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South Sudan military claims 163 killed

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

JUBA, South Sudan — A battle between South Sudan soldiers and rebels allegedly backed by neighboring Sudan killed 163 people, most of them rebels, government officials said on Thursday.

South Sudan's military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, said government forces captured an airstrip in the town of Okello, which he claimed the rebels have been using to import most of their military supplies. Okello is in South Sudan's southeast Pibor County, where rebel leader David Yau Yau hails from.

“This airstrip has been used by Khartoum (Sudan) intelligence to transport and supply arms and ammunition to David Yau Yau. Some of the arms that were being dropped by Antanovs were captured, AK-47s. Some are broken, some are in good condition,” Aguer said.

He said 143 rebels led by Yau Yau died in the battle on Tuesday and that 20 soldiers were killed and 70 wounded.

South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011 but is dealing with violence inside its own borders. Military battles and fights between tribes kill dozens of people with alarming frequency. After decades of war with Sudan, the country is flooded with assault rifles.

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