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ICC NOTE: The SAF is the Northern army, under which the SPLA currently is being integrated. This particular conflict was begun because a Northern officer killed a Southern officer and civilians. Please pray for the fragile situation between the North and South, as one conflict may lead to greater violence, as this article suggests.

Fighting in south Sudan kills at least 15

Saturday 22 July 2006

For the full article go to the Sudan Tribune

July 22, 2006 ( KHARTOUM ) — At least 15 people have been killed in sectarian fighting in south Sudan which is likely to escalate, military sources said on Saturday, describing a threat to a hard-won peace deal that ended Africa ’s longest civil war.

The sources differed in their accounts, but two versions pointed to violence against north Sudanese by southerners in the last few days, in response to an attack on a militia allied to south Sudan ’s army.

Both sides used proxy militias, which under last year’s deal were to have joined either the north’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) or the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

“There was an incident in Rubkona. It involved one soldier from the SAF who shot one officer and civilians. The officer belonged to the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). They have joined the SPLA,” Major General Elias Waya of the SPLA said.

“There was a retaliation from the civilians which resulted in 23 killed … They were northern traders. I don’t know what motivated the incident. Now the situation is under control but I think there will be a retaliation from the north,” he added.

Analysts say the dispute threatens to derail last year’s peace deal and could trigger renewed violence.

An SAF spokesman denied a government soldier began the incident, and instead said it started with a fight between two factions of the SPLA. Two SAF soldiers had been killed trying to end the violence, in which 13 civilians died, he said.

In another account, Major General Samule Machar, a former SSDF commander, said 28 people were killed, including 18 civilians, after an SAF soldier attacked one of his soldiers, triggering a clash between his forces and the SAF.