Machar rebels say SPLA has taken Bentiu after signing peace deal

South Sudan government soldiers take full control of Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity State, amidst heavy fighting, despite a peace deal signed with the rebels at the weekend.

Rebel spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang accused government troops of launching attacks on their defensive positions with heavy artillery in Upper Nile State at Kaldak, Canal, Wei-Mabor, Khor-Fulus and Phom El Zaraf.

Brig Gen Koang says “for second consecutive day, few government troops supported by JEM, SPLA-North, Janjaweed, SLA-Mannawi, SLA-Abdall-Wahid fighters and SSLA/M militias continued to violate Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan by recapturing Benitu, capital of oil producing Unity State”.

He says “The enemy forces that have re-occupied the area are currently conducting indiscriminate, intensive and extensive shelling of surrounding villages with heavy artillery and other combat support weapons.”

According to rebels, the recapturing of Bentiu comes at a time when commanders from SPLA (Opposition) and military officers from the government are busy developing Implementation Modalities for the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement Matrix.

They say they reserve the right to self defense.