KHARTOUM, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese army on Monday said it has recaptured Malakal, the capital city of oil-rich Upper Nile State, from the rebels after violent clashes.
"The forces of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) have controlled Malakal town and driven the rebels (loyal to former vice-president Rriek Machar) out of it," Philip Agier, an army spokesman, told Xinhua by phone.
"Our forces are still pursuing the rebels outside of the town to clear it from them," added Agier, noting that Malakal was now free from the rebels.
Last Friday, the South Sudanese army declared that it had lost contact with its troops in Malakal.
Since mid December, South Sudan has been witnessing violent clashes between government troops and forces loyal to Riek Machar, who is accused of plotting to topple the government.
The clashes have left some 1,000 people dead and over 400,000 civilians displaced.