• SOUTH SUDAN BATTLES RAGE IN KEY OIL TOWN

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    JUBA: South Sudan’s military battled rebels in the streets of the key northern oil town of Malakal on Wednesday, the army said, as conflict in the world’s newest nation entered its second month. The battle for Malakal, the main town in Upper Nile state, is now turning into one of the most bitter in the conflict, with the United Nations reporting tank battles in the streets. “There is heavy fighting in Malakal,” army spokesman Philip Aguer said, dismissing rebel claims they had taken control of the town. Rebel forces staged a fresh attack on Tuesday to seize the town, which has already changed hands twice since the conflict began, with rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Kong, boasting the insurgents had “recaptured Malakal.” “This is not over yet,” Aguer said. “The fighting is ongoing.” South Sudan has been gripped by violence since December 15, when clashes broke out between army units loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and those supporting former Vice President Riek Machar.

    AFP

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