A second United Nations base in South Sudan has been attacked, and two Indian peacekeepers have been killed. Another has been seriously injured. At least two civilians also died in the attack.
The compound in Jonglei state was overrun by armed youths the UN said belonged to the Lou Nuer, a tribe which in December 2011 reformed its civil war “White Army”. Since then it has been at odds with the UN, the army, and the neighbouring Murle tribe.
In a separate incident soldiers loyal to the president and hundreds of civilians sought refuge in the UN’s Rubkona compound after heavy fighting.
“The UN’s response to this attack will be strong There is a strong commitment to do what we can for the protection of civilians in our compounds and camps, and of course a strong appeal for political dialogue to the government of Sudan and also to Riek Machar and his camp. It is urgent to go into that dialogue,” said the UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson.
President Salva Kiir is a member of the Dinka tribe, and is locked in a power struggle with his former vice president. The fear is that what is on the face of it a clash of individuals could spiral into ethnic conflict.
Riek Machar was the Lou Nuer’s former leader during the Second Sudanese Civil War, but disbanded its military force in 2006.
In a later development Ethiopia’s foreign minister, in the South Sudanese capital Juba leading an Inter-Governmental Authority on Development delegation, reported a “very productive” meeting between President Kiir and African mediators.