According to the government, the clash between civilians and government forces began last weekend after civilians refused to hand their guns to the authorities.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
The number of of supected dead keeps on increasing
The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) understands that the incident happened in Warrap State after a soldier shot and killed a youth who refused to comply with an order imposed by the army.
Many residents in the state accused the government of targeting certain communities it deems anti-government.
It is not clear how many civilians or soldiers died in the fight. However, a senior government official said armed youths have inflicted heavy losses on government soldiers.
The disarmament of civilians is part of the most recent peace agreement signed between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rival Riek Machar, who was appointed vice president in February.
South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011, but it was plunged into a ruinous civil war two years later when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, a member of the rival Nuer community.
James Mabior Makuei, the councillor of Tonj East County in Warrap State, told dpa news agency that most recently violence began when civilians refused to hand over their guns to soldiers at a market in Tonj East on Sunday.
A number of bystanders joined in the fighting that ensued
The violence quickly spread to nearby villages, with armed civilians attacking an army base in the nearby town of Romich on Monday morning, according to army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang.
Dujarric said a market in Romich “was reportedly looted and some shops were burned to the ground … Many women and children fled in fear of their lives”.
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