S Sudan army says takes back Bentiu

2014-01-10 22:20
A wrecked military vehicle on in the town of Bor, days after it was recaptured by forces loyal to the government of Salva Kiir. (Samir Bol, Topshots/AFP)

A wrecked military vehicle on in the town of Bor, days after it was recaptured by forces loyal to the government of Salva Kiir. (Samir Bol, Topshots/AFP)

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Nairobi - South Sudan's army regained the rebel-held town of Bentiu on Friday, handing the government control of Unity state's oilfields where production had been halted, the military's spokesperson said.

"It happened this afternoon at 14.30," army spokesperson Philip Aguer told Reuters. "When you control Bentiu you control all the oil fields in Unity state."

It was not clear when oil production will resume as foreign companies have evacuated workers.

Three weeks of fighting, often along ethnic faultlines, has pitted President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces against rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar and brought the oil-exporting nation close to civil war. More than a thousand people have been killed in the unrest.

Bentiu had been one of two state capitals held by rebel troops loyal to Machar.

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