The most senior United Nations official in South Sudan has condemned the “horrific” killing of some 45 civilians in the Jonglei region on Tuesday when a Murle ethnic group attacked a Dinka village.
“I utterly condemn these killings and the abduction of some 60 women and children which accompanied these attacks,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in the country, known as UNMISS.
The attack left 19 people wounded.
“I urge the leaders of both communities to reign in the youth, show restraint and to put an end to the cycle of revenge killings. It is crucial that the national and local authorities support the community leaders and work to bring the perpetrators of all attacks to account,” he added.
Since 2013, the Murle and Dinka communities in Jonglei, which is in the central part of the country, have been engaged in long-standing inter-ethnic violence that has operated outside the wider political conflict in South Sudan.
“The perpetrators of this violence have undermined the ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts that [UNMISS] has supported in Jonglei,” Mr. Shearer said.
“The engagement that UNMISS has had with both communities has shown that the vast majority of people want to end the destructive pattern of revenge attacks,” he underscored.
The dead included humanitarian workers who, according to Mr. Shearer, were “working selflessly for the people of Jonglei.”
Their deaths, he added, are “pointless and utterly contemptible.”