Fighting disrupts humanitarian operations in South Sudan (10/11/2011)

(New York Times) UN officials estimate more than 20,000 people have fled into the bush after an outbreak of violence between two tribes in Jonglei state in South Sudan over accusations of cattle rustling. Gunmen burned thatched huts and looted two medical facilities run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) over the past week during fighting that has left more than 1,000 dead in recent months, and threatened to destabilise the world's newest state. The UN has rushed troops to Jonglei, an isolated and swampy state with limited mud roads that are often impassable for months during heavy rains. Government officials say army troops are in "full control" of the remote town of Pibor, home to the Murle people, who have been accused by the Lou Nuer tribe of stealing cattle. Officials fear the fighting has left scores of people dead, while the UN has flown wounded people to the capital, Juba. But South Sudan's information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, was quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), as saying that Pibor was "under the full control of the government" and the Lou Nuer had started returning to their homes after having been ordered to do so. The fighting has disrupted aid operations in the area, and MSF said it has temporarily suspended medical activities in Pibor county.

(Source: New York Times dated 10th November 2011)