October 3, 2016 (JUBA) - At least 12 South Sudanese cattle keepers from the Dinka Bor tribe were killed in the outskirts of the capital, Juba over the weekend, officials said.
- Young men herd cattle through the mud-caked streets of Pibor, South Sudan (AP)
Eight others were reportedly wounded in the weekend attack.
The incident, involving a Land Cruiser car, occurred less than 200 meters from the last army located south-west of Juba, survivors and the police said.
“The passengers were returning to cattle camp in Kajo-Keji County of Yei River State but they were ambushed and their car sprayed with bullets,” said David Mamer, who lost a cousin during the weekend attack.
Mamer said the bodies were retrieved from the forest by relatives, an hour after the incident occurred.
“Most of the bodies had bullets in their heads – a sign that the victims were shot at close-range when the driver had to abandon the car,” he added.
Most of the victims were from Bor county in Jonglei state.
Attacks on highways in South Sudan between Juba and neighboring towns are common – but not close to the city as witnessed last week.
The attackers, eyewitnesses said, spoke in the Nuer dialect, a claim Sudan Tribune could not verify.
A woman whose husband was killed said one of the alleged gunmen called her using the stolen phone and mocked her.
“He told me ‘we have killed your husband and you must look for another man,’” she said as tears rolled down her face.
Police said investigations are underway to establish the motive of the attack and bring the suspects to book.
“We heard the incident and we are still investigating,” said Police Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Daniel Justin Boula, adding that no suspects had so far been arrested over the attack.
The attack provoked criticism on social media – with users questioning government’s ability to maintain the rule of law in the war-torn country.