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200 dead in South Sudan after boat fleeing war sinks

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

Col. Philip Aguer said today 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 kilometers (45 miles) 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.

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