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KUEK/JUBA - 14 Jun 2017

South Sudan’s rival forces claim control of Kuek town

File photo: William Gatjiath (left) and Santo Domic (right)
File photo: William Gatjiath (left) and Santo Domic (right)

Government troops and opposition forces allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar on Wednesday claimed control of Kuek area, a strategic northern Upper Nile state town near the Sudanese border.

South Sudanese rebels announced Monday the capture of Kuek area, saying they defeated the government troops after fierce battles over the weekend.

SPLA spokesperson Col. Santo Domic told Radio Tamazuj this afternoon that their forces are still in control of their positions in Kuek, although rebel forces attacked their positions but they were repulsed around 4:30 pm.

Santo accused the SPLA-IO forces of violating the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir to create an enabling environment for the national dialogue process.

Santo also claimed that their forces at Adham area near Renk town came under heavy attack by rebels on Tuesday but they were repulsed.

For his part, the military spokesperson for the rebels, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng denied Domic’s claims, saying their forces are still in control of Kuek area.

“I want to confirm that the SPLA-IO forces have been in full control of Kuek town since Sunday. Sincerely, the government forces on Tuesday took control of small villages around Kuek but our forces are in control of the town,” he said.