South Sudan: Military says up to 130 rebels killed in fresh clashes in oil-producing state

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JUBA, South Sudan — Government troops in South Sudan killed up to 130 rebels in the latest fighting following the collapse of peace talks between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, a military official said on Tuesday.

Government troops and rebel forces engaged in serious fighting in the oil-producing Upper Nile state on Monday, military spokesman Brig. Philip Aguer told The Associated Press. Fourteen government soldiers were killed and 17 others wounded in fighting in Manyo County, he said.

After the rebels were dislodged from their positions, some fled toward Sudanese territory, he said.

"Following heavy fighting there, the (South Sudanese military) is now in control of Manyo County in Upper Nile state, particularly the area of Gabat, where the rebels used to approach and shell the town of Renk from the western side of the Nile River," he said. "The rebels have run toward the Republic of Sudan and are possibly hiding in a place called Kuek."

It was not immediately possible to get a comment from the rebels.

South Sudan has seen violence since December 2013, when government troops in the capital, Juba, splintered and fought along ethnic lines.

Several peace talks have failed despite international pressure for a political deal between Kiir and Riek Machar, the former deputy president who now commands rebel forces.

It is widely believed the current conflict was fueled by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar, who was fired in July 2013.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and 1.5 million have been displaced from their homes, according to the U.N.

Violence also persists among rival communities fighting over grazing land and other resources. On Sunday at least 70 people were killed in clashes in South Sudan's central region.

Forty-one men from Rumbek Center County in Lakes state and 37 from neighboring Rumbek North were killed when militia from the rival counties clashed over grazing land, Mawat Manuer, commissioner of Rumbek Center said Tuesday. The Rumbek North raiders stole 2,165 cows, he said.


Associated Press reporter Jason Patinkin in Juba, South Sudan, contributed to this report.

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