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
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Buczko Legislature approves naming Salem Probate Court after Judge Thaddeus Buczko

    BOSTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to designate the Essex Probate and Family Court, located in Salem, in honor of Judge Thaddeus Buczko.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Chism attorney wants 'youthful offender' indictments dismissed

    Philip Chism's attorney will argue that the state's "youthful offender" law, which requires that the Danvers teen be tried as an adult in last fall's rape and murder of his teacher, is unconstitutional.
    In documents filed Monday, defense attorney Denise Regan contends that the statute, enacted in 1996, creates two classes of children within the court system, distinguishing them based solely on the charge.

    July 29, 2014

  • Whale watching boat snagged by lobster trap rope

    BOSTON (AP) — They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

    July 29, 2014

  • Market Basket store managers vow to resign

    Store managers and assistant managers at Market Baskets in the area signed petitions Monday declaring they would work only for Arthur T. Demoulas, no matter who buys the grocery chain. "It was a voluntary petition," Salem store manager Dave Webber sa

    July 29, 2014 1 Story