At least 12 killed, 15 children missing in South Sudan attack

Tuesday April 02 2024

Jikany Nuer White Army fighters holds their weapons in Upper Nile State, South Sudan on February 10, 2014. PHOTO | REUTERS


Youths attacked a village in Eastern South Sudan and shot dead at least 12 people while 15 children are missing, officials said on Tuesday, as local conflicts continued to increase ahead of elections late this year.

A civil war from 2013-18 caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and although the main belligerents have since been at peace, clashes continue among armed groups.

Activists believe the recent rise in violence is at least partly connected to the elections to choose leaders to succeed the present transitional government.

In the latest incident on Sunday, youths attacked Ajwara village in Pibor's Pochalla county, Information Minister of Greater Pibor Administrative Area Abraham Kelang said.

Read: Fresh fighting in South Sudan kills 26 people, officials say

"Twelve people were killed, 10 injured and there were some cattle that were raided," he told Reuters, adding that most of the dead were elderly.


The attackers, from the Murle ethnic group, are also suspected of abducting children, Owety Olung, the acting commissioner of Pochalla County, said.

"We have 15 children who are still missing right now. We don't know where they are if they are with the attackers or in the bush," he told Reuters.

Pochalla County is mostly inhabited by the Anyuak ethnic group. They and the Murle, who mainly live in neighbouring Boma County, have fought sporadically and the violence, partly motivated by cattle rustling, has involved ethnic groups from neighbouring Jonglei State.

In late March, youths shot dead 15 people in Pibor, including Boma's deputy army commander, government officials and the county commissioner's bodyguards.

Read: South Sudan transition in danger of stalling

Officials also blamed the youths for the killing last year of another county commissioner in Pibor and a security official.

More than 150 people were killed earlier this year during conflicts between rival groups in Northern and Western South Sudan.