Juba (Reuters) - Twenty-seven people were killed when rebels attacked government forces in South Sudan, a local government official said on Thursday.
Three government soldiers and 24 fighters loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar were killed in the fighting in Southern Liech state on Wednesday, Peter Makouth Malual, the region’s information minister, told Reuters.
Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel did not have a death toll for the fighting. He told Reuters he was trying to reach commanders on the ground.
As expected, the onset of the dry season has led to fresh fighting between the army and rebels.
Diplomats and analysts told Reuters earlier this month it was unlikely peace talks would resume to end a war that has already killed tens of thousands and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis [L3N1NG5D4]. Crude oil output has been slashed by two-thirds to around 130,000 barrels per day by the violence.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after protracted bloodshed, then fell into civil war in late 2013, with troops loyal to President Salva Kiir fighting those backing Machar, a former vice president Kiir had sacked.
Editing by Maggie Fick, editing by Larry King