At least 43 people were killed after gunmen raided a South Sudanese state capital over the weekend, the government said, the second such attack in the past three weeks.
Thirty-nine civilians and four policemen were killed in the northwestern town of Wau, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters Tuesday in the national capital, Juba. The United Nations mission in the oil-producing country is sheltering about 12,000 civilians near its base in Wau, spokeswoman Shantal Persaud said by phone.
The town is located about 508 kilometers (316 miles) northwest of Juba. The attack followed a June 15 raid by unidentified assailants on Raja, capital of Lol state, which left 41 people dead, according to a local official.
Lueth said the attack on Wau was carried out by a new Islamist militant group fighting alongside the Lord’s Resistance Army, insurgents originally from northern Uganda whose leader claims to be inspired by the Bible’s 10 commandments, and Sudanese militias. He gave no evidence for the allegations.
The UN’s “perception” is that fighting broke out between South Sudan’s army and “armed groups following a series of inter-communal conflicts,” Persaud said. The world’s newest nation is trying to enact a transitional government and end a civil war that erupted in December 2013 and has left tens of thousands of people dead.