Sudan: Heavy fighting in Western Upper Nile

NAIROBI, 27 January (IRIN) - Heavy fighting tool place on Sunday between Sudanese government forces and the country's main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in Western Upper Nile (Wahdah State).
"Intense fighting" had taken place between ground troops from both sides, south of the garrison town of Ler for about one hour (around midday) on Sunday, Arjan Hehenkamp, Head of Mision of MSF-Holland told IRIN on Monday.

As a result, MSF-Holland had been forced to evacuate five staff members from projects in Thonyor and Dablual, located about 20-25 km (two hours' walk) from where the fighting was taking place.

Around Dablual, MSF staff had seen internally displaced people who had fled fighting north of Ler on 24 January, Hehenkamp added.

Humanitarian sources told IRIN that over the last four weeks, fighting in Wun (Wahdah State) had been concentrated in Mayom county and around the oil fields south of Bentiu. In Mayom county there appeared to be a deliberate attempt to attack relief sites, thereby cutting off local people from humanitarian assistance, said one source.

Around the oil fields, government forces appeared to have the intention of clearing a road - by pushing back the SPLA and local people - from Mirmir to Ler, and perhaps also from Ler to Adok, the sources said.


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