World Bulletin / News Desk
The South Sudanese army insisted on Tuesday that it had assumed "full control" of Malakal, capital of the country's oil-rich Upper Nile State.
Army spokesman Philip Aguer told Anadolu Agency that his troops were in full control of the city after fighting off rebel forces for more than half a day.
He added that army forces had managed to capture hundreds of weapons from fleeing rebels.
Earlier Tuesday, forces loyal to sacked South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar had claimed they had recaptured Malakal.
This comes just three days after nearly 200 people fleeing ongoing violence in the town were killed on Sunday when the ferry on which they were traveling sank in the Nile River.
Philip Jiben, information minister for South Sudan's Upper Nile State, said the victims had been trying to flee an alleged assault on the town of Malakal – located on the banks of the White Nile – by forces loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar.
According to Jiben, more than 255 people were aboard the boat when it sank.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
As peace talks unfold, fighting has continued to rage on the ground in a number of South Sudanese states.
Two days ago, the government announced it had recaptured Bentiu, capital of Unity State.
More than 1,000 people have reportedly been killed and over 180,000 displaced in the recent unrest.Last Mod: 15 Ocak 2014, 09:42