South Sudan: Jonglei militia 'kills dozens'
- 21 October 2013
- From the section Africa
Some 78 people have been killed and scores wounded in an attack on villages in South Sudan's Jonglei state, the local MP has told the BBC.
The attackers were believed to be members of David Yau Yau's rebel group, said MP Deng Dau.
Jonglei is badly affected by ethnic rivalries and disputes over land and cattle ownership.
More than 1,500 people are estimated to have been killed in the area since South Sudan's independence in 2011.
Tens of thousands have also been left homeless by the fighting.
South Sudan Information Minister Micheal Makuie told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that security forces have been deployed to capture the rebels.
Air surveillance is also being carried out to "detect their line of movement", he added.
Army spokesman Col Philip Aguer told the BBC at least two villages had been burned during Sunday's attack in Jonglei's Twic East County.
Mr Dau, who has just visited the scene, said the attackers wore green uniforms and had used heavy weapons including mortars.
The attack left 78 people dead and 88 wounded, he said, adding that 24 people, many of them children, had been abducted.
The UN mission in South Sudan said more than 30 people had been flown to the nearest towns for medical treatment.
Thousands of cattle were stolen during the attack, the acting governor of Jonglei, Hussein Maar, said, in comments carried by the Associated Press news agency.
South Sudan is awash with small arms after decades of conflict against Khartoum's rule.
Khartoum gave it independence in 2011 following talks brokered by the US and regional countries.
Cattle lie at the heart of life for many communities in the country which has hardly any banks - they are used as a form of wealth, to pay dowries and as a source of food in the lean season.
A single cow can be worth hundreds of dollars depending on its colouring.