South Kordofan - Rebels in Sudan's South Kordofan state bordering South Sudan said Tuesday that 17 government troops have been killed during the latest fighting, ahead of a UN deadline for the Sudans to make peace.
Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting insurgents from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a charge which analysts believe despite denials by the government in Juba.
The SPLM-N charged that six civilians were killed in an attack against villages by Khartoum government forces on Sunday before rebels battled the army, leaving the 17 soldiers dead.
The violence occurred in the Al-Abbasiya district of northeastern South Kordofan, an SPLM-N statement said.
Sudan's military spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Access to South Kordofan is severely restricted, making independent verification of the claims difficult.
About 200,000 refugees have fled a worsening humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since fighting between government and rebel forces began in June last year, the United Nations says.