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Iran Press TV

Rebels stop advance on Bor, says South Sudan

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:8PM GMT

South Sudan's government says thousands of fighters loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar have halted an advance on a major town in the violence-hit country.

South Sudanese government spokesman Michael Makuei said on Sunday that most of the fighters "have returned home."

"According to our sources local Lou and Dau Nuer chiefs have convinced the youths," he said, adding, "So it looks like things are calming down, unless" there is another mobilization.

Jonglei state's acting governor Ogato Chan also said the fighters were around 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the state capital of Bor, which is presently controlled by government troops.

"The situation in the town -- Bor -- is calm," Chan said. "The information is that they want to come and attack Bor but I am sure they will not attempt to do it because the SPLA forces will repulse them."

Juba has said former vice president Machar has recruited as many as 25,000 fighters from his Nuer tribe in the eastern Jonglei state.

However, rebel spokesman Moses Ruai Lat has stated that Machar was "not mobilizing his tribe," as he described the men as regular soldiers who had rejected the Juba government and were not particularly drafted by Machar.

Earlier on Sunday, a spokesman for the UN mission in South Sudan expressed concern over the reported advance of the rebels towards Bor, saying it must be stopped "to avoid further bloodshed."

The fighting began in South Sudan on December 15 after President Salva Kiir accused Machar of attempting to stage a coup.

MR/HN/AS



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