Fighting that has been ongoing for a week or so has resumed and intensified in Bentiu, the oil town of Unity State in South Sudan.
SPLA General headquarters, Bilpham, yesterday issued a statement confirming resumption of hostilities with rebels in Unity State.
Col. Philip Aguer, the army spokesman said the rebel forces started the fighting on Tuesday.
“There were attempts some days back that forced the SPLA to take the defensive steps to prevent the SPLA in Opposition from carrying out attacks on Bentiu …. through bombing with mortars or ground attack,” Aguer said in a statement.
Rebel sources also told National Courier that military offensives were ongoing after SPLA attacked their positions in Guit and Panakuach.
NGO workers including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which ran a hospital in Leer that was ransacked during an earlier government offensive against the town in early 2014, fled as SPLA reportedly took Guit.
It is also reported SPLA intends to move south and Leer town, Riek Machar’s home town.
SPLM-IO deputy spokesman, Dickson Gatluak, told Radio Tamazuj that authorities in Leer, Mayandiit and Koch counties confirmed NGOs were evacuating the areas in southern part of state because of the threat and pressure from the government forces for possible attack in rebel held controlled areas.
“The government forces last night launched an attack on our position in Guit County Southern part of Unity state but were defeated badly in serious battles and retreated back to Capital Bentiu,” he said, adding that last week, SPLA-IO had tactically withdrawn from Nhialdiu.
“The fighting is now escalating up to Tom South payam in Pareing County,” he noted, saying the there was another attack on their position in Panakuach in the northern part of state.