South Sudan Rebels Seize Bor as Peace Efforts Intensify

Bor, December 31, 2013 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s rebel forces loyal to South Sudanese former Vice president Dr. Riek Machar have recaptured Bor, the capital of Jonglei state.

The rebels seized the town early Tuesday.

The SPLA defected forces launched an attack on government troops early Tuesday, the South Sudan News Agency has learned.

The assault comes just one day after the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni threatened to use military force against rebel leader if he (Machar) refuses to accept a ‘ceasefire’.

Kampala’s interference in Juba’s internal affairs increases the tension between the warring forces, with people loyal to the rebels’ leader asserting that Museveni involvement will not deter them and want the International Community to stop the Ugandan leader.

Earlier this week, the Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora (ASSD), a US-based human rights group, condemned Uganda’s involvement in South Sudanese affairs and advised Addis Ababa and Nairobi ‘to stay neutral’.

“Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora (ASSD) condemns the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for his involvement in the internal South Sudanese Affairs”, says the statement.

“We would like to ask the UN, United States of America, African Union, Canada, United Kingdom, and Norway to intervene and ask Uganda to leave South Sudanese alone”, ASSD added.

Rebels’ spokesman Moses Ruai said their forces now control the strategic town.

“Bor is under our control … we are now in Bor town”, Ruai said.

Meanwhile, the SSNA has learned that both Machar and Kiir have agreed to peace talks expected to take place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The talks are likely to begin as early as this week.

The rebel leader, Dr. Machar, has also formed his negotiating team headed by Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, the widow of the South Sudanese charismatic leader and founder of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), late Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said today that his government is sending a negotiating team to Ethiopia as soon as possible.

"We are going there," Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin was quoted by the Reuters News Agency as saying.

Fighting erupted in Juba on December 15, between units of presidential guards…and at least 1000 people have been killed.

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