October 20, 2012 (BOR) - Five people were killed in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei State on Friday, including one soldier, three men and a heavily pregnant women, local authorities said Saturday.
- Twic East county commissioner, Dau Akoi, May 2012 (ST)
In Twic East, a group of men who went to inspect a dike in Nyuak Payam [district] fell into an ambush laid by unknown gunmen in military uniform on Friday killing three of them instantly, the county’s Commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch told Sudan Tribune.
In Bor County, a woman who left Kolnyang village for Malual-Agor-Baar on the White Nile River, about 13 Kilometers from Bor town along the Bor-Juba road, was shot dead by unknown gunmen. The same armed group are suspected of attempting to steal cattle near Malaual-Agor-Baar but were seen by the army who pursued the raiders for a short distant but did not capture them.
According to the police who brought the corpse back to Bor town, the woman was eight months pregnant and was expecting her child to be born by the end of November.
"She was shot on her left chest, and she died immediately. One of them came with the spear, put one of his foot on [her] chest and speared her chest several times, it is inhuman", Atong Ateny, the one of police officers who collected her body explained to Sudan Tribune on Saturday in Bor.
Around 415 heads of cattle were stolen from Ajuong Payam of Twic East County at 5pm on Friday evening, Commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch said, who suspects the raiders were from the Murle ethnic group, who live in Pibor County.
Cattle raiding and related violence in Jonglei has killed around 2,000 people in the last two years, triggering a state-wide disarmament campaign earlier this year by over 15,000 members of South Sudan’s army (SPLA) and police.
Some groups were reluctant to hand over their weapons for fear they would not be able to to protect their cattle and property from raiders if they were disarmed but the SPLA promised to ensure security and a peace deal was signed between Jonglei’s ethnic groups in May.
However, after the latest raid the Twic East Commissioner said that the "lack of rifles" in the hands of cattle herders had meant that they were not able to protect or retrieve any of the stolen cattle.
The SPLA soldiers stationed in the area were not close enough to the scene to react to incident, he said.
“We have no other people to suspect other than our neighbours in Pibor County’s Payam of Gumuruk”, said the commissioner, explaining that the footprints of the stolen cattle were moving in that direction.
He said that this was the first incident of cattle theft in his county since the Jonglei Peace Agreement was signed in May. Commissioner Akoi urged the county authorities in Pibor and the Jonglei government to make sure that the cattle are returned to the owners.
SPLA SOLDIER KILLED IN BOR
In Jale Payam of Bor County, which borders Twic East County, an SPLA soldier was reported killed and two others wounded in a tempted raid at Weereh cattle camp, east of Jale village.
In a press briefing at the Bor County commissioner’s office on Wednesday, the county’s press secretary, David Alier Keer told the press that one SPLA soldier was shot dead and two others with injured by armed Murle tribesmen when a small force was assaulted by raiders who ambushed the cattle camp.
“During the fighting, one SPLA soldier was killed and two others plus some civilians [cattle owners who were herding the cattle] were wounded and they are now in Bor hospital”, Keer explained to the press in Bor.
Last week, the Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk told Sudan Tribune that some of the cattle raided in Bor county, in Jale Payam in August were looted by the rebel loyalist of David Yau Yau, a claim strongly disputed by the local MP representing Jale Payam.
Kuol Bol Ayom [commonly known as Adur-Hok-nok], one of the members of parliament who is representing Athoch-nortj constituency 28 which largely falls under Jale Payam, said he strongly disputed the claim of “putting the attacks on Yau Yau”.
He said one of his colleagues in the parliament made the same claim in the media last week by attributing the cases of raids, abductions and killing in Bor to the rebels of David Yau Yau.
“The people who are killing people here, looting cattle and abducting children have economic reasons, while David Yau Yau has political reasons of fighting against the government. How are these related now?”, he wondered.
He explained that the raiders, who are also abducting children “are getting guns and ammunition from the rebels to suffice their economic agenda”.
According to Bol “there is no difference between [David] Yau Yau and Murle”. However, Murle leaders deny that their ethnic group is linked to the rebel group.
The MP blamed the SPLA forces of disarmament for having failed to disarm the youth of the Murle who escaped disarmament since April this year during the dry season.
“Now SPLA is saying they are not able to disarm them in the wet season, what is the right time for them to be disarmed. During the dry season, SPLA said they they were not able to reach the Murle youth who escaped, and now they say there is water everywhere, which time is the best for them to disarm Murle?,” Bol said.