UBA, South Sudan, Jan. 24 (UPI) — The government in South Sudan is called on to bring justice to those responsible for ethnic violence in the troubled state of Jonglei, a U.N. envoy said.
Hilde Johnson, U.N. special envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, said peacekeepers are sending in more troops to conflict-stricken areas of Jonglei and conducting aerial surveillance missions over at-risk areas.
Peacekeepers in the region had said they were outnumbered by fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic militia recently but were able to prevent the conflict from escalating.
The government in South Sudan was praised for committing extra troops to the area. Johnson said, however, that local leaders had a significant role to play in settling community differences.
“The instigators of these terrible attacks and counterattacks must be held to account,” she said in a statement.
Ethnic conflict in Jonglei claimed at least 1,000 lives in recent months. The conflict was triggered by cattle raids and high bridal dowries. Most of the victims are women and children.
South Sudan gained independence in July as part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached with Sudan in 2005. That deal ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in history though ethnic disputes and border conflicts threaten to unravel the peace.