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South Sudan: Over 30 People Killed in Communal Fighting in Warrap State

South Sudan is reeling from escalating communal violence and a deepening humanitarian crisis, made worse by an ongoing political stalemate.

More than 30 people are feared dead from two days of communal fighting in South Sudan’s Warrap State, authorities said.

The commissioner of Tonj East County, Deng Kok, has told local media that the fighting erupted in when armed youth from Lou Paher and Thiik raided over 100 head of cattle from the Luany- Jang community resulted in clashes that left scores dead and injured.

“People are dying in the hospital on my side of Tonj East County. The death toll is 25 people dead from the LuanyJang and Thiik communities combined and the number of wounded is over 30 people. That is the result of two days fighting,” Commissioner Kok said.

South Sudan is reeling from escalating communal violence and a deepening humanitarian crisis, made worse by an ongoing political stalemate.

Experts have warned before that while major fighting between their rival forces has halted for now, violence between various armed groups and makeshift community militias has spiked in many parts of the country, over cattle rustling and grazing land.

Last year, a U.N. commissioner, Andrew Clapham, said in a report that “the armed conflict in South Sudan has transformed into a series of localised conflicts, often presented simply as cattle-raiding.” But, he added, these conflicts are becoming “increasingly politicized,” with cattle herders operating as organized militias that have been “provided with light weapons and heavy artillery,” under “the command and control of the main parties to the conflict.”

Last year, President Salva Kiir  issued a decree forming a committee to resolve ongoing inter-communal violence, that committee has not come up with solutions to the country’s current crisis.

“I heard that the state government formed a committee of community members to investigate, but am not waiting for them,” a frustrated Commissioner Kok told local radio Tamazuj.