June 29, 2017 (ABYEI) – The United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) on Monday facilitated the retrieval and handing-over of the 58 stolen herd of cattle to its rightful owner, a Ngok Dinka pastoralist in Todach village, 17 kilometres north from Abyei
Ngok Dinka leaders and Misseriya pastoralist groups from the eastern, southern and central migration corridors expressed their gratitude to UNISFA for the efforts in combating cattle rustling.
“With the absence of a functioning government in our area, we are truly grateful that UNISFA is around to help deal with criminal activities such as cattle rustling, a problem that has haunted us for so many years and has been the source of disputes and clashes between individuals and communities,” said Jahid Omer, the head of the pastoralists in the eastern corridor of Abyei region.
“The United Nations is here in Abyei to protect you and all communities living here, as well as your properties. We exert all efforts to ensure that you run a normal and secure life,” Brig Gen Assefa Gebru Workneh, UNISFA Chief Liaison Officer for Abyei, emphasized during the hand-over ceremony.
Alan Doyle, UNISFA’s Chief of Mission Support and Col Hailu Gebrehiwot, the North Sector commander attended the event.
“We will continue to keep an eye out for any potential rustlers during the reverse migration,” Gen Assefa assured the pastoralists.
The owner of the livestock, Majej Tong Ngor, conveyed his appreciation to UNISFA troops for retrieving some of his animals.
“I lost 264 animals during a raid on 18 June this year in Arik area near Athony. I hope that over the next weeks, they will be able to facilitate the retrieval of the rest of the stolen animals,” said Ngor.
UNISFA said with the coordination and cooperation from communities in the Abyei area, its hopes to retrieve the rest of the stolen livestock in weeks to come.
Ngok Dinka leaders and Misseriya pastoralist groups expressed concerns over the proper handling of criminals or animal rustlers.
“We want them to be arrested and handed over to the traditional courts, given the absence of a police service in Abyei. We will continue to cooperate with UNISFA to minimize, if not to stop, these cattle rustling activities,” Omer stated.
Cattle rustling is one of the biggest challenges facing communities in the Abyei. Since the start of 2017, three major cases of cattle rustling and one case of cattle killing were reported to UNISFA.