Inter communal fighting has left at least 36 people killed in a deadly clash between four communities in South Sudan over the weekend, according to Warrap state officials who confirmed the incident.
The Governor Warrap county, Aleu Ayieny Aleu described the latest wave of fighting in in Tonj East and Tonj North counties as devastating. The clashes were linked to cattle raids and revenge attacks.
Thousands have fled the region and at least 36 others were injured according to the Governor Warrap county, Aleu Ayieny Aleu. Many could not be transported for medical care due to flooding and the poor condition of roads in the area.
He further added that “The bigger problem is how we can transport the wounded civilians to hospital. Here I appealed to humanitarian partners to quickly step in, since the situation is normalizing, to transport these victims to hospital.”
Additionally, due to the flooding which destroyed several roads, government forces were unable to reach areas of the fighting since many access roads were cutoff by flood waters.
However, Tonj East County Commissioner John Deng Kook told South Sudan in Focus that armed young men from two communities in the area continue to engage in deadly clashes, but he declined to name the individuals involved.
The fighting was linked to a cattle theft, that some youth from Rek community stole cows from Luanyjang and when the youth perused the [area], then fighting erupted there on Saturday and on Sunday.
Tonj East County Commissioner John Deng Kook said other communities came for revenge.
Father Ajaknei Aguer confirmed that the clashes displaced thousands of local residents, who works with a Roman Catholic church mission in Romic, Tonj East county.
The religious leader also added “We have relocated ourselves to another place due to heavy fighting in the area that was approaching the town of Romic. Personally, I have seen people wounded being carried out by their relatives and some died immediately due to a lack of health service.”
State officials sponsored a peace conference between residents of Tonj East and Tonj North counties in Romic, where resolutions were drafted that called for uniform disarmament, compensation for victims and victims’ families, and the return of looted property to rightful owners.
Commissioner Kook said the only way to end the clashes is to carry out a thorough disarmament campaign and establish a strong justice system.
United Nations spokesmen noted that those frequent armed clashes make the humanitarian situation much worse.
South Sudan being the youngest in the world since it got its independence from Northern Sudan just a decade ago.
However, the separation from North Sudan, with an ethnically Muslim Arab-majority, has by no means brought peace as a conflict soon broke out between President Salva Kiir and Vice president Riek Machar, which degenerated into a conflagration.
Kiir, of the Dinka ethnic group, accused Machar, who belongs to the Nuer group, of organizing a palace coup to assassinate him and seize power.
After years of bloody clashes both reached an agreement for the division of power and the organization of a government with personalities of other South Sudanese nationalities.