The death toll from inter-clan fighting in South Sudan’s Great Lakes region last week has reached at least 170, officials said on Tuesday. A new source of violence has devastated the country by a four-year civil war.
The clashes in the province’s Malek county broke out after a group of young men from the Ruop ethnic group attacked rival youth from the Pakam group on Wednesday and Thursday.
A member of parliament from the region, Dharuai Mabor Teny updated an earlier death toll of 45.
The violence prompted the government to declare a three-month state of emergency in the region and surrounding areas on Monday. The military has also been ordered to deploy troops to calm the unrest.
The UN mission in South Sudan UNMISS said its troops were helping remove roadblocks mounted by the clashing groups in a bid to open up routes for movement and trade.
South Sudan was plunged into war in 2013 after a political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar escalated into a military confrontation.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands, uprooted about a quarter of the population of 12 million people and left its small, oil-dependent economy moribund.
Violence between rival communities is common in parts of South Sudan, often triggered by quarrels over scarce grazing land and cultural and political grievance