70 lost lives in cattle raids at South Sudan

BOR, SOUTH SUDAN — According to witnesses and officials, intercommunal clashes, mostly involving cattle, have killed nearly 70 people across various parts of South Sudan in the past week.

According to authorities in South Sudan’s central-eastern state of Jonglei, in the latest attack, 14 were killed, and nearly 13 were injured during a cattle raid on Monday in Duk Country.

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As per Jonglei’s acting governor, ‘Tuong Majok’, the Pangonkei cattle camp in the Duk-Padiet district was attacked by “terrorist youth,” allegedly from the neighbouring Greater Pibor Administrative Area. The attackers raided several cattle herds but returned the animals Monday night.

On Sunday, herders suspected of being from Sudan’s Omran community raided a cattle camp in Rubkona County of Unity state, said Stephen Salaam, security adviser. Nearly seven people were killed, and ten other South Sudanese herders were injured, said Salaam.

“The youth of Arab came and attacked a cattle camp in Payanggai. They fought with our youth generation in the cattle camp and killed seven people on our side of Rubkons, said, Salman.

The incident prompted the U.S. embassies in Khartoum and Juba to issue a Wednesday joint statement calling all sides to return to talks.

According to Abyei chief administrator Kuol Deim Kuol, 27 people were killed on Saturday and another 20 on Sunday in the special Abyei Administrative Area during the deadliest attacks.

Abyei officials suspect that gunmen from Twic County of Warrap state carried out the attacks and were joined by Sudanese Misseriya nomads.

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“The Misseriya came in huge number, and they were joined by the militia element, mostly from Twic area, and they attacked the same village, Madingthon again,” said Kuol.

In South Sudanese culture, cattle are highly important, not only for food. Some communities are considered as a store of wealth and a symbol of social status and used to promote dowry and blood money payments or compensate for other transgressions.

Regarding Monday’s attack in Duk County, Jonglei’s acting Governor Majok recommended that President Salva Kiir dissolve the Greater Pibor Administrative Area if its leaders cannot control their young men.

As per ‘Majok’ “they are attacking without any reason, we consider them as terrorists, and they should be treated as terrorists.”