The United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan is investigating the causes of another spasm of ethnic violence in the new country that has reportedly killed dozens of villagers and displaced many more.
About 45 people are said to have died and many others forced to flee their homes in Jalle in the state of Jonglei after yesterday’s attack, according to the peacekeeping mission (UNMISS).
The mission dispatched an integrated assessment team to Jalle to determine the cause of the attacks, with initial reports indicating that at least 100 tukuls, or traditional huts, have been burned.
Local residents have said the armed people from the Murle community attacked Jalle yesterday, killed both adults and children, and stole cattle, a key source of income and status in South Sudan.
UNMISS reported that the attack occurred a week ahead of a scheduled press conference in nearby Pibor that aims to reconcile the Murle and Lou Nuer communities, who in September were involved in a series of clashes that killed about 600 people.
South Sudan has been beset by outbreaks of ethnic violence since it became independent in July from Sudan, with Jonglei among the areas worst affected. The situation has been further complicated by the presence of many armed groups and militias across the country.