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Sudan Tribune

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14 people killed in Akobo during S. Sudan Speaker visit to Jonglei

By Thon Philip Aleu

June 8, 2009 (BOR) – A day before South Sudan Speaker James Wani Igga visited Jonglei capital Bor on June 4, 14 people died and 7 others wounded in Akobo County’s cattle rustling, official says.

Timothy Taban Jouch, the State Information and communication minister, told reporters on Monday here in Bor that Murle raiders killed 5 people in Ogal, about 8 miles (12KM) east Akobo town on June 3, 2009. 8 assailants (Murle) also perished when confronted. 7 men, Akobo citizens were wounded, Minister Jouch said. Eight AK47 riffles were allegedly captured from Murle, Jouch said.

Cattle rustling, a common practice between communities in Jonglei surged in 2009 setting a recorded hundreds of deaths in one incident about two-and-half months ago when Lou Nuer retaliated on Murle.

Speaker of South Sudan Legislative Assembly Hon. James Wani Igga denounced the situation in south largest-populous state and urged the tribes to work toward peaceful coexistence.

Igga, who is heading the elections committee of his party, on his first trip to Jonglei in two years, campaigned for SPLM and helped to organize south ruling party elections committee.

For SPLM to win, he said, many people must be there to vote and thus, killings should cease. Igga joked that with recent tribal conflicts; the population of Jonglei State is not longer the highest or as in census figures in South Sudan.

Akobo, an eastern County from State capital Bor, neighbors Nyirol, is a Lou Nuer County that has called for peaceful resolutions of differences few weeks ago after months of fierce contest over cattle as well as child abduction.

As part of efforts to halt or minimize tribal conflicts, United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) deployed a battalion of army in Pibor and Akobo in trying to ease tension there but in vain. Hundreds of people are displaced to Walgak and Kaikuiny, central Lou Nuer following Akobo verses Murle clashes and 31 huts burnt to ashes.

The latest tribal clashes were on May 18 when 27 people died in Uror County between Murle and residents there. However, the Akobo cattle contest is one of many feuds in recent weeks. On May 30, two children were abducted in Wuncuei, a 4 miles village north of Bor Town and their father critically wounded. He is being nursed in Bor Civil Hospital.

Minister Jouch told reporters that the State government is working on peaceful settlement of tribal differences as achieved in May, 2009’s five Counties peace conference.

In a related development, local communities in Nassir – Upper Nile State, have blocked food relief to Akobo protesting their divergence. As such, “Akobo is desperately hunger,” State Minister Jouch revealed.

Jouch, however, acknowledged that authorities in Malakal are working hard to convince the angry Nassir residents to allow food items to starving Akobo – to avoid to two wars; hunger and cattle raiding. Nassir is reportedly angered by raiders – believed to have originated from Jonglei State last month killing up to 46 people.

(ST)