January 19, 2014 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese army (SPLA) said it had deployed troops in the country’s Warrap state after dissident forces opposed to the current government killed two people in Tonj North and East counties last week.
- SPLA soldiers during the celebration of 26th anniversary of SPLM in Juba on May 26, 2009 - (Getty Images)
Those who carried out the attack, in which two others were wounded, reportedly possessed heavy weapons. Survivors of the attack said several herds of cattle were driven away while a number of women and children went missing.
Local residents and government officials have expressed fears that those at large since the Thursday attack may have eventually been killed.
Over the years, the lack of a border control mechanisms coupled with the army’s ineffectiveness have largely turned the region straddling three states of Lakes, Warrap and unity over the past years into a hub for cattle raiding activities between communities and successive rebel groups.
Recently, however, the SPLA third division covering Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap states responded to pleas from the local population and deployed a battalion to provide protection, pursue and flush out rebel elements allegedly using swampy areas as their hiding grounds.
"I learned today that comrade Santino Deng Wol, who commands our forces in division three, has responded positively to the pleas by our people, especially those in the areas bordering unity state to be accorded maximum security attention. He deployed a battalion to the effect", Kuot Deng Kuot, a Member of Parliament representing Gogrial East county in Warrap said Sunday.
Kuot gave no details of the military operation, but blamed forces loyal to South Sudan’s former vice president, Riek Machar for the violence.
Police spokesman, Colonel James Monday said they had increased the number of police forces in the area so as to provide security and protect lives of civilians as well as their properties.
"The current security situation in that area has opened a chance for some criminals. Some of the activities are carried out by the armed civilians and others are carried out by rebel forces to exploit this and to attack the area", Monday told Sudan Tribune.
The SPLA and police have now deployed joint force to provide protection to the civil population living in that triangle region, he added.
The senior police officer, however, acknowledged that there have been some hostile movement and activities destabilising civilian life over the past years, despite the numerous peace conference organised by authorities in these regions.