South Sudan army factions clash in oil region: sources

JUBA Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:42am EST

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JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudanese soldiers from rival ethnic groups clashed at an army barracks overnight near Bentiu town, the capital of oil producing Unity State, a witness and a U.N. spokesman said.

Heavy fighting between ethnic Nuer and Dinka soldiers in Rubkona, a village about 2 km (1.5 miles) from Bentiu, began on Thursday evening and lasted till early on Friday, journalist Bonifacio Taban Kuich told Reuters by phone from Bentiu.

U.N. spokesman Joe Contreras said 27 soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir had sought refuge in a U.N. compound near Rubkona, along with 525 civilians. Both Contreras and Kuich said it was not clear who controlled Bentiu.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Edmund Blair/Jeremy Gaunt)

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