Several people are feared dead after armed Jonglei youth overran Gumuruk town in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) on Tuesday, local officials said.
The escalating violence started on Christmas Eve following an attack by an armed Jonglei State youth group on the Bich-Bich area in Greater Pibor.
The violence erupted only days after the UN mission in South Sudan warned that armed youth in Jonglei State were mobilizing to attack Pibor.
Abraham Kelang, the GPAA information minister has said the attackers entered the town and that clashes were still ongoing as the local youth counter-attack.
“Battles for Gumurk town started on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning, it resumed at 7 am. In the afternoon, they managed to enter the town. But fighting is still ongoing within Gumuruk town because our youth and SSPDF soldiers are fighting off the attackers within the town,” he said.
Canaan Lelicho, the head of GPAA Youth Union, said: “In the afternoon at 1 pm, the SSPDF started retreating from Gumuruk because they are few in numbers and run out of ammunition. Now, those attackers are in the town, burning villages, even cutting down trees,” he said.
Meanwhile, civil society activist Edmund Yakani warned of human rights violations if the escalating violence in Pibor continues unabated.