Fighting threatens an oil center in South Sudan; 5 workers at Russian oil company wounded

A U.N. official in South Sudan says fighting around an oil-rich region has wounded five workers from a Russian oil company.

Joe Contreras said Tuesday that U.N. peacekeepers from Mongolia rescued 10 staff members from the Russian oil company Safinat just north of the city of Bentiu. He said two of the five wounded were in critical condition.

A rebel spokesman based in Ethiopia claimed that rebel fighters have captured Bentiu, the capital of Unity state.

But the spokesman for South Sudan's military, Col. Philip Aguer, said that the fighting is still ongoing and the picture from Bentiu isn't yet clear.

South Sudan saw massive violence sweep the country in mid-December when fighting broke out between troops loyal to the former vice president and those loyal to the government.