South Sudan: New Country Torn By Old Conflicts

PHOTO: Eleven-year-old Kakayo recovers from wounds suffered during a recent round of violent tribal clashes in South Sudan

Before the red dust could settle in South Sudan's most recent tribal clashes, 11-year-old Kakayo had lost her father, and she has no idea where her mother and two siblings are.

"When the attackers came, we ran into the bushes," said Kakayo, as she lay idly on the floor in the back room of a dirty hospital ward in Juba, the capital of the newly independent South Sudan.

"That's when they started shooting at us."

Kakayo, whose family are members of the Murle tribe, is recovering from two bullet wounds, one in the knee, another in her foot. She has no bed, just a simple cloth to cover herself; thick bandages are wrapped around her frail legs.

Still, in this recent round of violence Kakayo is considered one of the lucky ones. She escaped, and she is one of the few who are receiving treatment at the hospital. "I was injured, but some of the others who survived took me with them," she said of her escape from her village in Jonglei state.

The violent attacks Kakayo was caught up in began around the start of the new year and have affected 120,000 people, according to the U.N.

For Kakayo, the "they" who "started shooting at us" refers to the youth fighters of the Lou Nuer tribe. Clashes over cattle in the barren region are nothing new, and for a time were put on hold as a show of unity before the referendum that granted South Sudan independence a little over six months ago after two decades of civil war. Now they've resumed with a fury, and on a larger scale, partly fueled by weapons left over from the civil war.

At the opposite end of the hospital compound in Juba, separated by a weak chain-link fence, sits a field hospital tent where young men from the Lou Nuer, who attacked Kakayo's tribe, had congregated, when ABC News visited the hospital early one recent morning.

"We think we have to go and destroy them," said a youth fighter, seemingly the spokesman for the 20 or so fighters recovering from injuries.

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