Clashes between two rival communities in South Sudan’s Lakes and Warrap states left 39 people dead across two days. Fighting between herders of the two different states began on Wednesday, and continued into Thursday. The clashes, which according to authorities flare up “every year” between the two groups, began over land disputes related to rights to grazing areas, water sources, and cultivation grounds.
“Every year, these two communities – they have internal clashes between Pakam of Lakes State and Luanygang of Warrap State and it could be traced back to land disputes. Every dry season they do revenge against each other and these are some of the things that are causing these clashes” -William Wol, the Information Minister for the Warrap State.
20 people were killed with an additional 36 wounded in Lakes state, while 19 people were killed and 17 wounded in Warrap.
According to Major Elijah Mabor Makuach, the Police spokesman for the Lakes state, police were deployed in order to break up the clashes.
A Repeat Problem
Clashes between competing groups in both Sudan and South Sudan are rather common. Clashes continuing after the end of the South Sudanese civil war in 2018 have left hundreds dead. Last week, clashes in the disputed region of Abyei left over 50 people dead, including two UN peacekeepers.
Clashes began when armed youth from the Twic Dinka tribe attacked Ngok Dinka villagers. The attacks also left over 60 people injured.
The Abyei clashes similarly began over a land dispute between the Twic Dinka and the Ngok Dinka. The region is disputed between Sudan and South Sudan, and its international status is unclear.
South Sudan is a rather young nation, having only gained independence from Sudan in 2011. However, their independence has been marred by instability, which culminated in the South Sudan civil war from 2013-2018.