JUBA, Sudan — A military spokesman in Southern Sudan said an attack by a rebel group on the south's military has killed four people.
News of the attack came Saturday, one day before the south is scheduled to begin an independence referendum that is likely to lead to the world's newest country.
Col. Philip Aguer said forces loyal to rebel leader Gatluak Gai attacked forces in the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army overnight Friday in Unity State, an oil-rich region on the north-south Sudan divide.
Aguer said the counterattack by SPLA forces killed four and wounded six of Gai's men.
Southern Sudan suffered through decades of internal strife and civil war with the north. Most officials predicted the weeklong independence referendum will be mostly peaceful.