Violent clashes erupt in South Sudan's oil-producing state

Violent clashes erupt in South Sudan
# 24 December 2013 17:31 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Violent clashes erupted on Tuesday between government forces and armed groups loyal to former South Sudanese vice-president Riek Machar in Upper Nile State, which produces most of the country's oil, APA reports quoting South Sudan News Agency.

The fighting broke out inside the military command in Malaka, the capital city of Upper Nile, before extending around the city, the report said.

Governor of Upper Nile, Simon Kun Puoch, together with some other local officials, have taken refuge in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound.

No comment on the incidents could immediately be attained from the South Sudanese army spokesman.

The Upper Nile State produces most of the country's oil, which amounts at 245,000 barrels per day.

Meanwhile, South Sudan's Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said earlier in the day that the oil pumping in Unity State, held by Machar forces, has stopped.

The minister was quoted by South Sudan Radio as saying that " the work has partially stopped at Unity oil fields," however, he stressed that most of the oil fields at Upper Nile State have not been affected by the clashes.

The clashes erupted in South Sudan last week between two military factions, one descending from the Dinka tribe to which South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit belongs, and the other descending from the Nuer tribe loyal to Machar, who is accused of igniting the confrontations.