SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 11, 2014

South Sudan retakes oil town from rebels

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudanese troops yesterday retook the capital of an oil-producing state from rebels loyal to the country’s former vice president, a military spokesman said.

Government troops retook Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, after a 21/2-hour battle, Col. Philip Aguer said.

Aguer said the forces loyal to the former vice president, Riek Machar, had “destroyed” the town. Rebels looted the bank, stole food and set the market on fire, Aguer said.

Doctors Without Borders, which is also known as MSF, said its facilities in Bentiu were also looted.

“It is unacceptable that one of the only humanitarian organizations still providing assistance to the population in Bentiu has been looted,” MSF General Director Arjan Hehenkamp said.

The loss of Bentiu weakens Machar at the negotiating table in Ethiopia, where mediators are trying to defuse a political conflict that broke out Dec. 15 and descended into ethnic attacks and military battles.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced in the nearly monthlong conflict. The U.N. has said only that more than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed. But Casie Copeland, South Sudan analyst for the International Crisis Group, said yesterday she believes nearly 10,000 have died.

Most of those killed, she said, are combatants who died in major battles: in the capital, Juba, and in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state. In all, fighting has been seen in 30 locations, said Copeland, who said her estimate is a compilation of figures from the U.N., aid workers, the internally displaced, government officials and combatants.

Aguer said troops will soon retake Bor, which rebels still control.

Talks in Ethiopia haven’t made much progress. Machar’s side insists that 11 political prisoners held by the government of President Salva Kiir must be released. The U.S. has also called for the release of those prisoners so they can take part in the negotiations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Police: Excessive speed may have been factor in Route 1 crash in Peabody

    Saturday morning at approximately 6 a.m., troopers from the Massachusetts State Police Danvers Barracks responded to a three vehicle crash on Route 1 north in the vicinity of Route 114 in Peabody.

    July 26, 2014

  • Driscoll Gordon College flap nets local LGBT group $12K

    SALEM -- The conservative uproar over Mayor Kim Driscoll's decision to terminate Gordon College's contract to operate Old Town Hall has turned into a cash cow for a local group supporting gay and lesbian youths.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 140725_SN_DLE_HOUSE4 Middleton builder rescues First Period house in Danvers from demolition

    DANVERS -- Built before 1730, the First Period Benjamin Holten home at 52 Centre St. was a tear down that did not get torn down, the builder who preserved and restored the house said. "They had holes in the roof this big," said builder Michael Panzer

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tisei Tisei's political funds seek to balance Republican, LGBT loyalties BOSTON -- As Republican Richard Tisei makes a second run for Congress, he has teamed up with other GOP challengers across the country to broaden his support. Earlier this year, he created a joint fundraising committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, w

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Market Basket board to consider Arthur T.'s offer BOSTON -- Market Basket's board of directors announced Friday that it will consider offers to buy the company -- including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered "along with any other offers previously received and to be

    July 26, 2014