The killing of “innocent civilians” in the Jonglei region of South Sudan has been condemned as “horrific” by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the country, David Shearer.
Reports suggest that around 45 people were killed and 19 injured when members of the Murle ethnic group attacked a Dinka village on Tuesday.
“I utterly condemn these killings and the abduction of some 60 women and children which accompanied these attacks,” said Mr Shearer. “I urge the leaders of both communities to reign in the youth, show restraint and to put an end to the cycle of revenge killings. It is crucial that the national and local authorities support the community leaders and work to bring the perpetrators of all attacks to account,” he added.
The Murle and Dinka communities in Jonglei have been engaged in long-standing inter-ethnic violence, which has operated outside the wider political conflict that has affected South Sudan since 2013.
“The perpetrators of this violence have undermined the ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts that the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, has supported in Jonglei,” Mr Shearer said. “The engagement that UNMISS has had with both communities has shown that the vast majority of people want to end the destructive pattern of revenge attacks.”
The dead included humanitarian workers who according to Mr Shearer were “working selflessly for the people of Jonglei.” Their deaths, he added, are “pointless and utterly contemptible.”