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39 people killed, 53 wounded in communal clashes over land in South Sudan

communal clashes in south sudan
communal clashes in south sudan

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In central South Sudan, ongoing conflict between herders from Lakes State and Warrap State has resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people, marking another grim episode in the region’s struggle for stability. Officials attribute the violence to longstanding land disputes that have persisted since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

Despite the implementation of a peace deal that brought an end to the 2013-2018 civil war, South Sudan continues to grapple with insecurity. While the peace agreement has significantly reduced overall violence, lower-level clashes between rival communities remain frequent. Areas where disputes over rights to grazing lands, water sources, cultivation grounds, and other resources persist are particularly prone to violence.

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In a recent incident, tensions escalated between herders in Lakes State and Warrap State, resulting in a two-day confrontation starting on Wednesday and extending into Thursday. Lakes State reported 20 people killed and 36 wounded, according to Major Elijah Mabor Makuach, the state’s police spokesperson. In neighboring Warrap State, 19 people were killed, and 17 were wounded, as reported by William Wol, the state’s information minister.

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The roots of the conflict lie in annual clashes between the Pakam community of Lakes State and the Luanygang community of Warrap State.

These clashes, attributed to deep-seated land disputes, occur regularly during the dry season, leading to cycles of revenge. The recent incident is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in resolving these disputes.

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While Lakes State security personnel were dispatched to the scene and managed to contain the violence, the tragic event underscores the urgent need for sustainable solutions to address the root causes of these conflicts and promote lasting peace in the region.