, JUBA, Jan 8 – At least four people died in an attack on south Sudanese soldiers in a key oil-producing area on Saturday on the eve of a landmark referendum on independence for the region, a military spokesman said.
"There were four people killed in an attack in Mayom county in Unity state," spokesman Philip Aguer said.
"It was an attack against the Sudan People\’s Liberation Army (SPLA)," the former rebel security forces of the south, he added.
UN sources confirmed to AFP that they had received reports of an attack in the area.
There was supposed to be a UN food convoy going into the area but it pulled back.
It was unclear whether the dead were soldiers or their attackers.
Both UN and SPLA sources said the attack may have been the work of loyalists of Gatluak Gai, a renegade militia commander who rejected an amnesty offer from the southern regional government and whose forces are active in the area.