UN: Hundreds could be dead in S Sudan unrest
Clashes between rival tribes in a South Sudan town may have left hundreds dead, a UN official has said.
South Sudan government troops opened fire to stop about 6,000 armed Lou Nuer tribal youth from entering the town of Pibor which is home to the rival Murle people, Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for South Sudan, said on Tuesday.
Tensions between the two groups over cattle rustling have mounted in recent months.
"I would put the number in the number in the tens, perhaps hundreds, but we don't know," Grande told correspondents at the UN, in a video link from Juba, when asked about the death toll.
Unconfirmed reports based on survivor accounts given to AFP in South Sudan suggested up to 150 people, largely women and children, were hunted and killed after fleeing Pibor.
Grande said she saw five corpses on the southern edge of Pibor when she visited the town in Jonglei state earlier on Tuesday.
Government forces and UN peacekeepers launched a major operation as the column of Lou Nuer fighters arrived at Pibor. The armed youths breached a perimeter of government troops in the south of the town, Grande said.