Friday, 11 February 2011

Rebels clash with Southern Sudan's army killing 16

Rebel loyalists of George Athor have attacked Southern Sudan's army, overlooking ceasefire, and killing at least 16 people. The rebels blew up two army trucks near the town of Fangak, in Jonglei state. Athor took up arms last year, alleging fraud in state elections, but signed a ceasefire last month.

The attack comes in the midst of Southern Sudan's preparation to secede from the north in July. An overwhelming majority of 99 per cent of southerners voted in favour of independence in last month's referendum.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer said four soldiers and 12 rebels were killed, but anticipated more dead bodies, adding: "We are still waiting for full details of the casualties." According to Aguer, the rebels planted land mines on two site in Jonglei state on Wednesday 9th February. A day later, violence broke out in Fangak, but the rebels fled when confronted by Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Athor took up arms in April 2010, and was accused by the south of being used by the north to incite trouble before the referendum. He agreed to the ceasefire deal with the SPLA days before the voting began, but did not attend the signing ceremony.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, AllAfrica

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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