100 killed in south-south Sudan clashes

AFP , Wednesday 15 Jun 2011

At least 100 people were killed in clashes over cattle between rebel militias and Southern army as the region gears up for independence due in less than a month

Clashes in south Sudan have killed almost 100 people in separate cattle raids and rebel attacks in the past week, officials said Wednesday, as the soon-to-be independent state struggles to contain bloody violence.

In Warrap state, 29 people were killed after an attack on Monday by rebels led by Peter Gadet, a former southern general turned militia commander.

"These people were killed in an attack by those rebels of Gadet, coming from Unity state, and the dead included two police officers," said Philip Aguer, southern army spokesman.

The southern army has battled at least seven different rebel militia groups in recent months, with the scale of violence raising concern for the plight of civilians, as the region gears up for independence due in less than a month.

Meanwhile, separate battles between heavily armed cattle raiders last week have left at least 71 people dead in Lakes state, local officials there said.

Deadly clashes over livestock between south Sudan's Toposa tribesmen and the Kenyan ethnic Turkanas in a remote area of the countries' shared border were also reported on Wednesday.

Clashes over cattle are common in south Sudan and Kenya's remote north, where herders are often armed.

At least 38 people were killed in Cuiebet county in Lakes state on June 9, said John Matur, county information officer.

"Many houses were burned down, and attacks taken in revenge," Matur said, explaining that the fighting was between two rival sections of the Dinka people.

The fighting was sparked by revenge attacks for earlier raids, he added.

"There have also been shootings at vehicles on the roads, and the people are suffering," he said.

Separate clashes between armed cattle herders in Rumbek East county were also reported.

"The violence that occurred on June 11 claimed the lives of 33 persons," said David Marial Gumke, commissioner of Rumbek East county, speaking on the UN-backed Miraya Radio.

At least nine Kenyan ethnic Turkanas were also killed when Toposa tribesman intercepted them as they were attempting to steal livestock from Sudan, on the night of Sunday to Monday, a senior Kenyan police officer told AFP.

Over 1,500 people have died in violence in south Sudan since a largely peaceful independence referendum in January, according to UN and official figures.

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