South Sudanese government forces on Saturday recaptured the key town of Bor, defeating an army of thousands of rebels, an army spokesman said.
"Today the gallant SPLA forces entered Bor, they have defeated more than 15,000 forces of (rebel leader) Riek Machar and frustrated his plans to attack Juba," army spokesman Philip Aguer told reporters.
Bor is the capital of Jonglei State and situated 200 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Juba. The town has changed hands four times since the conflict in the world's youngest nation began five weeks ago.
Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for President Salva Kiir, said the troops had been "congratulated for a job well done".
He also said the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) would "observe international rule of law" -- a day after a top UN rights envoy reported that the conflict has been marked by mass killings, extrajudicial killings, widespread destruction and looting.
"If there are people captured they should be kept in regards to the international law," the spokesman said.