South Sudan: 185 killed in clashes

2011-08-22 12:14

Juba - More than 185 people have been killed in South Sudan in a recent cattle raid and an unrelated militia attack, officials said Sunday.

The incidents underscore the challenges and insecurity faced by South Sudan, which became the world's newest country when it declared independence in July.

South Sudan army spokesperson Col Philip Aguer said fighters loyal to rebel leader George Athor crossed the border from north Sudan and attacked a town in South Sudan's Upper Nile state.

Aguer said the violence which started Friday left 60 people dead, including seven soldiers and 53 militia members. He said the soldiers managed to repel the attackers.

Separately, South Sudanese officials said on Sunday 125 people were killed in a cattle raid during which tribesmen stole 2 000 cattle in the country's east.

Jonglei state Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk said eight villages were destroyed when warriors from the Murle tribe in Pidor county attacked the Lou-Nuer tribe of Uror county on Thursday.

Justice Minister John Luk Jok said he saw bodies strewn across the scene of the raid and that some children's limbs had been amputated.

The two tribes frequently clash over land and cattle. In May, nearly 70 people were killed in a weeklong cattle-related conflict between the two rival tribes.

The May cattle raid happened near water points in Jonglei state when ethnic Nuer tribesmen allegedly attacked the area and drove off with more than 100 000 cattle owned by the Murle.

South Sudan became the world's newest nation July 9, after voting in January to separate from the Arab north.

Decades of fighting with the north left South Sudan as one of the poorest and least developed places in the world, with conflict in nine of its 10 states.