A heavy military battle inside South Sudan's border killed 163 people, mostly rebels, when government soldiers clashed with rebels the country accuses Sudan of supporting, officials said Thursday.
South Sudan's military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, said 143 rebels led by David Yau Yau died in the battle. Aguer said 20 government forces were killed and 70 were wounded in the fighting on Tuesday.
Aguer said government forces captured an airstrip in a town called Okello that the rebels have been using to import most of their military supplies. South Sudan accuses Sudan of arming Yau Yau's rebellion in order to block South Sudan's plans to build an oil pipeline through Ethiopia to a port in Djibouti. Okello is in South Sudan's southeast Pibor County, where Yau Yau hails from.