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Clashes in south Sudan oil region kills 16: army

Sixteen people were killed and several wounded in clashes in south Sudan Sudan (sdăn`), officially Republic of Sudan, republic (2005 est. pop. 40,187,000), 967,494 sq mi (2,505,813 sq km), NE Africa.  between forces loyal to an ex-warlord and an oil-rich state governor's guards, military sources said on Saturday.

Friday's fighting in Unity State resulted from a "misunderstanding between Paulino Matip's guards and the guards of the governor" in the state capital of Bentiu, south Sudan information minister Paul Mayom told reporters.

Unity State, which provides an estimated 80 percent of all the oil currently drilled in the south, was the scene of persistent attacks in early 2008 between the Sudanese military and the Sudanese People?s Liberation Army (SPLA SPLA Sudan People's Liberation Army
SPLA Secretory Phospholipase A
SPLA Service Provider License Agreement (Microsoft)
SPLA Southern Private Landlords Association (UK) 
), the former southern rebel force that is now the southern Sudanese army.

Matip, a notoriously no·to·ri·ous  
Known widely and usually unfavorably; infamous: a notorious gangster; a district notorious for vice.
 effective northern commander during the 1983-2005 civil war that claimed some two million lives, was integrated into the new southern Sudanese armed forces after the fighting ended.

He is now deputy commander-in-chief of southern Sudanese forces and has a loyal following of troops.

A military official said Friday's fighting involved SPLA troops guarding Matip's offices and those protecting the governor's building.

A senior SPLA source, speaking on Saturday on condition of anonymity, said 12 Sudan People's Liberation Movement The People's Liberation Movement is a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. Its leader is Mr. Eric Hercules. The party was formed in 2006.  (SPLM SPLM Sudan People's Liberation Movement
SPLM Shielded Planar Layered Media
) members were killed and 17 wounded, and that four civilians died and four more were wounded.

Officials in Unity State earlier put the total number of dead at 12.

The military official said Bentiu was now calm, and that the SPLA had begun an investigation into the firefight fire·fight  
An exchange of gunfire, as between infantry units.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Oct 3, 2009
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