Sudanese army: 22 soldiers killed in clashes with southerners

Sudanese government forces lost 22 men in clashes with former southern rebels in the volatile oil rich region of Abyei, local army commander said Wednesday, in incidents threatening to reignite the country's bloody civil war. Brig. Gen. Muntasser Sabil Adam, commander of government forces in Abyei, said that his soldiers repelled the attacking southern forces in a six hour battle Tuesday in which he lost 22 men. The town was now calm, he added, and his men were in control. No SPLA official was available for comment Wednesday, but on Tuesday, southern official Michael Majak said the northern government is breaching the accord by keeping its forces in the town instead of deploying joint north-south units. Majak had no figures on southern casualties. The fighting in the flashpoint region of Abyei that lies along the disputed boundary line between the former civil war foes began last week and has killed an undetermined number of people. A majority of the town's civilians - between 30,000 and 50,000 - have been displaced, according to the UN. Tuesday's fighting, which had broken an earlier ceasefire, was set off by an assault on the town by the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army with tanks and infantry, firing rockets and mortars.