Gunmen from a south Sudan militia which sided with Khartoum in the civil war beat river port workers in Juba in the semi-autonomous south in an attempt to seize a food shipment, officials said on Wednesday.

The 60 armed members of the South Sudan Defence Forces militia, which fought against southern rebels during the 21-year war between north and south, also chased away foreign contractors in the incident on Tuesday, officials said.

No serious injuries were reported.

The gunmen were trying to seize a food shipment at the Nile river port that the southern government -- dominated by the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army -- had ordered confiscated pending a corruption investigation.

Another group, of 15 gunmen, later marched to SPLA headquarters, prompting the United Nations to issue a security alert. Southern President Salva Kiir later decided to hand the food to the militia members to calm the situation.

The officials said the government had not authorised spending on the three bargeloads of food and a separate shipment of uniforms for the militia members, who are due to be integrated into the southern army.

The official who ordered them had been arrested, they said.

From Reuters...