South Sudan minister denies rebels control oil fields

A rebel leader said on Monday that his forces were in control of major oil fields

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South Sudan’s government remains in control of the country’s oil fields and will not accept a rebel demand for politicians detained by the authorities over a “foiled coup” to be freed for peace talks to start, the information minister said on Monday.

Former Vice-President Riek Machar said on Monday his rebel forces were in control of all the major oil fields in Unity and Upper Nile states and that he was open to dialogue with Juba but only if his political allies were released from detention.

“There is no way we will release anybody who is accused of a coup d’etat,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told Reuters by telephone, while also dismissing Machar’s comments about controlling South Sudan's oil fields as “wishful thinking.”

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