January 9, 2012 (BOR) - At least 22 people were killed and 26 wounded in clashes between the Dinka Bor of Bor County and Murle ethnic group from Pibor County on Tuesday 7 February, local officials say.
Murle youth claim to have lost nine men, with 11 others injured in the clash, in the latest in a series of incidents between rival cattle herding groups in the state, according to a youth leader in Pibor Town on Thursday.
On the Dinka Bor side 13 are reported to have died, while 15 sustained injures and are receiving medical help in Bor Hospital.
Sudan Tribune has not been able to independently verify the figures on either side. This is the latest in two months of clashes in South Sudan’s Jonglei that have affected around 140,000 people, according to the United Nations (UN).
Raids and counter raids for cattle and revenge for previous attacks between the Murle and Luo Nuer peaked in August and June last year killing over 1,000. It is unclear how many have died since December in the latest clashes. The UN has dismissed claims by the Pibor commissioner the 3,000 died when the Luo Nuer, with some Dinka Bor, attacked Pibor over the New Year.
Pibor youth leader, Nyany Korok Kalithok, accused the Dinka Bor of attacking them in Manyibol village of Gumuruk Payam [district] in Pibor County on Tuesday 7 February.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune in Pibor, Korok claimed the Dinka Bor attackers were wearing the uniforms of South Sudan’s army and police.
“They were well organised. Some people were wearing Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) uniform others were in police uniform”, said Nyany.
However, the youth leader in Bor, Thon Ayuen, denied any attack was carried out by the Dinka Bor youth against the Murle. He said that members of his group from Baidit Payam [district] had been tracking over 150 heads of cattle that they say had been stolen by the Murle when they were ambushed in Manyibol.
According to Ayuen, who spoke to Sudan Tribune in Bor, three people were killed from Bor and one people from Murle side in the fighting, which occurred on Friday 3 February.
Both youth leaders called for peace and an end tribal violence.
Ayuen Garang who is advisor to youth leader also denied the involvement of security forces in the 7 February clash.
Kuol Bol, an MP in the Jonglei State Assembly representing Jale, said an investigation would be launched to discover who was responsible for the attack.
Bol said “comprehensive disarmament" was "the only means to end the conflict".
PIBOR LEADERS CALL FOR A SEPARATE STATE
While the tribal conflicts continues, where the territory of the Murle, Dinka Bor and Nuer meet, some Murle leaders in Pibor have suggested that they be granted a separate state within South Sudan but separate from Jonglei.
The ten states of South Sudan seceded from north Sudan in 2011. Many counties within these states are based on tribal lines.
The idea was raised on Thursday 9 February in a meeting called by European Union special representative in South Sudan, Rosalind Marsden, in Pibor town.
Marsden was told by Murle traditional leaders, women representatives and youth leaders that a separate state for Murle, Jie Anuak and Kachipo would resolve the conflict.
Awuo Awuo, the deputy paramount chief told the EU delegate that his community is not ready for any peace initiative that comes through Jonglei state government.
The state leadership headed by governor Kuol is widely criticised by Murle elders including women, accusing it of fuelling the crisis.
Mariam John, a women leader, said she would not have attended the meeting if governor was there.
They said Pibor lacks representation both in the state and national government.
According to Nyany Korok, who also spoke in the meeting, “any rubbish happening in Jonglei", is blamed on the Murle.