World Bulletin / News Desk
Scores of civilians are fleeing Bor, capital of South Sudan's Jonglei State, amid renewed rebel attacks in the State.
"People fled the town when the rebels attacked Gadiang on Sunday, and again also Monday in other areas," Bor Mayor Nhial Majak Nhial told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
"Some people fled into nearby swamps, while others crossed into neighboring Lakes State," he said, adding the recent attacks had left local residents "very scared."
While some local observers put the number of those fleeing the city in the thousands, Nhial could not provide an exact figure.
In recent days, rebel forces loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar have stepped up attacks in South Sudan's Upper Nile and Jonglei states.
They have attacked army bases in Gelguk village in Upper Nile State's Longechuk County and in Gadiang, a town located roughly 80km north of Bor.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The violence has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.
The UN estimates that some 3.7 million South Sudanese are now "severely food insecure," while more than 867,000 have been displaced by the fighting.
Mayor Nhial suggested the stepped-up attacks were simply "scare tactics" by the rebels.
"They want the people to always feel unsafe," he said.
Nhial pointed out that the local authorities had already buried several thousand people killed when Bor had been in rebel hands at the outset of the conflict.
"We've buried 5,500 bodies, many of whom were of women, elderly and sick we recovered from hospital," Nhial added.
He went on to point to the existence of "evidence" that some bodies recovered from a local church had belonged to women who had been raped before being killed.
"First they raped them then shot them in the church," he alleged. "The rebels wanted ethnic cleansing here because there was no fighting in Bor."
"There was a battle 30km away. In Bor, they [the rebels] just walked in," he added. "There was nobody to stop them. All this happened from the night of December 17."
According to Nhial, Machar had been present in Bor when the alleged atrocities were committed.
"He was with the rebels who first entered the town. He and Peter Gatdet Yak were in control here when the massacres occurred," he asserted.
Spokesmen for Machar were not immediately available for comment.Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2014, 17:26