South Sudan rebels claim they killed eight soldiers

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A South Sudanese rebel group said it killed eight soldiers in the south of the country, underlining the fragility of the oil-rich east African country after a partially implemented peace deal was signed last year.

Government forces attacked fighters from the National Salvation Front, led by renegade former General Thomas Cirillo, at Lo’bonok in Karpeto region of Central Equatoria State, said a statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Suba Manase.

The statement said attackers included fighters from a larger former rebel group led by Riek Machar, which signed a peace deal with government in September.

The agreement has been partially implemented because government maintains there is not enough money to disarm and integrate rebel fighters into the army.

A military spokesman said he could not reach officers to confirm the attack.

“We have communication difficulties with the government area commander,” Lul Ruai Koang told Reuters.