South Sudan deploys troops to clashes-hit states after 600 die
JUBA (BNO NEWS) — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit has ordered the deployment of troops to prevent further tribal clashes in Jonglei and Warrap states, the government said on Thursday. More than 600 people have been confirmed dead.
The fighting broke out last week between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities in the state of Jonglei following large-scale cattle raids by members of the two groups, leading to the theft of between 26,000 and 30,000 cattle. Cattle raids are a persistent problem in South Sudan.
Many homes were destroyed during the fighting which left more than 600 people killed and more than 900 others injured. The death toll was confirmed by the South Sudanese government on Thursday, but fears are the final death toll will be even higher.
Kiir on Wednesday directed the country’s military forces to take immediate measures to stop revenge attacks from being carried out. He made the decision after an emergency meeting of the South Sudanese Security Council.
Interior Minister Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong said the country’s Security Council condemns, in the strongest terms, the loss of lives during the fighting. “In the days, weeks and months ahead of us, the Government of South Sudan will continue to work with State and county officials to apprehend and have punished the perpetrators of these terrible crimes,” government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.
Benjamin added that the government is working with a number of agencies to help the victims of the fighting and alleviate long-term suffering. “The Government will work hard to consider measures that can be adopted to prevent further such incidents happening again in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, a South Sudanese government official on Thursday said the fighting is now over. “Everything is calm now,” she said.
South Sudan became the world’s newest country when it broke away from Sudan on July 9 as a culmination of a six-year peace process which began in January 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
More than two million people, most of them civilians who died due to starvation and drought, were killed during the 20-year civil war in Sudan. Although there were hopes that South Sudan secession would lead to peace, violence has continued both on a local level in South Sudan as well as with the Sudanese forces.
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