KHARTOUM, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese army said Friday it was advancing toward the strategic town Bor, held by rebels loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar, when negotiations between the two sides started Friday in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
"The government army is advancing toward Bor," Sudan Tribune quoted James Both Mai, Chief of Staff of Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), as saying.
This advancement came as the South Sudanese rivals started peace talks to agree on ceasefire arrangements and end the violence which erupted in the newly-born state on December 15.
"We are advancing to Bor because the Rebels want to come to Juba," said Mai, adding "we don't yet have a ceasefire and we don' t want them to come and get us."
According to Sudan Tribune, South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer confirmed this information and said South Sudanese army was also determined to recapture another town controlled by the rebels, Bantio town, capital of the oil-producing Unity State.
During the past two weeks, South Sudan has witnessed clashes between two military factions, one descending from the Dinka tribe, to which South Sudanese President Salva Kiir belongs, and the other descending from the Nuer tribe, to which Machar belongs, who is accused of plotting to topple the government.
The clashes have left thousands of people dead, over 121,600 civilians displaced and some 63,000 others took refuge at various UN compounds around the country, according to UN reports.