Inter-communal violence in South Sudan’s Warrap State has left over 30 people dead and 80 wounded.
Speaking to The EastAfrican on Tuesday, Warrap State Acting Information Minister Agok Ayaar said, “The fighting that began over the weekend, mainly on Sunday, has lasted for at least two days now. It occurred in Tonj East and parts of Tonj North between three communities there.”
“According to reports from commissioners of those areas, over 30 people have been killed on all sides and 80 people got injured,” he added. “The State government condemns the attack and will investigate the incident.”
The minister said those wounded in Tonj East County are being treated at United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) medical facility, while the rest are receiving treatment at various healthcare centres.
According to a gun violence report released by 211 Check – a data and fact checking organisation – at least 192 people across South Sudan died in August alone this year due to gun violence. This is a 67 percent rise in incidents from July where the country recorded 63 deaths related to gun violence.
In late May this year, the UN Security Council approved a resolution extending an arms embargo and sanctions against South Sudan for one year. South Sudan's unity government opposed the decision, arguing it would jeopardise the progress of the 2018 revitalised peace agreement [R-ARCSS] which helped form the unity government last year.
South Sudan has many guns in circulation, most held by civilians.
According to a Gun Policy report, the estimated number of guns (both legal and illicit) held by civilians in South Sudan was 1.2 million in 2017 and 3 million in 2013. The Defence Forces of South Sudan is reported to have 351,500 firearms.
Juba, which is barred from purchasing weapons from the mainstream international market, unless with express permission from the UN Security Council, argues that the arms embargo makes it difficult to equip its forces.