A local official said on Tuesday that conflict in the eastern South Sudanese province of Jonglei has claimed 56 lives over the course of four days, with the majority of the victims being Nuer teenagers who attacked another ethnic group.
Blood feuds and armed conflicts over cattle and land have plagued South Sudan’s territory since it declared its independence from Sudan in 2011.
Armed Nuer youth began attacking the Murle community on Dec. 24 in Gumuruk County and Likuangole County, said Abraham Kelang, a government official in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
“The government is managing to help the communities, but the fighting is still ongoing,” Kelang told Reuters by telephone.
He said 51 of those killed were Nuer attackers, with only five Murle defenders killed.
Last week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) said armed Nuer youth were being mobilized ahead of a potential raid against the Murle.
UNMISS said it was monitoring the escalation of tensions and violence and had intensified patrols in and around affected areas.