March 25, 2014 (RUMBEK) - Authorities in Rumbek Central county in South Sudan’s Lakes state have confirmed that unknown armed men raided more than 60 cows from Malith marketplace in Rumbek market on Monday night.
Mawet Manuer, Rumbek Central county’s commissioner, said that no people were killed or wounded during the raid. This is the first time pastoralist youth have raided cows from Rumbek’s main market since since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. The deal led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011.
The raid of the main market in the state capital has raised concerns among people in Rumbek, some of whom have questioned the government’s capacity to handle such security issues.
Activist Moses Maker told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that Lakes state is becoming "lawlessness" and the government was committing injustices against the people.
Some elders and chiefs have urged the South Sudan government to remove the governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, who was appointed to replaced the elected governor over a year ago.
Governor Dhuol’s harsh security measures have drawn sharp criticism from many activists and young people in South Sudan’s central state.
Young cattle herders "are killing themselves mercilessly" Maker said, despite the Lakes state government deploying forces to track down the cows.
Lakes state’s police insist that young people and wider public refuse to share information with them, often blaming the poor relationship between the administration and the people of Lakes state.
Lakes state’s authorities have become increasingly isolated since caretaker military governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol took over last year after his elected predecessor was removed by President Salva Kiir.
Community and traditional leaders in Lakes’ state’s Rumbek North county have launched a reconciliation process in a bid to ease tensions between two clans who have been fighting each other over the past week.
The team, which included national MPs, was lead by Daniel Deng Monyde and elder Peter Muoranyar Biet. Sixty students from various universities and primary schools both in Lakes state and from other East African countries also attended.
On 10 March, fighting flared at the Yhaga cattle camp between members of the Gaak and Manuer sub-clans of the Dinka ethnic group, reportedly over a dispute about a girl.
Nine people were killed and another four suffered gunshot wounds.
Marik Nanga Marik, an MP in the Lakes state parliament, described the incident as “regrettable”, saying efforts were being made by traditional leaders to calm tensions in the area.
Last week’s clashes are believed to have been the first time youth pastoralists from the Gaak and Manuer sub-clans had turned on each other.
Traditional chiefs, students and activists have called on president Salva Kiir to remove Dhuol, but the public demands have so far been overlooked.
Under South Sudan’s constitution, an election should be held within three months in the event that the president removes a governor from office.
However, in the three South Sudanese states where governors were removed last year this has not happened and no elections are planned ahead of the national poll in 2015.