1 000s flee South Sudan clashes

2011-04-23 21:26
Juba - Thousands of civilians have fled heavy clashes between rebels and south Sudan's army in key oil-producing Unity state, officials said on Saturday.

"The fighting in recent days has been very fierce, and the people have been running away from the violence to safety," said Charles Machieng, commissioner of Mayom county, the area of heaviest fighting.

"Although we have no reports of fighting today [Saturday], assessments show that there are 3 800 civilians who have fled, many who are here in Mayom town because their houses have been destroyed," he added.

Clashes in the soon-to-be-independent south broke out on Tuesday between the army and the rebels, one of at least seven separate militia groups battling the southern government.

More than 800 people have been killed and 94 000 people forced from their homes in fighting since January, according to UN estimates, when southerners voted overwhelming to forge their own nation in a largely peaceful referendum.

Volatile region

No reliable death toll of casualties is available, with the rebels and the army each claiming to have killed "several" on the other side, and dismissing each other's reports as lies.

The fighting has also forced the evacuation of 130 northern oil industry workers from the volatile region.

Machieng said reinforcements from the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) drove the rebels out of the small town of Mankien on Friday, after two days of fighting there.

"The whole market there and many houses have been destroyed by fire," he said. "The rebels are being chased, and have scattered in different directions."

However, the rebels, led by former southern army general Peter Gadet, said they had deliberately withdrawn.

"The SPLA have sent in large reinforcements, but they have not defeated us," said rebel spokesperson Bol Gatkouth, a former lawmaker in the south's parliament.

He too confirmed that large numbers of civilians had fled the fighting.

Independence

"We are just resting in a secure place for now," Bol said. "This fight is far from over."

The rebels, who call themselves the "South Sudan Liberation Army", said earlier this month they wanted to overthrow the southern government, denouncing the "rampant corruption" at the top levels of the SPLM, the south's ruling party.

The SPLM has repeatedly accused Khartoum of arming splinter militia groups like Gadet's to destabilise the south ahead of its secession from the north in July, a claim Khartoum rejects. Fighting in the south is raising concern for the plight of civilians, as the region gears up for independence.

Human Rights Watch last week accused both the army and another rebel group of human rights violations against civilians during clashes in Upper Nile state in early March.
Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.