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South Sudan fighting traps UN personnel in base

JUBA, South Sudan — Fighting between South Sudan’s army and rebels in the capital of one of its oil-rich states is forcing UN personnel to remain inside a base where more than 20,000 frightened residents are seeking refuge, officials said Wednesday.

UN personnel are unable to leave the base in Malakal because of the fighting, said Joe Contreras, a spokesman for the UN mission in South Sudan. Ten people died at the hospital at the UN base on Tuesday. People inside the camp are reporting a water shortage, said a spokeswoman from the aid group Oxfam.

Rebels control some parts of town and government forces other parts, said South Sudan’s military spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer.

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‘‘It is still very chaotic. Rebels are in parts of the south of Malakal and in the market. The SPLA is in the north and through to the east,’’ he said, using an acronym for government troops.

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Aguer said rebels are wearing civilian clothes, making it difficult for government troops to distinguish combatants.

Malakal is the closest city to oil fields in Paloch, about 90 miles away.