South Sudan cattle raids 'kill 80' in Warrap state

Prison officer being treated after clashes with Mr Athor's fighters
Image caption Some 1,000 people have been killed in clashes in South Sudan this year, the UN says

At least 80 people have been killed in South Sudan after rebels attacked cattle camps, the southern army says.

The attackers killed 34 people, including women and children, when they stole animals in Warrap state, said army spokesman Philip Aguer.

But as they returned with the cattle, they were ambushed and 48 raiders were killed, he said.

South Sudan is seceding from the north in July. It accuses Khartoum of trying to destabilise the region.

Such claims are denied by President Omar al-Bashir's government.

The UN says at least seven armed groups are operating in South Sudan, which is one of the world's poorest regions after decades of conflict with the north.

It estimates that more than 1,000 people have been killed in clashes between rebels or local armed groups and the southern army this year.

Cattle play a key role in the lives of many communities in South Sudan and neighbouring countries.

Col Aguer blamed members of Philip Bepan's militia for the latest violence.

The BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum says several southern army officers have rebelled in recent months, mostly members of the Bul Nuer ethnic group.

Our correspondent says they have gone into rebellion because of what they say is domination by the Dinka community - the largest in South Sudan.

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.

Satellite image showing geography of Sudan, source: Nasa

Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Map showing Ethnicity of Sudan, source:

Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.

Map showing infant Mortality in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The health inequalities in Sudan are illustrated by infant mortality rates. In South Sudan, one in 10 children die before their first birthday. Whereas in the more developed northern states, such as Gezira and White Nile, half of those children would be expected to survive.

Map showing percentage of households using improved water and sanitation in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The gulf in water resources between north and south is stark. In Khartoum, River Nile, and Gezira states, two-thirds of people have access to piped drinking water and pit latrines. In the south, boreholes and unprotected wells are the main drinking sources. More than 80% of southerners have no toilet facilities whatsoever.

Map showing percentage of who complete primary school education in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Throughout the two Sudans, access to primary school education is strongly linked to household earnings. In the poorest parts of the south, less than 1% of children finish primary school. Whereas in the wealthier north, up to 50% of children complete primary level education.

Map showing percentage of households with poor food consumption in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Conflict and poverty are the main causes of food insecurity in both countries. In Sudan, many of the residents of war-affected Darfur and the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, depend on food aid. The UN said about 2.8m people in South Sudan would require food aid in 2013. The northern states tend to be wealthier, more urbanised and less reliant on agriculture.

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