October 21, 2013 (JUBA) – The United States envoy to South Sudan has condemned Sunday’s attack on two cattle camps in Jonglei state, which killed 44 people and left unknown numbers wounded.
- US embassador to South Sudan Susan Page (AP photo)
Several women and children, state officials said, were also abducted from their home during the attack allegedly carried out by forces loyal to rebel militia leader David Yau Yau in the remote Twic East county.
“These attacks are a stain on the progress that South Sudan has made as a new nation. We condemn any form of ethnic violence and encourage South Sudanese of all ethnicities to stand together peacefully in the face of this horrific attack”, ambassador Susan Page said in a statement issued Monday.
We join with the government of the Republic of South Sudan in expressing our condolences at the loss of innocent lives and call on the government to immediately investigate and hold the attackers accountable, she added.
The attack, government officials say, undermines recent efforts by the country’s leadership to find lasting solutions for peace in the region, especially after series of amnesty calls extended to the rebels.
“The recent attack on civilians in Twic East country by Yau Yau [rebels] is a serious setback to attempt by our president to peacefully end the fighting in the region. We strongly condemn these attacks on our people,” information minister, Michael Makuei told reporters in the capital, Juba on Monday.
The US, according to its envoy, was ready to assist the people of Jonglei in the aftermath of the attack, citing a similar assistance it provided to vulnerable communities affected by floods in the region.
“We will continue our work with the government of the Republic of South Sudan to address the pressing security and humanitarian needs in Jonglei State,” assured Page.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) also strongly condemned the attack on civilians in Jonglei and pledged to work closely with the country’s authorities to have the perpetrators held accountable.
The UN, through its Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), reportedly flew health partners to the attacked areas to evacuate casualties to the state capital, Bor and Juba.
"By the end of the day, UNHAS had evacuated a total of 31 seriously wounded civilians to Bor and Juba. They also reported more wounded civilians remaining in the area and this morning UNHAS dispatched a helicopter to continue the medical evacuations," said a statement from UNMISS.
A team of investigators, it added, from its police, human rights, civil affairs and human rights component, along with SSNPS counterparts flown to investigate the attacks, ascertain the identity of the attackers, and determine the accurate number of casualties.
Area local officials, however, told Sudan Tribune Monday that they anticipate a rise in the numbers of those killed or wounded during the attack
The attackers are suspected to be part of David Yau Yau’s rebel rebel group which has been operating in from Pibor state on and off since 2010.