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Sudan Troops Fight Rebels Over Town in Oil-Rich State

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sudanese insurgents and government troops are fighting for control of a town in the oil-rich state of Southern Kordofan close to the border with newly independent South Sudan, the rebels and an army spokesman said.

Clashes started yesterday when the rebels laid seige to the town of Taludi. Government forces are still battling to drive off the insurgents, Sudan army spokesman al-Sawarami Khaled said today by phone from Khartoum, the capital.

Government troops “have to either surrender or face their destiny, because all roads leading to the town are now closed,” the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Fighting between Sudanese government forces and the rebels has intensified in the states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan since South Sudan seceded on July 9, assuming control of three-quarters of the former unified nation’s crude production of 490,000 barrels a day. Clashes broke out this week between troops from Sudan and South Sudan in the oil-rich Heglig area.

South Sudan said its troops pursued the Sudan Armed Forces into the Heglig area and accused them of bombing its forces along the border between Southern Kordofan and the south’s Unity state. The fighting stopped on March 28, both sides said.

Clashes between the armies of the former civil war foes along the border prompted expressions of alarm from the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. and the African Union.

China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. pump most of the oil in the two countries.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Khartoum at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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