South Sudan Army Says Repels Rebel Attacks on Positions near Bor
Khartoum- the South Sudanese army said on Sunday it had repulsed three rebel attacks on its positions near the market town of Bor, which is regarded as a gateway to the capital Juba. Thousands have been killed and more than 800,000 have fled their homes since fighting began in South Sudan two months ago, triggered by a power struggle between President SalvaKiir and RiekMachar, his former deputy whom he sacked in July.
The warring sides in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country after seceding from Sudan in 2011, signed a ceasefire on January 23 but sporadic clashes have continued. Bor, situated 190 km (120 miles) to the north of Juba by road, has changed hands at least three times since December when fighting broke out between SPLA troops loyal to the government and rebel forces.
“SPLA positions were attacked this morning three times in northern Bor, in the Gadiang (area), but the attacks were repulsed. They attacked from six, seven, eight this morning,” SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer has told Reuters via telephone. Rebel officials were not immediately available for comment.
The raids near Bor followed a rebel assault on Tuesday on Malakal, capital of the main oil-producing Upper Nile region in the north of the deeply impoverished and chaotic country. Control of Malakal is split between the army and rebels since forces loyal to Machar raided the town and fought government troops. Aguer said that it was just a matter of time before the government retook Malakal from the rebels.
A petroleum ministry official told Reuters on Thursday that national oil output had fallen to about 170,000 barrels per day even before the rebel strike on Malakal, a dip of around a third since the fighting erupted in December. The fighting in Malakal has jeopardized peace talks in Addis Ababa, already delayed by rebel demands for the release of four remaining detainees and the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan. (Reuters)
Car bomb kills nine people in Syrian town of Atmeh: activists
Damascus – At least nine people were killed in a car bomb attack on Sunday near a field hospital in the Syrian town of Atmeh near the border with Turkey, activists said. The hospital is owned by GhassanAboud, a Gulf-based businessman who runs Orient Television, which said at least 10 people were killed.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Syria is in the throes of civil war and Atmeh is in territory held by rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. “There are 50 casualties and they are being transported to Bab al-Hawa (crossing) and to another hospital in Atmeh,” said witness AbdallahSaleh. The hospital was damaged, he said.
The revolt against Assad erupted in March 2011 with protesters calling for more rights. It turned to a militarized uprising under the heavy crackdown of Assad’s security forces. Now, Islamist fighters, including jihadis from across the world, have eclipsed secular groups and are also at war with each other in much of Syria, with the Nusra Front and other Islamists fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)- a group disavowed by al Qaeda. (Reuters)