Officials in Southern Sudan say that fighting between the government’s military and forces loyal to a rebel leader has killed 51 troops and dislodged the rebel commander from his outpost.

Southern Sudan voted in January to secede from Sudan’s north, but violence has flared across the south in the last two weeks, underscoring the challenges the region faces before it declares independence on July 9.

The dislodged rebel leader, George Athor, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his forces withdrew from their base in the southern state of Jonglei after running out of ammunition.

An international official said 35 of Mr. Athor’s men and 16 troops in the southern military died in the fighting on Monday.

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