16 dead in South Sudan clash

JUBA – At least 16 people died in clashes between a renegade militia and south Sudan’s army, the military said this Thursday, raising fears for stability of the oil-producing south as it prepares to declare independence.

The fighting with forces loyal to George Athor in south Sudan’s Jonglei state on Wednesday and Thursday broke a shaky ceasefire with the southern government and followed an army mutiny in neighbouring Upper Nile state that killed at least 60.

The violence, which ended a period of relative calm in the underdeveloped and divided territory, comes at a particularly sensitive time for the south.

On Monday, final results showed that around 99 percent of southerners voted to separate from the north of Sudan in a referendum held under a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of north-south civil war.

That conflict killed an estimated 2 million people and was also marked by violence between rival southern militias. There have been fears that old divisions could re-surface during the build-up to secession, which is due to take place on July 9.

“George Athor’s forces attacked an SPLA (the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army) base in Jonglei state. Four SPLA soldiers were killed and 12 of Athor’s men,” said SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer. “This is a violation of the ceasefire agreement. Not only has he attacked SPLA, he has been planting landmines as well.”

Aguer said Athor’s men launched the attack in the Jonglei community of Door on Wednesday morning.

InformAfrica reports, Breaking news

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