JUBA, – At least 23 people have been killed and 52 others injured during fresh tribal violence in the western South Sudanese town of Tonj over the weekend, a local government official said on Monday.
James Ayiik Dak, Tonj State Minister of Information, told Xinhua by phone that the violence started on Friday after four local pastoralists from the Dinka tribe were killed during a foiled cattle raid.
Dak said the community of the slain herders launched a counter attack on a neighboring community which they suspected to have carried out the failed raid, leading to scores of causalities.
He said calm has returned to the region after a joint military force made of army soldiers and police was deployed.
“After the clashes ended on August 11, we confirmed a total of 23 people dead and 52 wounded from both sides. But calm has returned to the area and there is no major security threat,” Dak told Xinhua.
According to statistics from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the East African country is home to more than 38 million livestock, mainly cattle, goats and sheep.
But for decades, livestock-related violence has been a major challenge among pastoralist communities in South Sudan as thousands of people are estimated to have been killed in violent cattle raids.