Rumbek — At least 28 people have died after fresh inter-clan clashes erupted in South Sudan's Lakes state between pastoralists in Cueibet and Rumbek North counties.
An official in Rumbek North county said some 26 people had also sustained gunshot wounds.
The clashes erupted in Akot Mayom, a remote area in Rumbek North county after cattle raiders from Cueibet county launched an attack.
The attackers were later intercepted and all cows were recovered.
Cueibet county commissioner Isaac Mayom Malek acknowledged the raid, saying elements from Cueibet had suffered heavy losses after entering Rumbek North with the intention to steal cows from rival pastoralists.
According to Malek said that youth had entered Tiaptiap and Pagor, killing six people, with further casualties sustained during subsequent clashes after Rumbek North pastoralist ambushed the attackers.
Due to the remoteness of the area, Malek said it was still difficult to determine the exact death toll, adding that some of the youths had begun to return in small numbers.
Malek described the clashes as "unfortunate", when youth enter into Rumbek North, they youth went deep and ambush were lay by Rumbek North after them,
"Upon their return with cows they (Cueibet youths) [had] raided, they immediately fall in [an] ambush and they were scatted into small numbers - we don't know who is dead or who is alive," the commissioner said.
The counter attack by Cueibet youth followed a raid by Rumbek North pastoralists on at Buony cattle camp on Tuesday.
Following the attack, Cueibet youth withdrew their cows from Buony and moved towards Pagor.
Inter-clan clashes continued until Friday from Wednesday 21 till Friday 22 but state government did not managed to stop the clashes.
Lakes state has become hub of cattle raiding and continues to be locked in a cycle of inter-clan revenge clashes.
Youth activists and traditional authorities have repeatedly called for the removal of military caretaker governor Matur Chut Dhuol amid claims he had failed to stem the violence.
However, president Salva Kiir Mayardit has so far overlooked the calls.
Lakes state youth have refused to join military forces recruited to fight against the Nuer ethnic group, leading to increased tensions with the state and central government in Juba.
South Sudan has been the scene of a violent rebellion since mid-December last year, which has reignited tribal tensions across the country, with the conflict pitting government forces loyal to Kiir, who hails from the Dinka tribe, against rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, a Nuer.