South Sudan declares state of emergency in northwest


A three-month state of emergency has been declared in northwestern South Sudan following a spate of ethnic violence.

President Salva Kiir announced the measures in a late Monday broadcast on state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

"I do hereby declare three months' state of emergency in Gogrial state, part of Tonj, Wau and Awiel states," he said.

Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that the level of insecurity posed by ethnic violence necessitated emergency laws.

"The presidential decree means part of Bahr El Ghazal, where inter-ethnic clashes have intensified, will be sealed for security purpose," Makuei said.

The northwestern Bahr El Ghazal region has a long history of tribal feuds and ethnic violence, often aggravated by conflicts over cattle and grazing land.

Last month, 70 people were killed in the area and in May 38 were killed in a single incident in Gogrial, Kiir's home state.

Most of the violence has been between Apuk and Aguok communities that are sub-clans of the country's largest ethnic group, the Dinka, to which the president belongs.

The ongoing civil war in South Sudan between forces loyal to Kiir and those who support former Vice President Riek Machar, who is from the Nuer tribe, also has a tribal element.

The conflict, which began in December 2013 and has seen tens of thousands killed, has increased the availability of weapons, which has intensified violence between competing ethnic groups.

Over the weekend, 29 people were killed and 22 injured when cattle raiders from the eastern state of Boma attacked cattle camps in neighboring Jonglei.

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