Heavy fighting broke out between armed civilians and government forces conducting a disarmament exercise in the South Sudan region of Warrap State, killing at least 81 people.
The military’s spokesman, Lul Ruai Koang said the two-day clashes erupted over the weekend after some armed youths in the Greater Tonj area started engaging the security forces.
“Among the dead are 55 members of the security forces and 26 civilians. Another 31 servicemen were also wounded,” Koang said, adding that the numbers could rise.
The wounded security personnel were flown to the military hospital in the capital Juba for treatment
It was not immediately clear what sparked the fight.
The military spokesman said calm had returned to the area and an investigation has been launched.
Last month, the national government started a disarmament exercise in Tonj county claiming that armed militias in the area were driving inter-communal violence.