October 18, 2013 (RUMBEK) - Fresh cattle raids occurred on Thursday when a group of pastoralists suspected to be from Lakes state’s Rumbek Central county of Lakes state seized about 300 cows at Kabur William bridge in neighbouring Cueibet county.
- South Sudan’s Lakes state and its neighbouring regions have become a hub for cattle raids (ST)
The youth, believed to be from the Ruop section of Rumbek Central county, were armed with AK47 firearms, according to community leaders and eye witnesses at the scene.
Local resident Manguak Koc Manguak said the youths and the stolen cattle were seen heading towards Tiemkuac cattle camps, located within Rumbek Central County territory.
He said Cueibet county pastoralists were virtually powerless to stop the raids or recovering their stolen cattle after handing over their weapons as part of the South Sudanese government’s disarmament process.
“Our commissioner of Cueibet has collected all firearms from us; we are very defenceless from our opponent. We usually tell [the] government to make a comprehensive disarmament [process] but they are targeting some clans and counties [while] leaving other counties with arms”, Koc said.
Rumbek Central county commissioner Abraham Mayen Kuc confirmed that the raids had occurred, saying state authority had launched a joint force comprised of police and military units in bid to recover the looted cows from Cueibet county.
He said that while about 200 cows had since been recovered, the true number of those still missing remained unknown.
“We have recovered back about 200 cows and 6 cows are missing – the numbers of cows raided are not clear but our forces are now on [the] ground collection information about some cows missing”, Mayen said.
There were no reports of casualties or wounded during the cattle raid attack.
This is not the first internal cattle raiding incident to have occurred, with had been reported, Lakes state remaining a hub for illegal rustling, as well other neighbouring states.
Harsh security measure and reforms have been imposed on Lakes state since January following the appointment of military caretaker governor Matur Chuot Dhuol.
The business sector has been particularly hard hit with high taxes and tough restrictions, forcing some to shut down operations.