Inter-ethnic clashes in South Sudan kills 32

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Tuesday condemned the killing of 32 people, including children and women in inter-ethnic clashes in South Sudan’s eastern Jonglei state.

The UNMISS said it is deeply concerned over the attack in the Baidit area alleged to have been carried out by armed Murle elements, resulting in civilian casualties and temporary displacements. 

“The UNMISS strongly condemns any attack on civilians and urges groups and individuals to take immediate action to avoid further escalations that will endanger vulnerable people,” it said in a statement issued in South Sudan capital, Juba. 

The UN mission said the armed youth from the Murle community carried out attacks and cattle raids in Dungrut and Machined villages.

It said some 32 people from the Dinka Bor community were killed, including three women killed by gunshots and three children who reportedly drowned in the river while fleeing, and at least 26 others were wounded, including women and children. 

According to the UN mission, the attackers also burned down at least five houses and looted properties of the civilians. 

It said people fled seeking shelter in nearby bush areas and some are currently unaccounted for, and called on authorities to carry out timely investigations and that the perpetrators be held accountable. 

“All efforts must be made to restore calm, refrain from engaging in further violence and to promote peace and reconciliation,” UNMISS said.

The UN mission expressed its commitment to supporting the authorities and the people of South Sudan to ensure the protection of civilians and to build durable peace, including through the implementation of the 2018 revitalised Peace Agreement. 

It warned that any surge in sub-national violence will have a devastating effect on communities that have already been impacted by flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic and recurring conflict. 

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, following a political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his then-deputy, Riek Machar, leaving soldiers loyal to the respective leaders to fight. 

The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced over two million, both internally and externally. 

The fragile 2015 peace deal signed under international pressure collapsed in the aftermath of renewed violence in July 2016, before the parties signed the 2018 revitalised peace deal to end years of conflict. -Xinhua

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