Tribal attack kills 11 in south Sudan: officials

Tribal revenge attacks have killed 11 people in south Sudan, halting registration in the area for the first multi-party election in 24 years, officials said.
Sudanese began to register for the April 2010 vote on November 1 but the process has been laboured especially in the south, where the United Nations estimates a spike in tit-for-tat ethnic attacks has killed at least 1200 this year.
A 2005 north-south peace deal enshrined power and wealth sharing, democratic transformation, elections and a southern referendum on secession. The civil war claimed some 2 million lives and destabilised the entire region.
Kuol Diem Kuol, spokesman for the south Sudan army (SPLA), said 11 people were killed in the latest attack on Jonglei state earlier this week.
“One civilian from the Dinka (tribe) was killed, two Dinka civilians were wounded and 8 were killed on the side of the attackers,” he said, adding two other villagers were murdered later. The attackers were from the Shilluk tribe.
Jonglei state, where French oil giant Total has rights to an oil concession, has seen some of the worst violence, and a government official said electoral registration had halted in the area.
“More than 10 000 will be affected. The registration will not be going on because of this insecurity,” said Santino Riak Athiam, commissioner of the area.
Earlier this month fighting between the same tribes over land stopped registration in villages outside Malakal town.
The former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which governs the semi-autonomous south, complained that election officials had not been given cash to facilitate their work.
“In three states I’ve been to, only 25 percent of the approved budget has been sent,” said Anne Itto, SPLM deputy secretary general in the south.
In the north registration made a slow start and has been tainted by accusations of vote buying and fraud by all sides.
The SPLM and 20 opposition parties have threatened to boycott the election unless a package of democratic laws is passed by the end of the month. They already walked out of parliament.
Crisis talks to avoid derailing the elections less than five months away have yet to agree on a compromise, despite days of shuttle diplomacy by US envoy Scott Gration.
The north-south war has raged on and off since 1955 fuelled by issues including ethnicity, oil, ideology and religion.

Pic: SPLM members