Death toll from fighting in S. Sudan’s Great Lakes region rises to 170

The death toll from inter-communal fighting between two clans in South Sudan’s Great Lakes region has reached 170, an official said, up from 45.

“Right now, from both sides, we have 170 plus people who lost their lives.

“Three hundred forty two houses have been burnt and almost 1,800 people displaced,” Dharuai Teny, a member of parliament from the region, told Reuters.

NAN reports that according to unconfirmed reports 80 people were killed in fresh clashes on Friday involving the rival Dinka clans of Rup and Pakam.

The fight occurred in Chueicok area located in the western part of Rumbek.

Eyewitnesses said the revenge attack was carried out by the Pakam against Rup section, adding that both sides have lost 89 people and 148 wounded.

Also, local officials confirmed the resumption of the fighting on Friday morning between the two Dinka clans in Chueicok.

Western Lakes Minister of Information Shadrack Machok said the authorities have tried in vain to end through dialogue this inter-communal dispute over land ownership.

In 2014, the Rup were chased out of Malek County by the Pakam.

Now they carry out these revenge attacks since Wednesday attempting to retake the disputed pastures land between the two pastoralist groups.

Machok said the two clans refuse to cooperate with the local authorities adding “some of them insulted us saying let governor Matur Chut come to stop this fight”

The escalation of the fighting coupled with the failure of the local authorities to control the situation triggered a call by two Members of Parliament to President Salva Kiir to deploy the national army after declaring the state of emergency in western Lakes State

“As people representatives, we will be left with nobody to represent in this Country unless your Excellency quickly and decisively act,” wrote lawmakers Akol Kordit and Daniel Matuet in a letter to President Kiir seen by Sudan Tribune on Friday.

The two lawmakers requested the president to declare the State of emergency in Western Lakes and Gok States and to immediately deploy an army division to conduct a disarmament operation.

Further, they proposed him to organise an all stakeholders peace conference in Rumbek and that the justice settles all pending court cases related to killings in Western Lakes State.(Reuters/NAN)

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