At least 200 killed as boat sinks off Sudan coast

January 14, 2014 - 1:37:19 pm

JUBA: More than 200 civilians in South Sudan have drowned in a Nile ferry accident while fleeing fighting in the town of Malakal, an army spokesman has said.

He said women and children were among the victims in Sunday's disaster.

Some 355,000 people have been displaced by the fighting between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces, according to the UN.

Malakal is the gateway to the oilfields of the Upper Nile region and the town has seen fighting in recent days.

"The reports we have are of between 200 to 300 people, including women and children. The boat was overloaded," army spokesman Philip Aguer said.

"They all drowned. They were fleeing the fighting that broke out again in Malakal," he added.

The violence erupted on 15 December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers backing Riek Machar, his former vice-president. (QNA)