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TONJ EAST - 4 Nov 2021

Over 20 killed, 36 injured, villages torched in Tonj East clashes

Authorities of Warrap state on Wednesday said more than 20 people have died and 36 others injured in two separate communal fights in Tonj East County of South Sudan's Warrap State on Friday and Sunday last week.

The Luachjang community clashed with the Adoor community at Kuech Adoor village on Friday and with the Thiik community on Sunday. The clashes come barely two weeks since the state government and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) conducted a two-day training on the importance of peace and reconciliation among the communities of Tonj East, Tonj North, Tonj South, Twic, and Gogrial counties.

John Deng Kok, Tonj East commissioner said many people were killed and villages torched in both clashes between the Luachjang, Adoor, and Thiik communities which he says are revenge attacks.

"In the fight of 29th, between Adoor section of Jal-Wau and Rubaar section of Luachjang resulted to nine people killed on the spot and 11 others were wounded. Two people who were wounded died at Paliang and another one died at  Wunlit health centers," he said. "In detail, Luachjang lost six people and six others wounded while Adoor suffered five people and five with wounds on the first fighting of 29 October last week."

Deng said, after the clashes on Friday, armed youth from Thiik mobilized and torched several villages. "The armed youth from Thiik burned villages of Romich and Romich market, Gokloch, Turagot, Malek and Piokjiak and destroyed the water tank which supplies water to residents and this was after I ordered Luach youth to pull out of those villages."

Commissioner Deng pointed out that 11 people were killed on Sunday after the Luachjang youth regrouped and attacked the Thiik community. 

"In the morning of Sunday, the Luachjang youth organized another revenge fight attacking Thiik community, the fighting ended after the Luachjang chased the Thiik youth and burned one village called Rai in Thiik territory. Seven people died from Thiik, 11 were wounded while Luach lost four people and eight were wounded," he added. 

Deng blamed local politicians in the towns for fuelling the clashes and urged the state and national government to intervene by deploying military forces to quell the tensions and avoid further clashes. 

Meanwhile, Moses Madot, Tonj East area Member of Parliament condemned the clashes and called on the national government to provide military forces to contain the armed youth.

"I was frustrated when I heard people fighting again in Tonj East just immediately after chiefs, women, and cattle leaders were taken to Kuajok for peace and reconciliation," Madot lamented. "The death of our people is paining us as one incident lost many young men like this fight left Adoor community with losses of six people and ten people also injured from Adoor, Thiik lost seven and 12 people wounded to make the total of 13 people simply die and other 22 disabled just because of cattle and revenge. And I don't have any details of the losses on the Luachjang side."

However, Tonj North County Commissioner Kuol Akoon said the fighting was triggered by an incident where a man and his wife were shot and injured on Sunday at Pariang in Tonj North by armed youth allegedly from the Luachjang community. 

He said the couple is currently hospitalized at the Akop Health Centre. 

In related news, Tonj East Commissioner Deng further said a young man was shot and killed at the cattle camp in Nyingoor village on Sunday, while two fishermen were injured on Monday evening at Abuong village by unknown gunmen.

Early last month, more than thirty people died in the intercommunal conflict among the Thiik and Luachjang communities of Tonj East, and the Lou Paher of Tonj North County.

In March this year, Warrap state governor Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, gave a stern warning to perpetrators of intercommunal violence and cattle rustlers to stop or face the law. However, the warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears as the vices continue to claim lives and displace families in Tonj East and North counties.