25 killed in South Sudan clashes between civilians and army

By: AFP
Published: 10:00 PM, 27 Jun, 2022
25 killed in South Sudan clashes between civilians and army
Caption: 25 killed in South Sudan clashes between civilians and army.
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Twenty-five people in South Sudan were killed when soldiers faced off with suspected cattle rustlers in a northwest state plagued by ethnic conflict, an official said Monday. 

The attack occurred at the weekend in a village in Tonj North County in Warrap state, Warrap state information minister Ring Deng told AFP. 

The government had sent its forces to recover stolen cattle when they came under fire, he said.

Eighteen soldiers and seven civilians died, he said, adding that many soldiers were still missing. 

"I condemn this... I am urging all the civilians wherever they are listening to talk to their people so they should not see the government as their enemy."

Local MP Mawien Dhor Ariik said the violence may have stemmed from a "leadership vacuum" after the government suspended the region's county commissioner this month over deteriorating security. 

Warrap State, and particularly Tonj North County, has been the scene of bloody clashes in recent years between government forces and young armed civilians.

In August 2020, at least 127 people died in clashes between soldiers and youths from a local community, the Gelweng, who refused to be disarmed.

The young nation of 11 million is struggling to recover from a civil war and an entrenched economic and political crisis.

The five-year conflict, which pitted now-President Salva Kiir against his rival and current Vice President Riek Machar, killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.

A 2018 ceasefire and power-sharing deal between Kiir and Machar still largely holds but little progress has been made in implementing its provisions.

The UN warned earlier this year that the country risks a return to conflict.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.