Nairobi: The UN's top official in South Sudan said "no evidence" had been found of reported mass killings, but warned that 60,000 people were in urgent need of aid.
Hilde Johnson, UN Special Representative for South Sudan, yesterday said reports that over 3,000 people were killed last week when thousands of armed youths attacked the Pibor region of Jonglei state appeared to be a false alarm.
"Importantly, we found no evidence that support those numbers," she said following a visit to affected areas where up to 8,000 rampaging armed youths set homes on fire and forced thousands to flee.
In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.
Joshua Konyi, commissioner for Pibor county and himself a Murle, earlier said that 3,141 people were killed in the attacks, but the death tolls were not confirmed by the United Nations or South Sudan's Army.
"The commissioner said that his figures were not yet confirmed, and that it was necessary to wait for people to emerge from the bush where they had fled to verify the reports," Johnson added.
First Published: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 10:16