A United Nations peacekeeper has been shot and wounded by unknown gunmen in South Sudan, the international organization said, in the country’s first such incident.
The shooting took place on Tuesday while the peacekeeper was on patrol in the remote Jonglei state in the east of the country, which broke away from Sudan in mid-2011.
“UNMISS (the U.N. mission in South Sudan) confirms that a U.N. peacekeeper was wounded yesterday when an unidentified armed group fired on an UNMISS patrol,” said Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for the mission, Reuters reports.
Jonglei, a remote and undeveloped area the size of England, has been torn apart by inter-ethnic massacres triggered by cattle raids and abductions in recent years.
More than 1,600 people have been killed in violence in the state since independence, according to the United Nations.
The injured peacekeeper was evacuated to the capital Juba for medical treatment and his situation is stable, Zerrouk said.
South Sudan’s young government is attempting to assert control over vast swathes of land bristling with guns from the civil war.
Earlier this month, South Sudan’s army began a counter-insurgency offensive in Jonglei State against rebels loyal to David Yau Yau, an aspiring local politician and former theology student who took up arms three years ago.