More than 200 drown in South Sudan

Officials say more than 200 people, mostly women and children, drowned while fleeing violence.

FILE: A group of South Sudanese soldiers gather near a truck as they patrol the streets of Juba on 2 January, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - More than 200 civilians from South Sudan have drowned in a ferry accident on the White Nile River while fleeing fighting in the city of Malakal.

The army reported heavy fighting south of Bor, as the government sought ways to recapture the town from rebels.

An army official says it appears the boat was overloaded and the deceased included women and children.

According to the United Nations, thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting between groups loyal to South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Talks aimed at securing a ceasefire in the month-long conflict are taking place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.