South Sudan unrest continues, UN base attacked

South Sudan's military Thursday said it no longer controlled a key town in a rural state where fighting has spread in the aftermath of what the government says was an attempted coup mounted by soldiers loyal to a former deputy president.

The authorities in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei, were not answering their phones, leading the central government to believe they had defected, said Philip Aguer, the South Sudanese military spokesman.

"We lost control of Bor to the rebellion," he said.

He said there were reported gunfights in Bor overnight as renegade officers tried to wrest control of the town from loyalist forces there.

At least 19 civilians have been killed in violence in Bor, Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general's office, said Wednesday, citing figures from the South Sudan Red Cross. He said tensions were also on the rise in the states of Unity and Upper Nile.

Meanwhile, a UN peacekeeping base in Jonglei state was attacked Thursday and the UN has received reports that some people have been killed, Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said.

"Our base in Akobo, Jonglei state, was attacked and we have reports that lives are lost. We don't have the details of that yet," Eliasson told reporters.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq also spoke about the Akobo attack.

"The situation in Jonglei has deteriorated," he said. "In Akobo, earlier today, where civilians have gathered, including 32 as of last night, Lou Nuer youth have reportedly forced an entry into the UNMISS Temporary Operating Base to reach to those civilians."

Britain to evacuate its citizens

LONDON: In a sign of mounting international concern about fighting in South Sudan, Britain Thursday said it had dispatched an airplane to evacuate British nationals. The Foreign Office said around 150 of the estimated 500 Britons in the newly created country had been in touch with British officials, many of them wanting to leave the country. The British Foreign Office did not announce when the plane would land in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, but said the planned evacuation would take place on Thursday. NYT

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