Twelve killed, 15 children missing after South Sudan attack

Youths have shot and killed at least 12 people in an attack on a village in eastern South Sudan.

Youths have shot and killed at least 12 people in an attack on a village in eastern South Sudan. Photo: AP

Youths have attacked a village in eastern South Sudan and shot dead at least 12 people while 15 children are missing, officials say, as local conflicts continue to increase ahead of elections.

A civil war from 2013 to 2018 caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and although the main belligerents have since been at peace, clashes continue among armed groups.

Activists believe the recent rise in violence is at least partly connected to the elections to choose leaders to succeed the present transitional government.

In the latest incident on Sunday, youths attacked Ajwara village in Pibor’s Pochalla county, Information Minister of Greater Pibor Administrative Area Abraham Kelang said.

“Twelve people were killed, 10 injured and there were some cattle that were raided,” he told Reuters, adding that most of the dead were elderly.

The attackers, from the Murle ethnic group, are also suspected of abducting children, the acting commissioner of Pochalla County Owety Olung said.

“We have 15 children who are still missing right now,” he told Reuters.

“We don’t know where they are if they are with the attackers or in the bush.”

Pochalla County is mostly inhabited by the Anyuak ethnic group.

They and the Murle, who mainly live in neighbouring Boma County, have fought sporadically and the violence, partly motivated by cattle rustling, has involved ethnic groups from nearby Jonglei State.

In late March, youths shot dead 15 people in Pibor, including Boma’s deputy army commander, government officials and the county commissioner’s bodyguards.

Officials also blamed the youths for the killing in 2023 of another county commissioner in Pibor and a security official.

More than 150 people were killed earlier this year during conflicts between rival groups in northern and western South Sudan.

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