At least 95 people have been killed in communal conflicts in South Sudan in July alone, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has reported.
A humanitarian snapshot released by UNOCHA on Thursday and seen by The EastAfrican adds that more than 17,500 people were also displaced.
“At least 80 people were killed during intercommunal violence in Kapoeta North County, Eastern Equatoria. Fighting between armed factions in Mayom County, Unity State resulted in dozens of people being killed or injured.
“Cattle raids in Gumuruk County, Pibor Administrative Area, displaced some 1,700 people and left 15 dead. Torrential rain and floods affected nearly 2,400 people in the IDP site, Twic County in Warrap,” OCHA stated.
The agency added that some 7.7 million people are estimated to face crisis or higher levels of food insecurity across the country.
“People’s situation in Longochuk County, Upper Nile State, related to food security was reported as worrying; as a result, some 5,000 people moved to Maiwut and Pagak in Maiwut County. Residents fled to the bush or to nearby villages seeking safety.
“In July, armed cattle keepers attacked villages in Yei County, Central Equatoria and looted properties including livestock. Renewed fighting between armed factions in Kundru Boma, Yei County, displaced hundreds of people to neighbouring villages, and others crossed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said OCHA.
The agency went added that in Ikotos County of Eastern Equatoria State, clashes between an armed youth group and government soldiers led to the death and injury of an unconfirmed number of people, including an NGO worker, adding that an unknown number of civilians were reported displaced within Ikotos town.
Last year, the UN Security Council approved a resolution extending an arms embargo and sanctions against South Sudan for one year. South Sudan’s unity government opposed the decision, arguing it would jeopardise the progress of the 2018 revitalised peace agreement [ARCSS] which helped form the unity government last year.
South Sudan has many guns in circulation, most held by civilians.
According to a Gun Policy report, the estimated total number of guns (both legal and illicit) held by civilians in South Sudan was 1.2 million in 2017 and 3 million in 2013. The Defence Forces of South Sudan is reported to have 351,500 firearms.
Juba, which is barred from purchasing weapons from the international market unless with express permission from the UN Security Council, argues that the arms embargo makes it difficult to equip its forces.