March 27, 2014 (RUMBEK) – Two people were killed when fresh clashes erupted in South Sudan’s Lakes state Thursday between pastoralists and the country’s security forces at Bahrgel payam, about three miles from Wulu county headquarter.
A pastoralist who spoke to Sudan Tribune claimed they were provoked by the army and police officers allegedly acting on the caretaker governor’s directives.
“The army followed us and we realized that they were interested in fighting us, but we really do not know the reason why they wanted to fight us”, said Agutkuei Maker.
“We opened gunfire on them as an answer to what they wanted and we killed them. Our cows and groups are saved,” added the youth leader.
He claimed none of the pastoralists was injured during clashes, but said they would confront security forces if they continued tracking their movement with cattle.
Majok Makur, another youth leader, said they would not allow security forces undermine their rights to freely move in their communities with their animals.
“We are very tired of Lakes state [authorities], the beat us like their wives, arrest us without charges, abuse us and accuse us of being Riek Machar supporters. They also eat our cows without justice, the undermine us and the caretaker governor threatens using firing square,” Majur said.
“Now we have accepted his [governor’s] will and we are waiting for his removable and if not, [then the] solution will come from heaven”, he added.
Eyewitnesses said the pastoralists overwhelmed the army and captured one PKM rifle, further pushing the military from Makeke village to Wulu county headquarter.
A Wulu county police officer, who asked not to be named, confirmed Thursday’s clashes.
“The owners of the cattle took their animals away to Domoli of Bahrgel payam and two people were confirmed dead from raider’s side”, he told Sudan Tribune by phone.