April 17, 2014 (JUBA) – At least 30 people were killed in Jonglei state capital Bor on Thursday during clashes between local youth demonstrators and peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), medical sources told Sudan Tribune.
- Children play inside a camp for internally displaced persons from the Nuer ethnic group inside the UNMISS compound in Bor, the capital of South Sudan’sJonglei state, on 27 February 2014 (Photo: AFP/Jim Lopez)
The clashes occurred about 9:30am (local time) when armed youth from Bor town opened fire on the UN compound where thousands of people displaced by ongoing violence in the country (IDPs) are currently sheltering.
UNMISS health worker William Oyual said 20 people were killed when armed local youths forced their way into the compound.
Bior Kuer, who works at Bor civil hospital, said another two people died at the health facility from wounds suffered during the fighting.
According to Kuer, 14 others were wounded, with three in critical condition.
UNMISS confirmed the fighting through spokesman Joe Conteras in Juba, but has yet to provide further details.
The UN base housing an Indian contingent of peacekeepers was overrun by the youths. who opened fire indiscriminately, killing an as yet unconfirmed number of people, including women and children.
It is not yet clear what provoked the attack on the IDPs, predominantly from the Nuer ethnic group, of which former vice president turned rebel leader Riek Machar hails.
Conflicting reports suggest the incident was triggered by the recent capture of Unity state capital Bentiu by rebel forces aligned with
Sources say youth from the Dinka Bor tribe went to the UNMISS base to deliver a memo of protest demanding IDPs be relocated from the area after they were angered by celebrations inside the compound on Wednesday of Bentiu’s capture.
The South Sudan army’s (SPLA) director of information and public relations, Brig. Gen Maluak Ayuen, said the incident in Bor occurred after civil society representatives delivered a memo against Machar supporters in the UNMISS compound.
He confirmed the death of four civilians, adding that the final death toll is not yet known.
Meanwhile, Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, condemned the killing of IDPs “in the strongest terms possible”.
“Many survivors I spoke to confirmed to me that many people were killed and the base was deserted. Some of the survivors had to run to the bushes, while others made it to the other official camps of the Korean [peacekeeping] contingents,” he said.
Dak was also unable to confirm the death toll, but said eyewitnesses had described large numbers of dead bodies lying on the ground.
Officials from the Jonglei state government refused to comment when contacted by Sudan Tribune.
The incident in Jonglei delivers another blow to a ceasefire agreement signed between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces in January.
Bentiu, which has changed hands several times since conflict erupted across the country in mid-December, was recaptured on Monday by rebels, reportedly aided by Sudan’s feared Janjaweed Arab militia group.
The SPLA also claims South Sudanese rebels are receiving training inside Sudanese territory.
Both the rebels and the Sudanese army (SAF) have denied the claims.