S. Su­danese rebels claim troops killing civil­ians

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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