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13 killed in attacks this week, says Jonglei MP

February 5, 2012 (BOR) – Officials in South Sudan’s Jonglei state say armed raiders killed more than ten people in two separate attacks in Akobo and Bor counties this week, in the latest violence to affect the country’s largest state.

Deng Chuol, an MP representing Akobo West in the Jonglei State Assembly, said eleven people died on Tuesday last week when Murle raiders attacked the area.

Kuol Bol Ayom, a representative of Athoc North constituency in the Jonglei Assembly told the Sudan Tribune on Sunday that two people were killed by attackers on Saturday in Baidit Payam [district].

“The attackers killed people and wounded other one,” he said. One of the attackers was killed and identified as a member of the Murle tribe, Bol added.

The body of alleged raider killed in the Baidit attack was later brought to Bor civil hospital, Sudan Tribune was told, but his identity has not been confirmed.

Jonglei state is home to pastoralist communities who often engage in cattle rustling and child abduction. Between June and December last year, over 1,000 peopled died in various inter-tribal raids in Jonglei.

Just before Christmas, over 6,000 armed Lou Nuer men launched - what it calls revenge attack - on Pibor county home of the Murle tribe. Estimates on the number of deaths killed range between the hundred and thousands but the UN has dismissed the higher figures.

After extra UN troops and forces from the South Sudanese army were belatedly deployed to the area, the Luo Nuer were forced to retreat.

But the Murle responded with a series of attacks on Lou Nuer counties of Akobo and Uror in early January. Duk County, inhabited by the Dinka Bor tribe, was also attacked in mid-January, leaving close to ninety people killed, according to official figures.

A total of 140,000 people have been affected by the attacks over the last six weeks, according to the UN. The South Sudanese government have described Jonglei as a disaster area, with humanitarian agencies struggling to access the state due to lack of infrastructure and a shortage of helicopters.

Many cattle were stolen and an unknown number of people are missing since the attack on a cattle camp in Akobo County on Tuesday 2 February, Deng Chuol told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

South Sudan and the Jonglei State government says disarming civilians during this dry season will end the deadly raids, which have been aggravated by the acquisition of automatic weapons by civilians during the two-decade long civil war with North Sudan.

In July South Sudan became independent but continues to accuse Khartoum of arming rebellions in the new country. Some of these weapons have found their way to the civilian population, Juba alleges.

However, Khartoum denies this and claims Juba is assisting rebels in areas bordering the south.

Logistical constraints are said to have been delaying the commencement of military, police and aid operations in remote villages of Jonglei state that are inaccessible by road.

(ST)