Juba: Hundreds of armed attackers from a
South Sudanese tribe that suffered a devastating assault last
month charged into three villages, burned them to the ground
and killed 57 people, an official said on Friday, an act that
perpetuates a cycle of revenge attacks in the world`s newest
Some 400 men from the Murle ethnic group attacked the Lou
Nuer villages on Wednesday, said Simon Hoth, a county
commissioner in Jonglei state, the site of devastating
violence the last three weeks. Hoth, a member of the Lou Nuer,
said 57 were killed and 40 people were missing and likely
Twenty-five women and 23 children were among those killed
in the Uror county attack, Hoth said. Fifty-two people were
"They have butchered these people," he said. There was no
immediate independent confirmation of Hoth`s figures.
Murle fighters were accused of killing 22 people in
similar attacks in neighboring Akobo county on Sunday.
Uror was the scene of a larger Murle attack in August in
which an estimated 600 Lou Nuer were killed. Those attacks
prompted a series of retaliatory raids by the Lou Nuer in
Pibor county beginning December 23.
One Murle official has said that 3,000 Murle died in
those attacks. Neither the central government or the UN has
confirmed that figure, but scores are feared to have died.
The government of South Sudan recently declared Jonglei
state a disaster area. The UN mission in South Sudan estimates
at least 60,000 people have been affected by the ongoing
violence. The UN operation says it has launched one of the
most "complex and expensive" humanitarian operations since the
end of the Sudanese civil war in 2005.
South Sudan became the world`s newest country last year
after decades of war with Sudan, but it is now experiencing
massive internal violence.
But with retaliation attacks occurring more and more
frequently, there is little hope for an end to these clashes.
Cattle raiding is at the heart of the tribal clashes. The Lou
Nuer are said to have stolen tens of thousands of cattle from
the Murle in the December attack.
"Arms are still in the hands of the civilian population,"
said Jonglei Gov. Kual Manyang Juuk. "And these attacks will
Juuk said the government is sending police to patrol the
area, but Jonglei`s extreme underdevelopment makes securing
the area difficult. "This is a challenge for the government.
They don`t live in formal towns," said.