Sunday, October 24, 2021

Dozens killed in intersectarian fighting in South Sudan

At least 36 people were killed in clashes between four communities in South Sudan over the weekend, according to Warap state officials.

Warap governor Aleu Ayni Aleu called the latest wave of fighting in Tonj East and Tonj North counties “devastating”. He told the VOA’s South Sudan in the Focus radio program that the clashes were linked to cattle raids and revenge attacks.

Aleu said thousands of people had fled the area and at least 36 others were injured. Many people could not be taken for medical care due to floods and poor road conditions.

“The big problem is how can we get the injured civilians to the hospital,” Alleu said. “Here I appeal to the humanitarian colleagues to act quickly, as the situation is returning to normal, to take these victims to the hospital.”

Due to floods that destroyed many roads, government forces were unable to reach the fighting areas.

Tonj East County Commissioner John Deng Kook told South Sudan in Focus that armed youths from two communities in the area were involved in deadly clashes, but declined to name the persons involved.

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“The fight was linked to a cattle theft, that some youths from the Rake community stole cows from Luanjang and when the youths saw [area], then fighting broke out there on Saturday and Sunday,” Tonge East County Commissioner John Deng Kook told VOA. “Other communities had come to take revenge.”

Father Ajakenei Aguirre, who works with a Roman Catholic Church mission in Romi, Tonge East County, said the clashes displaced thousands of local residents.

“We have relocated ourselves due to heavy fighting in the area near the Roman city of Rome,” Aguirre said. “Personally, I have seen injured people being turned out by their relatives and some died immediately due to lack of healthcare.”

State officials sponsored a peace conference between residents of Tonge East and Tonge North counties in Romik, where proposals were drafted that included equitable disarmament, compensation for victims and families of victims, and the rightful owners of looted property. was called to return.

Commissioner Cook said the only way to end the conflict was to conduct a thorough disarmament campaign and establish a strong justice system.

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