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Ethnic clash in South Sudan kills at least 5 in military; opposition charges larger massacre

South Sudan's military spokesman says a "misunderstanding" between military troops and a local community sparked clashes that killed five troops.

Col. Philip Aguer said Saturday that the trainees were members of the Nuer minority, the same ethnic group that killed hundreds of people in Bentiu this month.

A rebel spokesman claims that huge numbers of Nuer military trainees were killed in the latest incident Friday.

Rebel Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang charged that 220 Nuer officers and trainees at Mapel Military Training Centre in Western Bahr El Ghazal state were deliberately killed.

It was impossible to verify either claim. Koang's claims in the past have been wildly exaggerated, but military and government death tolls announced to the public have also sometimes been underreported.

Aguer denied that Koang's claims were true.