x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Renewed South Sudan tribal clashes kill at least 24

Violence flare in Jonglei state, days after a cattle vendetta plunged the region into a "disaster area".

JUBA // Renewed tribal clashes in South Sudan's troubled Jonglei state have killed at least 24 people, days after a cattle vendetta plunged the region into a "disaster area".

Twenty-two people were killed in the town of Deng Jok while two women were killed in Kaijuin in separate attacks, the Jonglei governor, Kuol Manyang, said, adding that 20 more were seriously wounded and had been taken to hospital.

South Sudan has declared Jonglei a national "disaster area" while the United Nations has said it will launch a "massive" emergency operation to help some 60,000 people affected by the violence.

In a dramatic escalation of violence, an 8,000-strong militia army from the Lou Nuer tribe this month marched on Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

The UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said last week that "tens, perhaps hundreds" could have died in the latest outbreak of violence in the young country, which declared independence only six months ago.

The latest clashes were in homeland areas of the Lou Nuer people, but the attackers were reported not to be Murle as they live to the south of Akobo, while the gunmen this time had come from the west.

Crops had been rased, herds of cattle stolen and houses burnt around the village of Deng Jok, said Both Jangjuol, an aid worker based there.

"I'm looking around and there's smoke coming from everywhere," he said.