South Sudan

Jonglei: Fresh retaliatory clashes in Akobo county near UNMISS camp

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January 10, 2010 (BOR) – Jonglei’s travails continued on Tuesday as Padoi Payam [district] came under “heavy attack”, Akobo county commissioner, Goi Joyol, told Sudan Tribune. The fighting, which began at 6pm is close to the location of UN forces in Akobo, the local leader says.

Violence between the Luo-Nuer and Murle tribes that began on 23 December 2011 has displaced around 60,000 according to the United Nations (UN) and may have killed over 3,000 according to unconfirmed local reports.

South Sudan and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have declared Jonglei a disaster area and are trying to reach remote areas of the bush where many fled to avoid a two week assault on Murle territory by the Luo-Nuer.

The clashes on Tuesday appear to have happened in the area close to the UNMISS base in the area, the Akobo commissioner told Sudan Tribune.

In the last seven months of 2011 over 1,000 people died in cattle raids and counter raids between the ethnic groups.

This is the second time in a week that the Lou-Nuer area has been attacked by alleged Murle tribemen.

The Akobo Commissioner says that 24 people died on Sunday when Murle armed men attacked the area apparently in retaliation for the Luo-Nuer attack on Murle territory in Pibor County.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that it needed donors to step forward to enable them to reach remote areas of Pibor by air. Roads are notoriously bad in Jonglei making it hard to deliver humanitarian assistance by land.

Martin Nesirky, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General on South Sudan, said that the UN had only received eight percent of the money needed to respond to the various humanitarian situations in South Sudan.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, who wrapped up a visit to South Sudan on Tuesday has said that without international help the country will not be able to respond to the multiple crises it faces and could see a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions.

An assessment of the situation in South Sudan’s Jonglei state is continuing with a response hub being established in Pibor town to coordinate the humanitarian repsones, OCHA said.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Saturday that the "emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005. With the exception of Boma, the areas we need to access are extremely remote and can only be reached by air".

The UN and other agencies are also responding to displacements in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei State caused by rebels groups. There are also tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan who have fled fighting north of the new international border.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has voiced deep concern over the situation in Jonglei, urging warring communities there to reconcile and end the "cycle of conflict".

“Violence in any form is unacceptable,” said a press statement issued on Tuesday by Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa, which holds the Security Council’s presidency this month.

The 15-member council also expressed alarm over the quantity of arms used in the recent attacks, calling for reform within the security sector in South Sudan and the disarmament of former rebel fighters in the region.

South Sudan seceded from north Sudan in July 2011 as part of 2005 peace deal.