Clashes in Oil-Rich Part of South Sudan Leave 60 Dead, Army Says

Rebels battled South Sudanese government forces in the oil-rich north in clashes that have claimed at least 60 lives, about half of them civilians, the army said.

A further 33 people were injured in the violence in Eastern Nile and Southern Liech states between Oct. 8 and Oct. 13, military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said Friday in a statement. He accused insurgents loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar of initiating the fighting.

Dickson Gatluak, a deputy spokesman for Machar’s rebels, said the clashes occurred when President Salva Kiir’s military attacked insurgents moving positions as they prepared for a resumption of war. Machar last month signaled he was ready to restart fighting in a conflict that began in December 2013 and has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

“We have realized we have to use all military means,” Gatlauk said by phone from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday. “If it ends up with regime change then we go for it, as there’s no political space in Juba,” the capital.

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