South Sudan ambush kills 12 in key oil region: Army

Gunmen in south Sudan killed 12 people, including 10 soldiers, in an ambush on an army truck in oil-rich Unity state, a southern army spokesman said.

Juba: Gunmen in south Sudan killed 12
people, including 10 soldiers, in an ambush on an army truck
in oil-rich Unity state, a southern army spokesman said on Thursday.

"Attackers ambushed a truck an estimated 25 kms
northwest of the state capital Bentiu yesterday morning," said
Philip Aguer, spokesman for the ex-rebel Sudan People`s
Liberation Army (SPLA).

"Ten of our soldiers were killed, as well as two
civilians in a planned attack," he said.

Aguer accused the gunmen of being backed by the northern
army, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

"We suspect that this was an attack by an SAF militia,"
Aguer said, but could not provide further details on the
claim.

"We are not taking any retaliation but just monitoring
the border areas."

Unity state lies along the tense border between north and
south, and is one of Sudan`s main oil-producing areas.

"The situation is now calm but people are not happy about
this, of course," he added.

Last week the southern army accused the north of wounding
four soldiers and two civilians in a helicopter gunship
attack, a claim the north denied.

The reported attack followed an earlier bombing raid on
the south that the north did admit, but which it claimed
targeted Darfuri rebels, not southerners.

South Sudan is still recovering from decades of war with
the north, during which about two million people were killed
in a conflict fuelled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and
resources, including oil.

Tensions are rising as the south prepares to vote on
January 9 in a referendum on potential full independence. Most
analysts expect the south to vote to break away and split
Africa`s largest nation in two.

PTI

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