April 3, 14 (BOR) - Five people were killed and two others injured in Twic East county in Jonglei state following a raid on Kiir-Adhiok cattle camp at around 1am on Thursday morning in which has been blamed on South Sudanese rebels led by former vice president, Riek Machar.
Twic East county commissioner, in a statement released on Thursday evening, said armed groups believed to be part of the SPLM-in-Opposition carried out the attack.
The raiders, according to Dau Akoi, were from counties inhabited largely by the Lou Nuer ethnic group, attacked Kiir-Adhiok cattle camp in Lith payam of Twic East. The camp borders Poktak payam of Duk county to the north.
"This is the first time Twic is attacked by the rebels since this crisis occurred in December. Four people [were] killed on spot during the attack, and two others were injured. They were evacuated to Panyagoor hospital", explained the commissioner.
Akoi said one of the raiders was killed in the clash and was identified as a member of the Luo Nuer tribe by his distinctive facial scarring - the deceased had six parallel lines running across his forehead.
Of the thousands of cattle believed to have been stolen, the cattle owners, with the help of the police, pursued the raiders and managed to rescue around 300 cattle.
Akoi said that 39 cattle were killed in the crossfire, as well as 10 cattle and four goats being injured.
On 29 March, the county experienced a similar raid in Garwer cattle camp when raiders, believed to be from the Murle tribe, managed to steal an unconfirmed number of cattle.
Lack of independent sources to verify various claims and counter claims makes accurate information from remote areas of Jonglei, which has notoriously bad infrastructure, hard to come by.
The state has witnessed serious upheaval since conflict began in mid-December following a split in the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and the ruling party - the SPLM.
According to the UN Mission in South Sudan, 5,036 civilians are seeking shelter at the UN base in Bor. A total of over one million people have been displaced, including 803,200 within South Sudan and 254,600 who have ?ed to neighbouring countries, since the fighting began in the capital, Juba.
The number of casualties is unclear. In early January, the International Crisis Group estimated that 10,000 people may have been killed. A ceasefire signed on January 23 has been violated by both sides. A second round of talks - mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) - in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, has been delayed several times.
The main sticking points are whether SPLM officials who have been accused of staging an alleged coup attempt on December 15 are allowed to participate as a third bloc. The rebels are also angry about the Ugandan military’s continued presence in South Sudan, assisting the SPLA and the proposed regional force of IGAD member countries.
The UN says that the conflict has left 3.7 million people at high risk of food insecurity.