JUBA — The governor of South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state has accused Jonglei state cattle herders of exporting war to his state urging the Bor community to return their cattle to Jonglei areas to avoid further chaos.
This comes days after a deadly attack on cattle camp at Mugali of Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, resulted in the killing of at least 22 people most women and children.
In a statement Lobong said the ethnic violence in Eastern Equatoria state was instigated by cattle herders who started to arrive to Eastern Equatoria as a result of flooding at the start of the year.
“Cattle herders came from Jonglei in large numbers with their families and cattle to Eastern Equatoria State. The cows were unleashed on the farms causing severe damages to the crops. Adding insult to injury, the cattle herders started harassing the host community, intimidating and humiliating them,” he said in the statement a copy of which has been obtained by Sudans Post.
“The situation was further aggravated by the killing of innocent natives in Abara village, looting their properties and burning their houses. The innocent people of Abara and Agoro had to flee the sanctuary of their homes because of reasons alien to them,” he added.
He said his government “has since then been calling on the cattle herders, their community leaders and their governments to take the cows back to their areas of origin for the sake of peace. The cattle herders heeded not to our call nor to the plea of their leaders.”
He blamed the attack which occurred earlier this week on cattle raiders from neighboring Greater Pinot Administrative Area.
“On Tuesday 11 May 2022, a cattle Camp of the Bor herders, in Mugali and Melijo areas was attacked by a group of Murle raiders from greater Pibor. A number of people were killed including women, children and elderly. Hundreds of the Madi natives were displaced to Nimule town. We immediately deployed policemen to the area to protect the fleeing people from Mugali,” he said.
“The next day, on 12 May 2022, two policemen, deployed to protect the displaced, were shot dead in Nimule by cattle herders from Bor. The herders went on rampage shooting and looting shops in Nimule town,” he added.
He reiterated that “the unfortunate situation in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State, is the result of influx of cattle herders and cattle raiders from the Greater Jonglei region. The people of Eastern Equatoria State are suffering from a conflict that is transferred from the Greater Jonglei region to Eastern Equatoria State.
“I strongly reiterate my appeal to the people of Greater Jonglei to go back to their areas and try to find ways of addressing their issues amongst themselves. I call upon the leaderships of both Jonglei State and Greater Pibor Administrative Area to immediately take all necessary measures to withdraw their people from Eastern Equatoria State.
“I send condolences to the families of the two policemen who were killed in the line of duty. My condolences also go the families of the women, children and elderly who were killed during the cattle raid on Mugali and Melijo.
“We condemn these barbaric acts and will not rest until peace is restored. I call upon our people in Nimule to remain calm and to exercise maximum restraint because the State Government is doing all it can to address the situation.”