Fighting has broken out in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, local officials say, the first major clashes since the government and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement in January.
Rebels believed to be loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar attacked Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile.
Government forces fought them in different parts of the town.
The clashes will again fuel concerns over the security of oil fields in the north – the backbone of the economy.
The UN representative in the capital, Juba, urged all parties in the world’s newest country to protect civilians.
“Hostilities have this morning broken out in Malakal: all parties engaged in the violence must uphold people’s rights and protect non-combatants,”
Upper Nile administration spokesman Philip Jiben told the Reuters news agency that the fighting was still continuing, “but our forces are still in control of Malakal”.