January 1, 2012 (JUBA) — At least 9 civilians have been killed in two separate incidents in South Sudan’s northwestern region of Bahr el Ghazal.
Several others have also sustained injuries in the same incidents which took place in Aweil, the provincial capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Warrap state.
Authorities in Warrap State, where seven people died, attributed the killings to a dispute between two local groups over the name of Mangar village in Gogrial West County.
The fighting erupted days after high level community leadership, including minister of Humanitarian Affairs Joseph Lual Acuil and the country’s police Inspector General Acuil Tito Madut, held an annual meeting in the disputed area on 27 December.
Authorities blamed Aguok community to have started the fight against its neighboring Kuac community on Saturday 31. Aguok deny the charge, claiming that Kuac intended to annex the area into their territory without their consent.
However, Aciec Kuot Kuot, commissioner of the area (Gogrial West) said in an interview on Sunday with Sudan Tribune that county authorities in collaboration with state government were able to contain the clash and that situation had returned to normalcy.
“Yes there was a clash yesterday on Saturday 31 but security situation has now returned to normal. Police have been deployed and we are monitoring it closely”, commissioner Kuot said, explaining that three were killed from his ethnic community of Aguok while four on the side of the rival Kuac community were lost.
Meanwhile, Kuac Deng Kuac, commissioner of Aweil East County, said on Sunday that 3 civilians sustained injuries on the same Saturday 31, at Peth Market, Aweil East County, when a soldier allegedly member of the country’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), opened a fire into the market, killing at least two people before he was arrested.
The cause of the shooting was unknown but authorities linked it to mental problem as the perpetuator was reported to have shot himself in 2008 in Juba. The security situation is the area is said to have returned to normal.