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S. Sudan army says killed 200 rebels amidst denial

JUBA – South Sudan army spokesperson claimed on Monday that their forces killed nearly 200 rebels who launched attacks on government positions in Gadiang, about 90km north of Jonglei state capital, Bor on Sunday.

“Forces of Riek Machar were repulsed leaving behind them 173 [rebels] killed,” Philip Aguer told Sudan Tribune by phone, adding that the army lost 10 soldiers while 16 were wounded.

Lul Ruai Koang, a spokesperson for the rebels has, however, disputed the army’s account of events, claiming figures released by their opponents were exaggerated.

“We did not lose that number of servicemen in our side,” he said, but added that government forces had launched the attack without providing casualty in details.

Also earlier claims by the rebels they were in control of Gadiang could not independently be verified by Sudan Tribune due to the remoteness of the area.

Philip Thon Leek, a lawmaker representing Duk County in South Sudan assembly, blamed the rebels for “turning their anger on villagers after being defeated by government forces” on Sunday.

“They are destroying buildings, schools and [Duk] county headquarters,” Leek said in an interview on Monday, adding that two civilians were killed during Sunday’s attack.

“They torched houses of the local residents. They [rebels] were intentionally trying to reinforce their front in Gadiang, which was dismantled yesterday. And I think when they heard that, they bent their anger on the local people in Duk County,” stressed the MP.

According to the lawmaker, at least 43,000 villagers were forced out of their homes in Mareng, Ager and Payuel payams [districts] as fighting continued on Monday.

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