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Bodies litter South Sudan oil town; talks resume

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 13, 2014 at 10:39 a.m.

BENTIU, South Sudan — Dozens of dead, mangled and bloated bodies line the roadside from the airport into this state capital of one of South Sudan's oil-producing regions. Houses, buildings and shops have been looted, burned or destroyed, as blackened cars and buses smolder.

The remnants of war in Bentiu shows the damage being done across the world's newest country, as the military continues to battle men who served in the same ranks only a month ago but who are now labeled rebels. Bentiu was recaptured by the military over the weekend. Next up for government troops is the rebel-held town of Bor.

"What you see here is destruction," said Gen. James Hoth Mai, the military's chief of staff. "But the rebels are on the run and we are pursuing them."

Mai immediately turned his thoughts to Bor: "This is a war and we have a large number of soldiers in Bor. We are putting them there for a final assault."

Negotiators for the two sides in South Sudan's nearly month-old conflict met face-to-face in Addis Abba, Ethiopia on Monday after shuttle diplomacy between Addis Ababa and Juba, the capital of South Sudan. A Kenyan mediator, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, said the agenda will include talks on a cessation of hostilities.

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