Saturday 24 March 2018

200 drown trying to flee Sudanese fighting

Lt Colonel Philip Aguer, South Sudan government spokesman
Lt Colonel Philip Aguer, South Sudan government spokesman

Ilya Gridneff

Some 200 people fleeing warfare died after a boat crossing the River Nile sank, a South Sudanese military official said yesterday, as fighting between rebels and government forces moved closer to the national capital.

Warfare in the world's newest state has displaced more than 400,000 people since mid-December, with the front lines constantly shifting as loyalist troops and renegade forces gain and lose territory in battles often waged along ethnic lines.

Lt Col Philip Aguer, the South Sudanese military spokesman, said there was fighting about 70km north of the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

As control of certain regions has changed, tens of thousands of residents have fled their homes to escape fighting that often pits the Dinka ethnic group of President Salva Kiir against the Nuer group of Riek Machar, the former vice president who now commands renegade forces. A boat on the Nile -- carrying mostly women and children -- sank, killing at least 200 people, Mr Aguer said.

Irish Independent

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