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West worried violence in South Sudan will escalate into full-blown civil war

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The West is increasingly concerned about the broadening the violence in South Sudan. It's feared that infighting among rebels and tribes will escalate into full-blown civil war, undermining stability in the young African country. The situation there is especially volatile, as the area is loaded with weaponry after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 300 people were killed and thousands were sent fleeing into bush last month during two weeks of fighting between South Sudan's army, rebels and rival tribes in the eastern part of Africa's newest nation.

The army there is struggling with a rebellion led by politician David Yau Yau in vast Jonglei state. New clashes have broken out between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes. More than 1,600 people have been killed in tribal violence in Jonglei since the halving of Africa's once largest country.

A team of local chiefs had reported 328 deaths so far. The chiefs had been traveling around Pibor County in Jonglei. They said that all of the victims were Murle members, some of them women and children. The number of Lou Nuer killed and wounded remained unknown.

According to Jodi Jonglei Boyoris, a senior state representative, he said he expected the death toll to rise although the fighting had died down this month.

Boyoris said the fighting ended nearly three weeks ago but local officials were only now able to count the number of killed and wounded as people had started returning to their homes.
South Sudan army representatives and humanitarian groups said they were not able to confirm the figures.

Thousands of people are hiding in the bush outside Pibor town in Jonglei, the United nations says, in order to avoid the conflict between the army and Yau Yau, who says he is fighting corruption, army abuses and one-party rule in South Sudan.

The U.N. estimates 100,000 people have been affected by the conflict, with many fleeing to the bush and cut off from humanitarian access.

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