Juba: Seventy-five people were killed on Saturday
when government forces in the oil-rich South Sudanese Unity
state repelled an attack by rebel militia, in which 15
civilians also died, the state`s information minister said.
"There was a militia attack at 5 or 6 o`clock in the
morning (0200-0300 GMT) in Mayom County," said Gideon Gatpan
Thoar, adding that another 18 were wounded.
Thoar said rebels, most of them fighting under the banner
of the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), attacked Mayom town
and that the majority of the civilian casualties were
residents gunned down while "running for shelter."
"We are counting the bodies now but over 60 militias were
killed and many more wounded," said Thoar, adding that 15
civilians were killed in the attack.
Among the dead was the notorious rebel fighter Colonel
Ruadheal Gatwech, he said, adding that SPLA government forces
also captured one soldier in Mayom town and three more in the
east of the county.
"The situation is under control by the SPLA. The rebels
are still being chased away," Thoar told AFP seven hours after
Thoar said the last serious attack in Unity was early
October, when the rebel group was suspected to have laid an
anti-tank mine that killed 20 people in a passenger bus, and
before that another mine incident in September.
On Friday, the SSLA gave the UN and aid agencies one week
to evacuate Unity state, promising to "violently resist the
regime of Governor Deng Taban," who the rebels accuse of human
The rebels claimed Governor Taban ordered SPLA troops to
confiscate 600 cattle from SSLA Commanders family members, who
were allegedly detained in unknown locations and beaten.