The United Nations is investigating reports of 25 people killed in South Sudan’s central Gok state in clashes between tribal factions.
Thousands of people have died in South Sudan during a four-year civil war pitting forces loyal to incumbent President Salva Kiir against his former deputy, Riek Machar.
A quarter of the country’s population of 12 million has been uprooted and displaced by violence largely along ethnic lines.
A UN official in Juba, who spoke on condition he should not be named, told Reuters they received reports on Saturday that 25 civilians were killed and 27 wounded in clashes between Waat and Ayiel, two ethnic groups that are part of South Sudan’s Dinka Gok tribe.
He did not say what triggered the clashes, but said they occurred in the state’s Cueibet county and they also received reports South Sudan’s military was deployed in the area to restore order.
“UNMISS is planning to conduct a patrol to Cueibet to assess the situation,” he said, referring to the UN mission in South Sudan.
Reuters attempted to contact the government spokesman, but he could not be reached.
Baipath Majuec Riel Puop, a legislator from Gok State told UN local radio, Miraya, the clashes began with the killing of a member of one of the two groups by another, which then set off retaliatory attacks.
He did not name the group that killed first but said violence was exacerbated by authorities’ failure to arrest the perpetrators.
“The role of the state is protect people and when something like that happens, they have to arrest,” he told the radio.