At least nine people have been killed and several others were wounded in southern Sudan on the eve of a landmark referendum in the troubled region.
The clashes took place between two rebel groups and Sudanese soldiers in Unity State.
Reports say over two dozen rebels have been arrested since clashes erupted on Friday.
Â The violence comes ahead of the referendum in southern Sudan tomorrow (Sunday) in which around four million southerners are expected to vote in favor or against secession from northern Sudan.
President Omar al-Bashir has promised that he will accept the results of the referendum which is expected to see the formation of a new African state. Results are expected on January 15th. The referendum is part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the country’s bloody civil war.