JUBA, FEBRUARY 2nd 2023 (SUDANS POST) – At least twenty-one people have been killed and two others have been wounded after suspected cattle keepers from Jonglei State’s Bor County attacked villages in Kajo-keji County of Central Equatoria state, the county commissioner has said.
Phanuel Dumo Jame Lokajasuk, the Kajo-keji commissioner told Sudans Post in an interview this evening that they had a meeting with the commissioner of Bor County who he said ordered his cattle keepers to leave and go back to their land.
“What happened is that we had a meeting with commissioner of Bor County and a delegation from there. They agreed that they would take their cattle and return back to their county to avoid conflict,” the commissioner told Sudans Post by phone from Kajo-keji.
He said that rebel forces operating in the area under the National Salvation Front (NAS) attacked Bor cattle keepers and killed at least six of them, but then the Bor cattle keepers then attacked villagers instead of the assailants.
“But the cattle herders instead of following the footpath of the assailants who caused this problem, took the advantage of revenge, killing whoever they found. One of my bodyguards has collected their bodies which are now lying in the […] Church waiting for the burial, 21 of them,” he said.
“This attack took place at Lire Payam and killed 21 people. So, this is what happened,” the senior local government official added.
Dumo further dismissed as “a wild claim” that the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) assisted the attackers and said that the national army was standing in solidarity with the people of Kajo-keji.
“This is not true and I can call it a wild claim. The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces were with us here and they didn’t take part in the attack. That is a propaganda meant by enemies of peace to tarnish the image of the army,” he added.
How can cattle be allowed from Jonglei to cross over to Kaju Keji without prior approval of the local community. It’s high time the issue of cattle is given a due attention. I suggest a peaceful dialogue be held between the cattle keepers and the Equatorians and agreed way forword given serious considerations. We can afford to continue loosing innocent lives. Why kill innocent youth while the cattle keepers were attacked by rebels as claimed eby the commissioner .
Central Equatoria leaders must see this as an attack on innocent civilians and work hard to peacefully resolve this issue now before it paves way for more killings.