Over 40 people were killed in clashes between ethnic groups in South Sudan’s Western Lakes, a local official said.
The attack was launched against the Ruop by the Pakam fighters on Friday, in retaliation for attacks earlier carried out by the Ruop youth.
“It was a very heavy fighting, it has left more than 45 people dead and many injured,” said state information minister, Shadrack Bol Machok.
The army, he added, have been deployed around the state capital, Rumbek to help contain the violence.
Machok said the fights resulted from disputes dating back to 2013, although it was not clear what exactly sparked the grievances.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan says it has dispatched a military patrol to the area to establish the level of destruction caused by the clashes, amid fears the death toll could rise.
“We hope to engage the leaders of the fighting parties to press the need to refrain from revenge attacks. We will also intensify patrols to deter further violence,” UN said in a statement issued on Friday.
Violence between rival communities is common in parts of South Sudan is often caused by quarrels over scarce grazing land, cultural as well as political grievances.
The population in the sate have requested President Salva Kiir to remove the incumbent governor Matur Chut Dhuol whom they accuse of failing to address their problems.
The South Sudan leader was also requested to declared a state of an emergency in Western Lakes and appoint a new governor to impose rules of law.