Twenty-five people in South Sudan were reportedly killed when soldiers faced off with suspected cattle rustlers in a northwest state plagued by ethnic conflict.
It was gathered that the attack occurred at the weekend in a village in Tonj North County in Warrap state.
Warrap state information minister, Ring Deng said, the government had sent its forces to recover stolen cattle when they came under fire.
Eighteen soldiers and seven civilians died, he said, adding that many soldiers were still missing.
“I condemn this… I am urging all the civilians wherever they are listening to talk to their people so they should not see the government as their enemy.”
Local MP Mawien Dhor Ariik opined that the violence may have stemmed from a “leadership vacuum” after the government suspended the region’s county commissioner this month over deteriorating security.
Warrap State, and particularly Tonj North County, has been the scene of bloody clashes in recent years between government forces and young armed civilians.
Meanwhile, the UN had warned earlier this year that the country risks a return to conflict.