It’s a bloodbath that took place this weekend in South Sudan. Community clashes have left many people dead and injured in the northeastern region of Jonglei. No final report yet, but some speak of more than 300 dead and 300 injured.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reports that gunfire broke out on Saturday May 16 around the town of Pieri, causing residents to flee into the bush or to surrounding villages. Clashes continued with dozens of destroyed houses, looted NGO hangars, abducted women and stolen cattle. MSF estimates that the final toll will be very heavy, not to mention that many of the injured will not be able to access care. Three aid workers, including one from Médecins Sans Frontières, were also killed.
A conflict between Murle and Lou Nuer
At the roots of this crisis, we find an almost half-century-old conflict between two ethnic groups. On the one hand the Murles, nomads living from livestock, on the other the Lou Nuer, shepherds from the North, three times more numerous. Groups that have allied in the past, but whose union has shattered to independence.
According to several sources, the Murles were behind the attack on Saturday May 16. It would be revenge after a bloody assault by Lou Nuer earlier this year. The UN representative in South Sudan links these conflicts to the governors who have yet to be appointed by the government. ” He’s a character that unites the tribes. He has the authority to reconcile and act when some people resist Says David Shearer. The latter also links these battles to the recent floods which have caused heavy economic losses. The UN mission in the country added that because of the Covid-19 and the movement restrictions, the peace initiatives between Murle and Lou Nuer are stopped.