KAMPALA, Uganda - More than 160 people were killed this week in border battles between soldiers and rebels in South Sudan's Jonglei state, officials said on Friday.
At least 143 rebels and 20 soldiers died in several clashes since Tuesday, South Sudan military spokesman Col. Phillip Aguer told The Wall Street Journal.
South Sudan has been trying to quash a rebellion that started earlier this month so it can resume crude-oil shipments.
"Our forces dealt a severe blow to the rebels," Col. Aguer said. "We are now in control of the airstrip which these rebels have been using to get supplies."
The rebels are led by tribal war lord and defeated local-election candidate David Yau Yau. South Sudan accuses former civil war enemy Sudan of backing the insurgent. It denies this.
Landlocked South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 and retained 75% of the country's oil fields. However, South Sudan relies on pipelines running through Sudan to get its crude oil to ports.
The two disagree over the location of their border. In January last year South Sudan halted crude-oil shipments as the border disagreement escalated.
Earlier this month they agreed to resume shipments after international intervention.
Until January 2012 South Sudan shipped as much as 350,000 barrels a day to refiners in China and Malaysia.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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