February 25, 14 (BOR) - Over 68,000 displaced civilians from Duk county in South Sudan’s Jonglei state are now on move to Twic East county on foot after an attack on their villages on Monday 24 February by rebel fighters, local officials say.
A large force, reported to be allied to South Sudan’s former Vice President Riek Machar, attacked Duk Padiet, Dongcak and Mareng in Duk county, killing three civilians in the attack.
Elijah Mochnoom Wuor, who narrowly escaped from the attack told Sudan Tribune in Bor that a "large population is now on move to Twic East", expressing his fears of losing children due to hunger.
"The attack happened on Monday in many parts of Duk county, killing three people. They looted and burned some houses. Their aim was to loot, even the Lost Boys’ hospital in Duk Payuel, the main Hospital for eye surgery for all the people in the state was destroyed", Mocnoom explained.
In the same attack, the rebels injured two people, according to the commissioner of Duk County, Elijah Mocnoom Wuor.
"Their aim was to loot. The schools, health facilities and government buildings in the County headquarters of Mareng were all looted or destroyed”, he added.
Over the weekend fighting took place between the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and the rebels - the SPLM/A-in-Opposition - in Gadiang. Military sources say that over 170 rebels were killed in three rounds of heavy attacks before the rebels were repelled. Nineteen SPLA soldiers were killed in the same attack.
According to the commissioner, the rebels left most places in Duk and "are now regrouping themselves" possibly for second attack, adding that the SPLA have occupied strategic areas for maximum protection.
Of the 710,600 people who have been displaced within South Sudan since the crisis begun in December almost 130,000 are in Jonglei. A further 171,000 have fled to neighbouring countries according to the United Nations.
Jonglei has seen some of the worst fighting after a large part of the army defected in the days after the conflict began in Juba.