(Updates with UN comment in sixth paragraph.)
Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- At least 24 people died after an attack in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, where the United Nations says about 60,000 people have been displaced in fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic groups, the state governor said.
Four villages in Akobo county were attacked, Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk said in a phone interview today from Bor, the state capital. Twenty-two people were killed and more than 20 injured in Deng Jok, while at least two people were killed in Kaikuin, he said. Deng Jok is about 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Akobo town, where there is an army garrison.
“The army was sent there, but it was too late,” Juuk said. “They could not get the attackers, they could only bury the dead.”
South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in July, has been plagued with violence since the separation, including in Jonglei, an eastern state bordering Ethiopia where the UN says at least 1,000 people were killed in cattle-rustling attacks last year.
South Sudan sent 2,000 army troops and 1,500 police to disarm tribal fighters and prevent further clashes in Jonglei after 6,000 armed Lou Nuer attacked Pibor County, burning villages, killing residents and stealing cattle, government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Jan. 7.
“Up to 60,000 people are still on the move and almost all of them are in the bush,” Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, said yesterday in an interview in Juba, the capital. “We expect that in the coming weeks the majority of people are going to be entering their hometowns, but what they’re going to find is grim indeed.”
Most of Jonglei is covered by Block B, an unexploited oil concession in which Paris-based Total SA holds a 32.5 percent stake.
--Editors: Karl Maier, Ben Holland
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