30th March 2023
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Ethnic violence kills over 60 across the country in one week

Author: Staff Writter | Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

An armed cattle keeper walks with his cows during a seasonal migration of cattle for grazing near Tonj, South Sudan, Feb. 16, 2020. | Photo credit: VOA

More than 60 people have been killed and unspecified others are wounded in separate incidents of communal violence across the country in a single week.

Media reports indicate, the victims mainly civilians died during communal hostilities and other cattle related attacks in the areas of Tonj North, Abyei, Kapoeta North, Ruweng and Juba County in the past five days.

Last Sunday, a lawmaker told Eye Radio that 11 people were killed, and a score are wounded during a cattle-related attack in Ruweng’s Abiem-nom County.

Hon. Bataria Mayror said the incident occurred when civilians driving recovered cattle back to the Ruweng, came under attack from suspected cattle raiders.

This follows another incident on Saturday, in which 18 soldiers and 7 civilians died during a cattle-related clashes involving the army and local youth in Tonj North County of Warrap state.

The state Information Minister Ring Deng told Eye Radio, the violence started when the government tried to recover stolen cattle.

Among the victims were the chief of military intelligence in the area and the former Commissioner of Mayen Jur in the defunct Gogrial State.

An unspecified number of people were wounded and others are also missing, according to the state government.

On the same day, an armed attack claimed 7 lives and left two people wounded in the Abyei Administrative area.

The Spokesperson of Abyei Administrative Area, Ajak Deng said the incident which occurred in the southern part of Abyei town left 7 people dead, Saturday evening.

The Abyei incident occurred after a brief calm and stability since the killing of 25 people in the area in May.

The contested border region has been ravaged by communal attacks involving the neighboring Twic of Warrap State and the Sudanese Misseriya tribesmen.

Last month, the US government expressed regrets over the silence of both Sudan and South Sudan on the status of Abyei Administrative Area.

Washington said UNISFA should further its support of community dialogue and inter-communal reconciliation in the region.

Meanwhile, the Abyei incident happened a week after the killing of nine people by suspected herders in Lokiliri village of Juba County, on Friday.

A government official in Central Equatoria State said armed cattle keepers stationed at Mogiri moved out of their camps and attacked Lokiliri village on Friday Morning.

In a press statement, the Cabinet Minister Woyi Godwill Edward said the government deployed security forces to calm situation.

According to Minister Godwill, the attackers torched houses, displaced civilians and kidnapped three children.

Also last week, at least 12 people were killed in Kapoeta North County by suspected armed youth from the Pibor Administrative Area.

The Commissioner of Kapoeta North County Ekone Emmanuel Lolimo said the attack was intended to loot cattle.

However, a community leader from Pibor said he could not confirm the allegations that his local youth were responsible for the attack.

According to a United Nations report, inter-communal fighting has been on the rise across South Sudan, and the main source of violence affecting civilians since the formation of the unity government in 2020.

The peacekeeping body sad inter-communal clashes and armed conflict have hampered humanitarian efforts to pre-position food, medicine and other supplies.

Activists and peace observers have attributed the rampant communal hostilities in the country to heavy presence of arms in the hands of civilians and the weak capacity of law enforcement agency to prevail over ethnic militias.

The unity government is said to be lagging behind its mandate to graduate and deploy more than 50,000 of the proposed 83,000 unified forces to protect civilians and the transition.

Two weeks ago, the Joint Defense Board disclosed that at least 50,000 of the unified forces will graduate before the end of this month.

Vice President Taban Deng also invited the newly inaugurated Somali President to attend the graduation of the peace forces slated for the last week of the month.

However, with only one day left out of June, neither the timetable for the purported graduation ceremony nor the other necessary preparations have been availed yet.

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