JUBA - More than 150 people have been killed in a battle between South Sudan's army and insurgents in the eastern Jonglei state, officials said on Thursday.
The African country's army earlier this month launched an offensive against rebels led by David Yau Yau in Jonglei where the government hopes to search for oil with the help of France's Total.
Since winning independence from Sudan in July 2011, South Sudan has been struggling to impose its authority across vast swathes of territory bristling with weapons after decades of civil war with Khartoum.
Yau Yau mounted a rebellion last year, with support from his Murle ethnic group, after losing local elections in 2010.
Army spokesman Philip Aguer told Reuters his forces had killed 143 fighters from Yau Yau's militia in a battle east of Pibor town on Tuesday. Twenty soldiers were killed and 70 people were wounded, he said.