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Dead bodies are rotting away in South Sudan’s Equatoria — Parliamentary Speaker

The new speaker was addressing a new session of parliament, which for the first time since the peace deal that ended the civil war is made up politicians from the governing party as well as former rebels.

Many bodies remain unburied in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state following a wave of violence, the parliamentary speaker says.

“The ongoing killings in [Western Equatoria’s] Tambura County have led to a situation which has gotten almost out of hand,” said Jemma Nunu Kumba, who is from the south-western state.

Nearly 400 homes had been burnt down and killings were continuing on a daily basis, she said.

The new speaker was addressing a new session of parliament, which for the first time since the peace deal that ended the civil war is made up politicians from the governing party as well as former rebels.

The conflict in Western Equatoria involves the neighbouring Balanda and Zande communities from the Tambura area.

Tension between them has increased as they support rival sides in the new unity government.

As part of the 2018 peace deal to end the civil war, it was agreed that South Sudan be divided into 10 states – and shared between the parties.

In October a governor from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) party was appointed for Western Equartoria, replacing a ruling party politician.

He is from the Balanda community – and he has accused prominent Zande politicians, such as Ms Kumba, of fomenting trouble – allegations they deny.

Now Ms Kumba has hit back alleging “savage rebels” are behind the latest violence, without specifying which group is responsible.

But her comments focus attention on a little-reported conflict in an area that borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.