Scores killed in revenge attacks in South Sudan

Story highlights

  • Tribal revenge attacks leave dozens dead
  • Ethnic tension flares as tribes fight over grazing lands and water rights
  • Some 60,000 people in Jonglei state are in urgent need of help, the United Nations says
Tribal revenge attacks in South Sudan have left at least 57 people dead and 52 wounded, a military spokesperson said.
"A group of armed Murle attacked three villages in Uror County, killing 57, mostly women and children," said Barnaba Benjamin, South Sudan's minister of information." "Fifty two were wounded, mostly women and children."
The recent attack in Jonglei state in South Sudan was carried out by armed members of the Murle tribe in an area inhabited by the Lou Nuer tribe.
The attack was in retaliation to attacks carried out earlier this month by 6,000 armed youth from the Lou Nuer on the town of Pibor, which is home to the Murle -- in a cycle of violence between the groups.
"The villages were vulnerable because many of the Lou Nuer male youth had joined the attack on Pibor," said Col. Philip Aguer of the Sudan People's Liberation Army.
In addition, "eight children were abducted and a number of cows were taken," Aguer added.
Ethnic tensions in Jonglei state have flared as tribes fight over grazing lands and water rights, leading to cattle raids and abduction of women and children.
Last year, the United Nations estimated that more than 1,100 people died and 63,000 were displaced by inter-communal violence in Jonglei state.
The South Sudan government has declared Jonglei a "disaster area" and has called for international assistance. in addition, the government says that it has embarked on a disarmament mission in Jongeli state.
The United Nations says that 60,000 people have fled the recent violence, and has launched a large aid effort.
The violence in Jonglei state is the latest to rock South Sudan, which officially gained its statehood in July after separating from neighboring Sudan to the north.