World Bulletin / News Desk
The South Sudanese army has urged locals who had fled the northern town of Bentiu, the capital of the Unity state, to return to their homes now that the town had been recaptured from the rebels.
Santio Deng Wol, an army general who led the troops in the recapture of Bentiu, said calm had returned to the town after two days of fighting between the South Sudanese army and the rebel forces.
He told Anadolu Agency that the town was now under the full control of the army.
Wol said his troops would hunt down the rebels who had snuck into neighboring regions.
Bentiu had been devastated by the fighting with the main market places burnt down and banks and government institutions looted, according to an AA reporter who made a tour of the town.
The South Sudanese army announced on Friday that it had retaken Bentiu from rebel forces loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Marchar.
Touring the town Sunday, South Sudanese Chief-of-Staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai, said his troops would be responsible for securing the town.
He denied reports that the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement had fought alongside his forces to recapture Bentiu.
Mai insisted that the ongoing fighting in South Sudan was not based on tribal affiliations, accusing the rebels of wanting to seize power.
He asserted that his troops would continue to advance on Bor, the strategic capital of the Jonglei state.
The chief-of-staff told AA his forces would enter Bor in a matter of a day or two.
AA could not get immediate reactions from the rebels.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The two warring rivals are currently engaged in peace talks in Addis Ababa in an attempt to resolve the crisis.Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2014, 09:56