About 34,000 people flee S.Sudan clashes - UN
Children play with the remnant of a bomb in
Alashu, a village located about 15 km north of Shangil Tobaya, North
Darfur March 27, 2011. REUTERS/Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID/Handou
JUBA, Sudan, April 6 (Reuters) - About 34,000
southern Sudanese have fled their homes after tribal clashes over land,
water and cattle in recent weeks, a U.N. humanitarian official said,
adding to southern troubles before independence in July.
The oil-rich south voted overwhelmingly to separate from the north in
a January referendum, promised as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended
decades of civil war in Sudan. At least two million died in the war,
which destabilised much of the region.
The euphoria following the south's historic vote has been undermined
in recent weeks by a string of violent clashes, including skirmishes
between the southern army and rebel militia, as well as traditional
tribal fighting over resources.
About 80,000 people fled violence in the region between January and
March, some 34,000 of them in the last few weeks, Lise Grande, U.N.
Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Southern Sudan, said on
The latest mass displacement was caused by fighting that broke out
between communities along border regions in the Lakes and Western
Equatoria states before the region's intense rainy season, a U.N. report
Fighting first broke out on Feb. 9, followed by a second wave from March 9, the report said.
"In Southern Sudan there is a cycle or pattern to this type of
violence ... it is resource-based," Grande told Reuters, adding that
disputes over land, cattle and water come to the fore as heavy rains
arrive in the underdeveloped region.
The seasonal violence compounds the south's other humanitarian
pressures as it prepares to form a new African nation in just over three
More than 264,000 returnees have flocked to the south since October, the report said.
In Jonglei state at least 18,000 people have been displaced since
more than 200 people were killed in early February, when a rebel militia
battled the southern army, it added.
The United Nations said the persistent tension and fighting in the south has hindered access to civilians in need.
Analysts fear for the stability of the new nation, given the momentum
of its humanitarian crises, along with its troubled relationship with
the north and unresolved issues such as sharing oil and the disputed
Last year the United Nations said almost half the southern population
was short of food. (Reporting by Jeremy Clarke; editing by Deepa
Babington and Tim Pearce)