South Sudan's armed opposition has accused troops of attacking a town that has sheltered thousands of displaced people near the Sudan border. Picture: AP Photo/Sam Mednick

South Sudanese rebels loyal to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar, are still attempting to reach commanders on the ground to verify the death toll following fighting which according to a government official left 27 dead.

Peter Makouth Malual, Southern Liech state’s information minister, said 24 rebel soldiers, and three government soldiers serving under South Sudan President Salva Kiir, were killed following an attack by the former on the latter in Wednesday’s clashes.

However, rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel was unable to provide the rebel’s estimate of the death toll as attempts to reach commanders was still underway.

The onset of the dry season in the world’s newest country has led to fresh fighting and according to diplomats and analysts it is unlikely that peace talks will resume to end the war which has killed tens of thousands and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 before a civil war broke out in 2013 between Machar’s armed followers and government forces.

South Africa-based Machar, who was fired by Kiir, fled South Sudan after claiming his life was in danger in July 2016.

The rebel leader had briefly returned to the capital Juba in April 2016, after years in exile, to help implement a temporary unity government.

However, a dispute broke out over the number of armed men, and the weapons Machar’s men could bring into the country before renewed clashes erupted in July.

- African News Agency (ANA)