March 17, 2014 (RUMBEK) - Lakes state armed cattle herders in Lakes state resumed deadly clashes with the South Sudan Police Service and members of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on Monday south-west of Rumbek, the state capital.
- South Sudan’s Lakes state and its neighbouring regions have become a hub for cattle raids (ST)
A police officer who requested anonymity said that "two soldiers were killed in Roornhom when the pastoralists raids cows" from Roornhom village.
Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that clashes erupted in Kuel-Kuac between pastoralists after they had been provoked by soldiers in the area.
Many civilians in Lakes state have distanced themselves from the government since harsh security measures were introduced by Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, who was appointed in January 2012 by South Sudanese president to replaced elected Governor Chol Tong Mayay.
Lakes states youth say that they are tired of Lakes state government’s attitude and claim that some soldiers harass them and accuse them of being supporters of Riek Machar, the former vice president who is now leading a rebellion against of the government.
The rebellion has mainly affected Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states but Lakes state has received thousands of displaced people.
A member of the Lakes state youth told Sudan Tribune on Monday that the current conflict had nothing to do with South Sudanese civilians but a power struggle between the politicians in ruling SPLM.
Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on President Salva Kiir to remove Governor Dhuol, but public demands have so far been overlooked. Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within 90 days, in the event that the president removes a governor from office.
However, in the three states where governors were removed in 2013 this has yet to occur.
Inter-clan clashes have intensified in Lakes state over the past week, with 34 people reportedly killed and more than 20 people injured after violence broke out at a remote cattle camp at Wunthou in Tiaptiap payam (district) about 80km from Cueibet.
Sticks and firearms were used during the clashes between the Waat and Panyar clans of the Dinka Gok tribe, with a dispute about a girl also blamed for triggering the incident.
Pakam community elders from Rumbek North’s Maper county in Lakes state held a meeting in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on Friday following the outbreak of inter-clan clashes in the region.
Pakam leaders have urged youths in Rumbek North to immediately disengage from clashes, calling on pastoralist youths to apologise to each another without precondition.
The meeting, which was chaired by Pakam elders Peter Muoranyar Biet and Daniel Deng Monydit, who represents Rumbek North in the national parliament, was called as part of efforts to calm tensions in the area.
Biet said the region’s youth must live together as one community and not resort to violence to solve their problems.
Tensions flared at the Yhaga cattle camp between members of the Gaak and Manuer sub-clans last week reportedly over a dispute about a girl.
Nine people were killed during the clashes, with another four admitted to hospital for treatment after suffering gunshot wounds.
Rumbek North MP Marik Nanga Marik later described the incident as “regrettable”.
According to Monydit, last week’s clashes marked the first time youth pastoralists from the Gaak and Manuer sub-clans had turned on each other.