January 1, 2013 (BOR) – Four people were killed, two wounded and children rescued in attempted abduction in three raids across Bor County in South Sudan’s Jonglei State on Tuesday in the latest series of attacks blamed on men from neighboring Pibor County loyal to rebel leader David Yau Yau.
- Map showing location of Jonglei state in South Sudan.
One attack occurred in Makuach payam [district], the closest administrative center east of Bor, the Jonglei State capital, at around 5pm local time, according to authorities and witnesses.
The attackers "were in a military uniform and about fifty in number,” said Philip Mabil Duot, the civil administrator of Makuach payam.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on the phone from the payam headquarters, Mabil said he “saw the raiders approaching, gathering cattle and gunning down three young men” a small distance away from where he was sitting.
One person was also wounded and an unknown number of cattle stolen. An army force from the area was still pursuing the raiders by 7:30pm local time on Tuesday, Mabil said.
In Kolnyang payam, south of Makuach and about 30km east of Bor town, villagers marching to celebrate New Year’s Day were attacked and three children abducted.
One child escaped and returned to their parents an hour later, while others were rescued by the army and local youth after fierce fighting three hours later, relatives say.
In Cuei-keer, a sub-district of Kolnyang, one person was killed and another injured when gunmen attempted to raid some cattle from the area.
Bor County authorities say the attacks seem to have been coordinated to coincide with the festival period. There is a growing fear among civilians that the area in which rebel David Yau Yau operates are expanding from his home county of Pibor into other areas of Jonglei.
Yau Yau rebelled after losing his bid to become a member of the Jonglei State legislative assembly in the 2010 general elections. He denounced his insurgency in 2011 accepting a presidential amnesty and becoming a General in the South Sudanese army (SPLA), but relaunched his fight against the government in April 2012.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), pledged recently to sweep out the rebels during dry season.
Jonglei State is South Sudan’s largest state and also one of the impoverished nation’s least developed. Roads in the state are notoriously bad making it hard for the SPLA and police to maintain security.
Ethnic violence over resources and pastures for animals has killed thousands since 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, ending Sudan’s 21 years of war between the north and south.
A state-wide disarmament program, code-named Operation restore Peace, was launched in March 2011 in Jonglei State by South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir.
A community peace conference in May last year brought together the state’s ethnic groups, but some groups, including Yau Yau’s, did not attend. Despite some periods without raids, the problem of cattle raids and abductions has continued albeit at a lower level.
Jonglei State governor Kuol Manyang Juuk has said that 2012 was “much better” compared to previous years. According to the United Nations, around 2,000 people have died in conflict between the state’s ethnic groups in over the last two years.
NEW YEAR MARCHES IN BOR
Meanwhile, New Year’s Day was marked with gunshots fired in the air at midnight in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state.
Thousands of people marched in the afternoon of 1 January to welcome in 2013.