Jonglei, S. Sudan: Khartoum 'arming Sudan militias'
"There must be a force somewhere, a force that keeps arming these militias, a force that keeps sending ammunition to the militias. There is not another force in this way that can keep arming and sending ammunition to the local population apart from the Sudanese army" - SPLA's Maj-Gen Kuol Deim Kuol, 04 August 2009.
From BBC News at 18:03 GMT, Tuesday, 04 August 2009 19:03 UK:
Khartoum 'arming Sudan militias'
A general in South Sudan's army has told the BBC the government in the north is arming militias accused of being behind recent ethnic violence.Further reading
Maj-Gen Kuol Deim Kuol said his SPLA army was trying to disarm the local population but was being hampered by the continuing supply of weapons.
At least 185 Lou Nuer people were killed in Jonglei state when reportedly attacked by Murle fighters on Sunday.
Several hundred people have died in such clashes this year.
The UN says this is more than in Sudan's Darfur conflict.
Violence over land and cattle in South Sudan is exacerbated by a ready supply of firearms following the 22-year civil war with the north, which ended in 2005.
"There must be a force somewhere, a force that keeps arming these militias, a force that keeps sending ammunition to the militias," Maj-Gen Kuol told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
"There is not another force in this way that can keep arming and sending ammunition to the local population apart from the Sudanese army and the [northern governing] National Congress Party," he said.
Northerner officials have previously denied similar accusations, claiming southern politicians want to shift the blame for their failure to establish peace and restore security since the end of the war.
Officials in Jonglei said members of the Lou Nuer community had gone fishing south of Akobo town amid a severe food shortage when they were attacked.
Eleven SPLA soldiers, who were guarding their camp, were among those killed.
An aid worker who has worked in the area told the BBC's World Today programme that the clashes in Jonglei have escalated.
"Many people have been displaced into Akobo town, some have gone south into Pibor - everyone is worried because this hasn't happened on this scale before," she said.
"Since 2005 there have been some disarmaments but there are still very many people in South Sudan in these two tribes who are still armed," she added.
Analysts say the violence comes at a critical time for Sudan, as tensions grow in the north-south unity government.
Elections are due in April 2010, the first chance to vote for many in decades.
After that, a 2011 independence referendum is due for the south, which many believe will see Africa's biggest nation split fully in two.
Could clashes herald new conflict?
See Sudan Radio Service's report at Sudan Watch, Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - S. Sudan: SPLA accuses Sudanese army of involvement in Akobo, Jonglei clashes.
Sudan: 185 Killed in Ethnic Clashes, Catholic Radio Says
Juba — At least 185 people have been killed and another 31 wounded in inter-ethnic violence in South Sudan.Click here for Jonglei State Map at ReliefWeb.
Catholic Radio Bakhita FM confirmed to CISA that thousands of other people have been displaced in Jonglei State following an attack on Mareng Village near Akobo County by alleged Murle tribesmen on Sunday.
The number of casualties was confirmed to Bakhita FM by Goi Jooyul Yol, Akobo's County Commissioner, who spoke to the radio station by telephone from Malakal.
Jooyul said that the Sunday attacks were the latest round of fighting between the Murle and Lou Nuer communities which started in March. There is a big food crisis in Akobo because many people have been displaced and the insecurity disrupted agricultural activities, the County Commissioner said.
"The first attacks of March displaced some 50, 000 people. Because of hunger around Akobo, there are a lot of people moving to town. They are in thousands. It is becoming worse because there is no rain and people could not cultivate because of insecurity around their home", Jooyul explained.
It is believed that the March clashes between Murle and Lou Nuer claimed over 1,000 lives.
Jooyul spoke from Malakal where he had gone to discuss the opening of the Sobat River corridor with the governor of Upper Nile State and the Commissioner of Nasser County.
The river was closed in June when the Jikany Nuer attacked a UN barge convoy bringing food to Akobo. Some 100 people, mostly SPLA soldiers escorting the flotilla, were killed in the raid.
During the rainy season, River Sobat is the only way to access Akobo. The World Food Program has been flying food to Akobo County, but it is too expensive and not enough to meet the needs of the displaced persons.
Jooyul said the alternative is to buy food from Ethiopia but there is no road in Akobo linking the two countries.