On Thursday, South Sudan’s military spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer announced that during a Tuesday battle, 143 of the militants were killed, while 20 soldiers of South Sudan’s army lost their lives and 70 of them were injured.
South Sudan’s forces also captured an airstrip in the town of Okello — in South Sudan’s southeast Pibor County — which is claimed to be used by the fighters for importing most of their arms supplies, Aguer said.
In July 2011, South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan following a two-decade civil war that killed about two million people in Africa’s biggest country. But the new oil-rich nation, which is one of the least developed countries in the world, has had to confront ethnic tensions and rebellions of its own.
Yau Yau rebelled against South Sudan’s government after he was defeated in the elections of April 2010. However, he accepted amnesty in June 2011, a month before South Sudan won independence from Sudan after decades of civil war.
Both Juba and Khartoum accuse each other of supporting rebels groups on each other soil. Both sides also deny the each other’s accusations.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern about “extrajudicial killings” and other abuses by the South Sudanese army during its crackdown on militants.