At least 25 people have been killed in South Sudan, officials said, after youths from two neighbouring communities in the country’s north clashed over a disputed borderline separating their areas.
Violence is endemic in parts of South Sudan where clashes triggered by localised disputes over grazing areas, water, cultivation grounds and other resources often turn deadly.
The country’s volatile politics often helps exacerbate some of the localised disputes, fanning the violence.
In the latest unrest, armed youths from the Twic community in Warrap state on the border with Sudan on Monday attacked residents of neighbouring Abyei town also on the border.
“That gun raid resulted into … 15 people who died from Twic side,” Ariech Mayar Ariech, a lawmaker representing Warrap State in the national parliament told Reuters.
An additional 12 people were killed among the Abyei residents including two women and a child, Deng Ajak, a local administration official said.
Both sides disagree over where the borderline separating the two communities lies, with each claiming the other is encroaching on their land, both officials said.
“The situation is worrisome … It is very tense. There is too much hatred between these two sisterly communities,” Ariech said, warning that the violence may escalate if the dispute is not resolved.
The episode is the latest deadly clash between the two communities over the same land. In February armed youth from Twic launched attacks on Abyei residents and several people were killed, others displaced and houses burnt.
South Sudan erupted into civil war shortly after declaring independence from Sudan in 2011, which pitted President Salva Kiir and his Dinka ethnic allies against his Vice President Riek Machar and his Nuer tribe.
A peace agreement signed three years ago is largely holding but the transitional government has been slow to unify the various factions of the military.
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