Juba. At least 127 people were killed and 32 others injured following a deadly altercation between South Sudanese troops and the local armed youth over a scarf in South Sudan’s Warrap State.
It began on Tuesday after the South Sudan people’s Defence Forces soldiers known as disbarment forces demanded that the youth surrender a red scarf they were holding, which in the troops’ eyes symbolised battle-readiness.
Gen Lul Ruai, the SSPDF spokesman told the Nation the refusal to surrender the scarf triggered an exchange of words, then fire.
“The armed youth refused to hand over the red scarf to the SSPDF soldiers,” Lul said. “
The soldiers argued that wearing a red scarf symbolises someone in combat and those quarrels led to the first killings that triggered retaliations from the local armed youth.”
According to Gen Lul Ruai, the two days’ consecutive clashes left 45 SSPDF soldiers and 82 civilians dead.
“That misunderstanding degenerated into armed confrontations between the armed youth and forces but it was controlled. Later at night, our position held by our forces was attacked by three armed youth, but they were neautralised.
“At night, after the first attack on our position, the youth mobilised again and an attack was launched at our defensive position which resulted in the major losses between our forces and the youth,” he explained
The army spokesman, however, said calm has returned in the area.
Lul said the thirty-two SSPDF soldiers injured during the clashes were airlifted to the capital Juba and are currently receiving medication at Juba Military Hospital.