The United Nations has deployed troops to a town in South Sudan to protect civilians from ethnic-based attacks.

Tens of thousands of members of the Murle ethnic group have already left the town of Pibor in the Jonglei region. They say they are afraid of being attacked by members of the Lou Nuer community.

About one thousand people have been killed in recent months of inter-ethnic violence that was initially triggered by cattle raids.

Many of the victims have been women and children.

Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for South Sudan in the capital, Juba, told Al Jazeera that the UN mission in the country has a mandate to protect civilians in the area.

"We took the decision several days ago that we needed to deploy the equivalent of a battalion in the town of Pibor to help deter violence and to support the government in its primary responsibility to protect civilians," she said.

Source: Al Jazeera