JUBA (Reuters) - Rebels in South Sudan attacked government forces in Unity State, where oil fields have been abandoned due to fighting, and 25 people including civilians were killed, a local government official said on Tuesday.
South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after protracted bloodshed, fell into civil war in late 2013 with troops loyal to President Salva Kiir fighting those of the ex-vice president he sacked, Riek Machar.
Those killed during Monday’s fighting in the town of NhialDiu included women, elderly people and local police officers, Lam Tungwar, state minister of information of Northern Liech state, told Reuters.
A rebel spokesman, Lam Paul Gabriel, put the death toll at 18 while the government said it had managed to repulse the rebels and were pursuing them.
Dickson Gatluak Jock, military spokesman for South Sudanese Vice President Taban Deng Gai, said the attack coincided with dialogue in NhialDiu between pro-rebel and pro-government clans aimed at securing peace in the region.
Writing by Duncan Miriri; editing by Mark Heinrich