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Missionaries flee Sudan fighting

For the second time in two months, serious fighting has rocked Sudan's western Upper Nile area, forcing the evacuation of foreign aid workers and missionaries, and disrupting relief operations.

The latest incidents are clashes taking place in the town of Nyal, which was destroyed in February by troops of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, under renegade Nuer commander Peter Gatdet.

The fighting has spread to the nearby town of Ganyliel, forcing the evacuation of humanitarian workers and missionaries in the area, Fr Fernando Gonzalez reports. The priest is one of two Comboni missionaries evacuated ten days ago from Ganyliel, together with 14 relief workers. The latest clashes do not involve Peter Gatdet, but other factions in confrontation in the Upper Nile.

The fighting was reportedly triggered by allegations of unfair distribution of relief supplies of food. The supplies were sent by the World Food Program but distributed by village chiefs.