March 2, 2008 (Reuters)
Dozens of armed nomads were killed in clashes with the former rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in a volatile north-south border area on Saturday, both sides said on Sunday.
Hassan Mohamed Sabahi, a leader of the Misseriya tribe, told Reuters: "The number of deaths on our side reached 37 ... about 62 were wounded."
Major General James Hoth, a senior SPLA commander, put the number of those killed among the tribe at 69. He said six SPLA soldiers were killed and 26 were wounded.
Tensions have worsened in the border region over the failure of the ruling National Congress Party in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) that rules the south to reach a deal on the demarcation of the borders of Abyei, the source of much of Sudan’s energy reserves.
Abyei’s status was left unresolved in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended two decades of civil war between the north and the south in 2005.
The clashes on Saturday took place in the village of Wut-Majak in the border region, the SPLM said.
Sabahi said the armed tribesmen started the clashes in retaliation to an SPLA attack last week. Edward Lino, Abyei representative for the SPLM, said last week’s attack, in which one tribesman was killed, did not justify the retaliation.
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