At least 47 were confirmed dead on Tuesday in new clashes between two rival ethnic groups in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, officials said
The fighting, which pitted the Murle armed youths against the Dinka Bor, is said to have started on Monday evening when the Murle invaded Duk Padiet in Duk County.
The county commissioner Mochnom Wuor said the Murle youths marched in big numbers into the payam and started shooting at a crowd that had gathered for a meeting.
“They have killed 47 and burnt the area completely,” Mr Wuor said. “This is a total destruction. They are destroying everything,” he said.
Several others were injured and lots of cattle were driven off, witnesses said.
However, the death toll could rise as the circumstances surrounding the attack are brought to light. "More bodies are being discovered. Some people have died in the bush trying to run away," Mr Wuor said.
The area MPs in the national assembly said the attackers were more organised, suggesting that it was a militia force that was attacking in the name of cattle raiders.
"They included elements of the white army and some of them are army soldiers,” said one MP, Philip Thon Leek, referring to a militia group that razed the county during the 1991 split within the ex-rebel group that now rules the Africa’s new country.
The new fighting follows a series of revenge attacks between the Lou-Nuer and the Murle that started last Christmas, killing scores.
Despite the euphoric independence in July last year, tribal violence threatens the stability of the infant nation.