South Sudan army's sights on oil town Malakal after reclaiming Bor
JUBA (AFP) - South Sudanese troops fought on Sunday, Jan 20, 2014, to win back the key oil town of Malakal from rebels loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar, the army said, a day after reclaiming the strategic town of Bor.
The army said its troops were launching an offensive to retake the rebel-held southern portion of Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state and one of the main battlefields since fighting erupted last month between rival forces loyal to Mr Machar and President Salva Kiir.
Communications with forces on the ground have been spotty, but as of late Saturday, "they were preparing the final operation to clear the town," army spokesman Philip Aguer told Agence France-Presse.
Both rebels and the government have claimed in recent days to control the north-eastern town, which has already changed hands twice and where rebels launched a new offensive on Monday.