S. Sudan Rebel: I've Seized Town, Now I'll Talk

Riek Machar says he has taken Bor, is reportedly en route to Ethiopia
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2013 7:47 AM CST
S. Sudan Rebel: I've Seized Town, Now I'll Talk
In this photo taken Friday, July 26, 2013, former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar speaks to the media.   (AP Photo/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)

What is clear: That heavy fighting has erupted in Bor, a hotly contested provincial capital in South Sudan; a military rep says government troops are fighting renegade forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar as well as the pro-Machar tribal militia known as the "White Army," reports the AP. What is very unclear: If Bor has actually fallen to Machar's forces, as he claims it has, per the BBC, which calls the assault on Bor "a clear attempt by Mr. Machar to show his military power, which will strengthen his hand in any negotiations." As for those negotiations, Machar says he that he is now willing to begin peace talks.

But as the BBC points out, that addresses only one of the two key demands that regional leaders are insisting upon. The other: That the rebels agree to a ceasefire by the end of today. To the contrary, Machar says he will not tell his forces to lay down their arms, but that such a proposal can be discussed during the talks, which are to take place in Ethiopia. The AFP reports South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Machar are due to arrive in Addis Ababa later today. It remains to be seen if that will be enough to appease South Sudan's neighbors; Reuters reports that Uganda's president yesterday said East African forces would take action against Machar if he didn't meet their demands. (Read more South Sudan stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.