South Sudan rebels battle army in key oil state


Rebels in south Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state continued for a third day to attack southern army positions, both militia and military officials said on Thursday.
“The rebels attacked the settlement of Mankien early this morning (Thursday),” said Philip Aguer, spokesman for the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
“We do not have casualty figures at present as the field commanders said the fighting was still going on,” he added.
The fighting took place near key oil pumping areas critical to Sudan’s economy, close to the still disputed north-south border, as well as the flashpoint Abyei region. On Wednesday, the United Nations warned that military tensions and political disputes pose a new threat to Africa’s biggest nation, which is due to split in two in July after the south voted overwhelmingly for independence in a January referendum.