Information reaching us indicates that no fewer than 250 people have drowned while travelling on a boat from Malakal, the capital of South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, an official says.
The victims were fleeing the city after “incorrect ” reports that rebels loyal to sacked deputy president Riek Machar were going to attack, Upper Nile State’s information minister told Xinhua news agency.
“The boat drowned with about 255 people on board. Only two children have been rescued,” Philip Jiben was quoted as saying.
He maintained that the situation in Malakal was calm, negating media reports that rebels attacked the town and seized some parts of it.
According to Tvcnews, “No attack was launched against Malakal. The town is completely calm and the life is progressing naturally. There is no any fighting at any part of the town,” noted Jiben.
More than three weeks of fighting, often along ethnic faultlines, has pitted President Salva Kiir’s SPLA government forces against Machar’s forces and has brought the oil-exporting nation close to civil war.
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