A tribal militia killed at least 43 people in South Sudan's central Jonglei state, local officials said on Wednesday, part of a cycle of tit-for-tat revenge killings that local authorities have so far been powerless to stop.
Raiders from the Murle ethnic group killed 20 men, 22 women and one child, and injured 19 people in the small village of Duk Payel on Tuesday, Jonglei Information Minister Jocab Akech Deng said.
The killings are the latest chapter in a chain of revenge attacks, cattle raiding, and child abduction between the Murle ethnic group and another group, the Dinka Bor.
Oil-rich South Sudan dissolved into civil war in 2013 and is riven by rivalry between rebels, military and militias. More than a third of the country's 12-million strong population have fled their homes.
Kudumoch Nyakurono, the information minister of neighbouring Boma state, said his government is trying to find the culprits.
"There are some villages which were attacked by some youth from Murle in Pibor," said Nyakurono, State Information Minister of Boma.
"The government of Boma state has condemned this attack and we have sent commissioners and representatives from here to go and find out which village has organized this attack so that we can bring them to justice."
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) also told Reuters on Wednesday that the mission is sending a peacekeeping patrol and human rights monitors to the area.
"UNMISS deplores any incidents in which innocent civilians are killed. The mission will continue to support the reconciliation efforts on the ground between communities to ease tensions and end the cycle of revenge," said mission spokesman Daniel Dickinson.