S.Sudan shoot-out kills 37, wounds UN policeman

February 4, 2012 02:04

JUBA - A shoot-out among South Sudanese security forces using truck-mounted machineguns killed 37 people and injured a United Nations policeman on Wednesday, UN and government officials said on Friday.

The government in South Sudan - formed in July, six years after a peace agreement that ended decades of civil war - is struggling to assert control in a country awash with weapons and whose army is made up of former rival militias.

The shooting broke out when the commissioner for Rumbek North County interrupted a meeting about recent cattle raiding with other officials in Unity state and made "angry remarks", according to Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

"Four pick-up trucks carrying armed men believed to be (army) and (police) then appeared and started shooting indiscriminately at the... commissioner's compound," Zerrouk said in a statement.

He said it was unlikely that the UN team was a target, and that one UNMISS staff member attending the meeting was wounded.

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