S. Sudanese rebels claim troops killing civilians
JUBA, South Sudan — Thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced and aid workers evacuated as rebels on Saturday accused government troops of advancing on their stronghold and killing civilians along the way.
Opposition spokesman William Gatjiath Deng said government troops have stepped up attacks in the past week in Mathiang in Longochuck County. The rebels have kept the troops from entering the rebel stronghold of Pagak but the fighting is getting worse, he said.
“The government is killing civilians, they’re burning down houses,” Deng said.
The reports of an offensive come as South Sudan prepares to mark the sixth anniversary of its independence today.
South Sudan’s military denied the rebels’ accusations, saying there were no scheduled military operations in the area and suggesting the opposition groups were fighting among themselves. The government earlier this year declared a unilateral ceasefire, but reports of fighting in several parts of the country have continued.
The United Nations said at least 25 aid workers have been evacuated from the Pagak area, which was established as the opposition headquarters when civil war began in late 2013.