Juba – At least 127 were killed and 32 others injured when soldiers clashed with civilians
refusing to be disarmed as part of a peace agreement in South Sudan, the army said on Wednesday.
“Among the dead are 82 civilians and 45 soldiers,’’ army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said in a statement.
The death toll has risen sharply since Tuesday, when the United Nations placed the number of dead at about 70.
The UN meanwhile sent a peacekeeping patrol to assess the security situation, with the mission working to prevent further
conflict and support local reconciliation and peace-building efforts.
On Sunday, clashes erupted when soldiers of the South Sudan People’s Defence Force tried to disarm civilians in the town
of Tonj East in Warrap State as part of a recent peace agreement.
“Some civilians refused to hand over their guns at a market, with a number of bystanders joining the fight that ensued.
“The fighting quickly spread to nearby villages, with armed civilians attacking an army base in the nearby town of Romic on
Monday morning,’’ Koang said.
The disarmament of civilians is part of a peace agreement signed between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and
opposition leader Riek Machar in February after many months of negotiations.
Kiir and Machar agreed to form a government of national unity in which both hold key leadership positions.
So far, a partial unity government has been formed and state governors have been appointed but parliament has
yet to be reconstituted.