Officials in south Sudan say the army has killed at least 55 rebel fighters during a clash in volatile Jonglei state.
Hundreds have died in fighting between the southern army and various rebel groups since January, when southern Sudan voted to split from the north. Southern leaders accused the north of supporting the rebellions to destabilize the region ahead of independence in July.
The latest fighting raged for several hours Saturday, as soldiers battled gunmen led by Gabriel Tanginya, who led a pro-Khartoum militia during Sudan’s long north-south civil war.
Tanginya agreed late last year to integrate his fighters into the southern army. Media reports say Saturday’s fighting began after the militiamen refused to report to the southern capital of Juba.
Southern officials say five of Tanginya’s generals were killed in the clash.
The French news agency quotes an official in south Sudan’s Upper Nile state, Peter Lam Both, as saying 34 government soldiers and 43 civilians were wounded.