Juba (Reuters) – Fighting between workers in two oil fields in South Sudan has killed at least 16 people but the government is now in control and oil production has not been affected, a senior official in a major oil producing area in the country said on Thursday.
Unity State Deputy Governor Mabek Lang De Mading told Reuters that five people were killed late Wednesday in fighting between what he called “oil property workers” in Unity field. Another 11 people died on Thursday in fighting in Thar Jath field. Both are north of Juba.
“We have sent reinforcements to Unity yesterday night and they contained the situation. This morning fighting broke out in Thar Jath. We have sent reinforcements and they have now contained the situation. It is stable now,” he said by phone.
Meanwhile, the armed clashes are expanding between two military groups, one of them descends from Dinka tribe to which South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit belongs, and the other descends from Nuer tribe to which former South Sudan President Riek Machar, who is accused of igniting the clashes, belongs.
The Southern Sudanese government accuses Machar of planning a military coup against the government at a time when Machar denied those claims and regarded them as a means by Kiir to get rid of his political opponents.