On Saturday, May 16, gunmen from the Murle ethnic group carried out targeted attacks against members of the Lou Nuer community throughout Uror county (Jonglei state). According to local media reports, the incidents occurred in the areas of Ghuourgaanwel, Gokgoak, Ganchat, and Pieri. Dozens are believed to have been killed and wounded in the fighting; however, an exact casualty count has yet to be released as of Monday, May 18. The violence has also displaced a number of others. Local authorities stated that the attacks may be linked to an incident in February when members of the Lou Nuer community stole cattle and abducted children from the Murle. President Salva Kiir has ordered security forces to provide protection to civilian communities within the state.
Further attacks are possible in the region over the near term.
South Sudan has been wracked by years of political, interethnic, and intercommunal violence - exacerbated by border and oil revenue disputes with Sudan. President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar signed an initial peace agreement in September 2018, following a series of negotiations. The unity government was only agreed on February 22, 2020.
Due to the high threat of intercommunal conflict and violent crime, all travel to South Sudan should be subject to a thorough localized threat assessment and undertaken in coordination with a trusted security provider. Members are advised to subject all travel, particularly to remote and rural areas, to strict journey management protocols. Avoid travel at night, vary routines and maintain a heightened sense of situational awareness. Monitor local media sources to remain apprised of security-related developments and adhere to any directives issued by local authorities.
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