Fighting in Southern Sudan between the region's army and a rebel faction has killed 105 people, including civilians, according to a southern army spokesman.
Col. Philip Aguer, the spokesman for the southern army, says a former high-ranking southern army member who had rebelled against the southern government broke a cease-fire by attacking the towns of Fangak and Dor on Wednesday. Aguer says renegade commander George Athor's troops captured Fangak, and the fighting continued through Thursday until the southern military retook it. No new fighting was reported on Friday.
Aguer says 105 people were killed: 39 civilians, 24 southern police and soldiers and 42 of Athor's men.
In September, Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir offered Athor and several other men who had launched armed uprisings against his government amnesty offers.
On Jan. 5, four days before the south held an independence referendum, Athor signed a cease-fire with the army in what then appeared to end one of the largest security threats to the south in the run-up to its self-determination vote.
The independence referendum passed overwhelmingly, according to final results released Monday, and Southern Sudan is set to become the world's newest nation in July. The vote was the culmination of a 2005 peace agreement that ended more than two decades of war between north and south Sudan.
"We were preparing for peace and we don't know why he is waging war at the time when war has ended in Sudan," Aguer said. "Meanwhile we still maintain the spirit of reconciliation because the amnesty is still holding. So if Athor stops fighting we will welcome him for reconciliation."
A U.N. spokesman, Kouider Zerrouk, said Friday that the U.N. mission in Sudan "is very concerned about the renewed fighting ... and the resulting civilian casualties."
U.N. leaders have engaged both sides and are urging an immediate end to the attacks, Zerrouk said.
Last week in Upper Nile state, which borders Jonglei, more than 60 southern soldiers who are members of the northern Sudanese army died in a mutiny related to the imminent breakup of the country.
Ongoing insecurity, the widespread presence of small arms, and severe underdevelopment due to decades of civil war are just some of the problems facing Southern Sudan in the run-up to its independence declaration.