JUBA, Sudan – Fighting between the Southern Sudanese army and a rebel group led by a defected army commander has killed at least 85 people, an official spokesman said Wednesday.
Unity state information minister Gideon Gatpan said the fighting that began Sunday killed mostly rebels loyal to Peter Gadet. A former high-ranking army officer, Gadet launched his own rebel group in April.
The southern army spokesman did not give casualty figures for the fighting in Unity's Mayom County, but said Wednesday that four soldiers were wounded Monday when an army truck ran over a land mine.
The U.N. says at least seven rebel movements are fighting to overthrow the southern government.
Less than 10 weeks remain before Southern Sudan will declare independence.
At U.N. headquarters in New York, the Security Council on Wednesday said it was concerned about violence in another region of Sudan, the disputed Abyei area. Both the north and south stake claim to the fertile and oil-producing border region.
Council members condemned both sides for introducing armed forces into the Abyei region. They also condemned the May 10 shooting of four peacekeepers from the U.N. Mission to Sudan, known as UNMIS.