Suffering continues as South Sudan claims progress in war on rebels

South Sudanese forces have pushed back rebels from a key oil town, a video shown on state television has shown.

The video played on South Sudan TV showed tanks, supported by a helicopter gunship, attacking rebels in the town of Melut in the oil-rich northern state of Upper Nile, with at least three armoured barges, used for troop transportation, aflame.  A spokesman for the opposition leader Riek Machar was misleading.

South Sudan was been in turmoil since December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused  Mr Machar, his former deputy, of attempting a coup, sparking  a retaliatory cycle of killings throughout the country.

Caritas Internationalis agencies have been forced to withdraw staff from the area, where three staff remain bunkered in the UN compound.  At least four people in the protection area of the compound have been killed.

Jane Andanje, Country Representative for Trócaire and CAFOD, who have been working in partnership in South Sudan since April 1, and whose offices have reportedly been looted, said: “Ordinary people are bearing the brunt of this renewed fighting, which only serves to deepen and prolong their suffering, as they flee attacks by government and opposition forces.”

Urging the international community to redouble its efforts to work for peace in the area, she said, “Now is not the time for the world to walk away from South Sudan. The people more than ever deserve our concerted attention and efforts; inaction is not an option.”