13 killed in clashes between south Sudan army, Arab tribesmen

22:19, March 19, 2010      

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Clashes erupted between south Sudan's army and armed Arab tribesmen on Wednesday in an oil- producing state, leaving at least 13 people dead, an army spokesman said Friday.

"These events took place on March 17 when an armed group of al- Misseriya tribe attacked the barracks of the south Sudan army in Unity state, south Sudan spokesman Kuol Diem told Xinhua.

"We stood up to the armed nomads and forced them to retreat," he said, noting that the confrontation left 11 tribesmen and two south Sudan soldiers killed.

Diem accused unnamed sides of inciting the al-Misseriya tribesmen to target the south Sudan army and create disorder.

"There might be political motives behind these frequent attacks, " he added.

The Arab al-Misseriya tribe, hailing from the western Sudanese region of Kurdufan, leaves their hometowns every summer in pursuit of grass and water for their cattle, taking a traditional route that is stretched to the disputed Abyei area on the borders between north and south Sudan.

After the end of a civil war five years ago, south Sudan authorities launched a campaign to disarm the people, and obligated al-Misseriya tribesmen not to bring in guns while crossing Bahr al-Arab area in the southwest during their annual march.

Source: Xinhua
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