24 South Sudanese soldiers were killed in a conflict with militia forces in an attempt to stop rebel activity in Jonglei State, one of the ten states in Southern Sudan. The 200 soldiers were sent into Jonglei to enforce the national disarmament program. The UN said in a statement that the attack was “deliberately intended to undermine progress made in improving the security environment and in forging inter-communal reconciliation in Jonglei State.”
The rebels are led by militant leader Yau Yau, and are backed by Sudan. Southern Sudan recently split from Sudan and established its own independence. The rebels are also backed by the Murle tribe, who dislike South Sudan’s efforts at disarmament. South Sudan has had many border issues since becoming an independent nation, including the possession and ownership of oil fields along the border.