At least 105 people have died in violence between government forces and rebel militias in Southern Sudan this week, an official said today, raising concerns of southern instability ahead of the region's independence declaration in July. A Southern Sudan spokesman said fighting yesterday between a group of rebels led by Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tanginye in Jonglei state and southern government forces led to 57 people being killed; five days of skirmishes with another rebel chief killed 48.
He did not give a breakdown of the number of civilians, rebels and the army killed in both incidents. Since its January independence referendum, Southern Sudan has seen a wave of violence that has killed hundreds. Southern officials now claim the militia groups they are fighting are being funded by the north to cause instability with the goal of taking over the oil fields in the south. Before this week's violence, the UN said that at least 800 people had been killed and 94,000 displaced because of violence in Southern Sudan this year. (Read more South Sudan stories.)