More than 100 people were killed and many injured at the weekend in the latest series of violent tribal clashes in the southern state of Jonglei, according to a military spokesman.
AFP - More than 100 people were killed in weekend clashes in the troubled Jonglei state of south Sudan, where the rate of violent deaths has overtaken that of Darfur, a military spokesman said Monday.
"There is a total of 102 killed, including 51 civilians and 23 of the attackers, and 46 injured," Major General Kuol Diem Kuol of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) told AFP.
Kuol told AFP earlier, when the known death toll stood at 76, that 11 SPLA soldiers and 11 other troops were among the dead.
"This is not a raid for cattle but a militia attack against security forces," he said.
Tribesmen from the Lou Nuer ethnic group raided the Dinka Hol village of Duk Padiet in Jonglei state on Sunday morning, forcing a company of SPLA soldiers based there to flee.
More than 2,000 people have died and 250,000 been displaced in inter-tribal violence across the south since January, according to the United Nations, with the rate of violent deaths now exceeding that of war-torn Darfur in west Sudan.
A reconciliation conference between the main tribes of Jonglei state was planned for September 30 but has been postponed, a local source told AFP.
Clashes between rival ethnic groups in southern Sudan erupt frequently -- often sparked by cattle rustling and disputes over natural resources, while others are in retaliation for previous attacks.
However, a series of recent raids has shocked many, with an apparent sharp rise in attacks on women and children, as well as the targeting of homesteads.
Kuol had earlier said he suspected that the raiders on Sunday were backed by supporters of northern Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
NCP officials have repeatedly denied such accusations. North-south tensions remain high, with Sudan still divided by the religious, ethnic and ideological differences that fuelled a 22-year civil war which ended in a 2005 peace deal.
Under that deal, the south has a six-year transitional period of regional autonomy and takes part in a unity government until a 2011 referendum on self-determination.
The north and south have agreed on 10 key areas to work together, including upcoming elections next April, peace efforts in Darfur, demarcating the north-south border and power-sharing.
However, two other issues remain: the referendum, and census results rejected by the south but which are seen as key to the upcoming elections.
The north's NCP wants a 75-percent threshold for the south's independence to be recognised while the SPLA says a simple majority of voters in the referendum would be enough.
Date created : 2009-09-21