South Sudan says 40 rebels killed in latest clash
South Sudan revealed on Friday that 40 rebels were killed in the latest clash on Thursday in Bieh state's Waat area.
Brigadier Dickson Gatluak, spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) faction under first vice president Taban Deng Gai, told Xinhua that together with government troops they killed 40 rebels who attacked their positions at Waat.
"The 40 rebels killed were from the rebel side, and two people from our side were injured in the fighting. The aggression was from the side of the rebels," Gatluak said.
This came after another clash Tuesday in the border town of Yei between the warring factions killed 4 soldiers.
However, Lam Paul Gabriel, deputy military spokesman of the SPLA-in opposition rebels allied to former first vice president Riek Machar, denied the number of death alleged by the government.
"We didn't incur any single loss but we have five with minor injuries," he said.
He added that it was the government troops (SPLA) that provoked the fighting.
"The government forces got out of their trenches in Waat, but were repulsed by our forces and they are still in their trenches up to now," Lam said.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to fighting that pitied mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.
A peace agreement was signed in 2015 but was shattered in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions of others.