South Sudan death toll rises to 78
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 01:00
Security situation still unstable as police officers deployed in affected villages were also killed.
More bodies have been retrieved from the flood waters and nearby bushes in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, bringing the death toll in a militia attack on remote villages to 78, officials have said.
David Yau Yau rebels, in coordination with the Murle tribesmen, allegedly attacked Paker, Ajuong and Maar payams in Twich East County on Sunday, setting villages on fire and chasing the civilians to river banks, making some to drown.
County commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch on Monday said the search was still ongoing. “We have found more bodies. Now we are talking of 78 people, women and children, killed by David Yau Yau (rebels),” Mr Dau said.
The South Sudan military spokesperson, Col Philip Aguer Panyang, said the situation was still volatile in the villages that were attacked. “The few police that were in Maar (payam) were all killed, including their head and the village of Maar was killed,” Col Aguer told a local radio station on Monday.
Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the attack came at a time the government was holding talks with the rebels.“Bearing in mind that we are in negotiation with David Yau Yau, we didn’t expect this to happen,” Mr Makuei said.
The United Nations mission in the country has condemned the violence, saying it has been evacuating the wounded to Jonglei State capital, Bor and Juba, spokesperson Joe Contreras said.