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Over 150 Dead as South Sudan Army, Rebels Clash


A river taxi driver dons a mask on the banks of the Sobat River in the town of Canal, currently filled with southern soldiers, many of whom are involved in military operations against rebels, April 6, 2011

A river taxi driver dons a mask on the banks of the Sobat River in the town of Canal, currently filled with southern soldiers, many of whom are involved in military operations against rebels, April 6, 2011

Officials in south Sudan say more than 150 people have been killed in clashes between the region's army and two separate rebel militias.

Army officials say one militia, led by Gabriel Tanginya, surrendered late Sunday after a fierce gunbattle a day earlier. Army spokesman Malaak Ayuen said 57 rebels and seven solders died in the battle.

Officials say Tanginya's militia was being integrated into the army when an argument broke out, sparking the clash in Jonglei state.

Ayuen said more than 100 people died in separate fighting between soldiers and a rebel group led by former general Peter Gadet.

Ayuen said that fighting took place over several days last week as Gadet's men tried to seize towns in Mayom county, in Unity state. Both sides claimed the upper hand in the fighting. Gadet's militia said it killed hundreds of army soldiers.

Hundreds have died in fighting across southern Sudan since January, when the region voted to split from the north. Southern leaders have accused the north of backing the rebellions to destabilize the region ahead of independence in July.

Northern and southern Sudan fought a 21-year civil war that ended with a 2005 peace agreement.

The sides are still trying to resolve issues over borders and the fate of the oil-producing Abyei region, which sits on the north-south border.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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