a truce. Donald Booth, the U.S. special envoy to South Sudan, said in a statement that it is “an important first step, toward achieving a cessation of hostilities,” in the world's newest country.

Still, the situation in Bor remained tense, if unclear, lhours after the peace talks were announced, with both rebel and government forces refusing to back down. “There is fighting and confusion in Bor,” said South Sudanese military spokesman Philip Aguer. “We are not in contact with our commander.”

Taking over Bor could also deliver a strong blow to Kiir's ability to govern the country, analysts say. The town, the capital of the central state of Jonglei, is the stronghold of the Dinkas, Kiir's ethnic group and the largest one in South Sudan.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Yes or no? Scotland begins to tally vote on whether to split with England, Wales
  2. Obama, generals part ways on ground war in Iraq
  3. Aid to Ukraine uncertain as its leader visits U.S.
  4. Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
  5. With hours before secession vote, many in Scotland undecided
  6. Russia’s business world rattled by arrest of oil tycoon Yevtushenkov
  7. North Korea sentences American to 6 years of hard labor
  8. Poll: ‘No’ leads ‘yes’ in a close Scotland vote on independence from United Kingdom
  9. Diplomatic push swells against ISIS
  10. 3 troops killed in Taliban strike in Afghanistan
  11. Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.