U.N. says 600 die in South Sudan clashes

UNITED NATIONS,  (Reuters) – Clashes in South Sudan  have left at least 600 people dead and hundreds wounded, and  possibly displaced more than a quarter million people, the U.N.  Mission in South Sudan said yesterday.

The U.N. mission in the country, known as UNMISS, has  reported deadly tribal clashes in recent days in South Sudan,  signaling instability just weeks after the region gained  independence from Khartoum.

“This cycle of violence must stop,” said U.N. special  representative in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson.

“That so many people have been killed and injured again in  such wanton destruction is unacceptable,” she said in a  statement. “I urge restraint by both sides of this tragic  conflict. Reconciliation efforts are now urgently needed.”

The fighting in the region is often sparked by disputes  over cattle — a vital part of the indigenous economy.

The statement said at least 600 people were killed and that  UNMISS had unconfirmed reports of 750-985 people wounded. Local  reports received by UNMISS suggest that between 26,000 and  30,000 cattle were stolen during the attacks and many homes  destroyed, the mission said.

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