200 dead after boat fleeing South Sudan violence sinks

A military spokesman in South Sudan says 200 people fleeing warfare died after a boat crossing the Nile River sank.

Thousands have crossed the Nile to escape intense fighting around rebel-held city of Bor

Thousands of people have crossed the Nile river in recent weeks in an attempt to escape fighting in South Sudan. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are currently around 84,000 displaced people in the the area. (Andreea Campeanu/Reuters)

A military spokesman in South Sudan says 200 people fleeing warfare died after a boat crossing the Nile River sank.

Col. Philip Aguer said Tuesday that the boat was mostly carrying women and children. Tens of thousands of residents have crossed the Nile in wooden boats to flee fighting around the rebel-held city of Bor.

Aguer said the front line continues to shift but it appears fighting is about 70 kilomeres north of Juba, the country capital.

In Ethiopia, where peace talks are taking place, a spokesman for the rebels, former South Sudan Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Kong, said Ugandan helicopters and fighter jets are bombing rebel positions.

Another pro-rebel official, Gideon Gatpan Thaor, said fighters described being hit with a smoky weapon that burns, possibly white phosphorous.