Philip Thon Aleu
May 19, 2008 (BOR TOWN, Jonglei) – Cattle primitive business, the barter trade, resulted to lost of over three dozens lives between Nuer Lou and Duk Padiet communities of Jonglei state at Pakam Amiel in Duk County (about 150 miles) northern Bor Town Saturday on May 17, Sudan Tribune has learnt.
Jonglei government says no official number of causalities is available.
"I can’t tell you exactly what happens because we do not have the report in written form," the Acting Government of Jonglei state and the State Minister for Land and Physical Infrastructures Eng. John Amuor Kuol told Sudan Tribune when contacted Sunday at Dr. Garang Institute cultural day, Bor Town.
The minister, however, acknowledged that the two communities were engaged in exchange of fire on Saturday.
"You will complete the rest of the function because I’m going to attend a meeting in the town where we shall discuss the current insecurity reports," he told parents and students at Dr. Garang Institute Sunday, referring to the fight between Duk and Wutror Counties communities of Jonglei.
Bor town residents belonging to the two communities denounce the clashes and call upon the state government to act.
All top Jonglei officials, including commissioner of Duk County are attending SPLM National Convention in southern Sudan capital Juba and thus inaccessible. Minister Amuor represents the state government.
The Oil Company; ASCOM Co. Ltd staff operating at Aker-Ker — location between the two communities — are said to be safe.
Nuer Lou cattle keepers, while returning from Duk’s Toch — area between rivers used to graze cattle in dry seasons — in Duk County territory, fell apart when a two men exchange of a bull and a heifer failed Saturday.
A Nuer Lou is said to have demanded exchanging his heifer for colored-bull — a sign of riches and of great reputation in cattle keeping communities — belonging a Duk Padiet who refused. He was instantly shot dead for denying the barter business, relatives in Bor town claimed.
Exchanges of fire erupted in revenge and defend lasting for six (6) hours (9:00am – 2:00Pm) between the two neighbors. Unconfirmed source puts dead to over thirty and many more wounded. Duk County is said to have lost a half herd of cattle on May 17.
Pakam Amiel is one of the border areas where fighting has being repetitive. The latest being in January 2007 when Duk County authorities refused Nuer Lou entry to Toch. Many lives and cattle were lost on either side.
The two communities remained in good terms after the 1991 Nuer’s attack on Greater Bor communities, triggered by the split of the Sudan’s People liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/M), was solved.
The return of current GoSS vice president Riek Machar, who led the then South Sudan Independent Movement (SSIM) against the SPLM/A, to SPLM/A later normalized tires.
Conflicts resumed in 2006 over Toch, cattle theft and other border misunderstanding. The clashes have being persisting and regarded as ’normal’ without any political motivation.
The government adheres to disarmament as the only mean to avert to tribal conflicts. SPLM veterans who converged in Br Town for state congress in April 2008 were told by state governor Kuol Manyang Juuk to take home message of love for unity and peace through peaceful disarmament.
The message is likely undelivered as the veterans swung to Juba for SPLM national convention thereafter. A heave of hope for peaceful coexistence is expected to resume shortly, analyst say.