Ethnic fighting kills 56 in South Sudan, official says

Ethnic clashes between youth from the Nuer and Murle communities erupted once again.

 A road barricade is set on fire during what the information ministry calls a military coup in Khartoum, Sudan, October 25, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/EL TAYEB SIDDIG)
A road barricade is set on fire during what the information ministry calls a military coup in Khartoum, Sudan, October 25, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/EL TAYEB SIDDIG)

Clashes have killed 56 people during four days of fighting in South Sudan's eastern Jonglei state, after youth from the Nuer community attacked another ethnic group, a local official said on Tuesday, with the Nuer making up most of the casualties.

The territory of South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been plagued by blood feuds and clashes over cattle and land for decades.

Ethnic clashes between Nuer and Murle

Armed Nuer youth began attacking the Murle community on December 24 in Gumuruk County and Likuangole County, said Abraham Kelang, a government official in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

"The government is managing to help the communities, but the fighting is still ongoing," Kelang told Reuters by telephone.

He said 51 of those killed were Nuer attackers, with only five Murle defenders killed.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (C) acknowledges his supporters as he arrives to address a rally at John Garang's Mausoleum in the capital Juba March 18, 2015, on the peace talks process with South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar. Fighting since December 2013 has reopened ethnic fault lines. (credit: REUTERS/JOK SOLOMUN)South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (C) acknowledges his supporters as he arrives to address a rally at John Garang's Mausoleum in the capital Juba March 18, 2015, on the peace talks process with South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar. Fighting since December 2013 has reopened ethnic fault lines. (credit: REUTERS/JOK SOLOMUN)

UN reactions

Last week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) said armed Nuer youth were being mobilized ahead of a potential raid against the Murle.

UNMISS said it was monitoring the escalation of tensions and violence, and had intensified patrols in and around affected areas.