8 killed in Central Equatoria cattle clashes
Authorities in Kajo-Keji county, Central Equatoria, have confirmed the death of at least 8 people in local violence over cattle herds.
In a statement released this weekend, a number of violent outbursts between Jonglei state cattle herders and residents of Sokare village last week were confirmed by the Kajo-Keji County Commissioner's Office.
The headman of Limi boma has identified 5 of the dead as local residents, and the other 2 as Ugandan nationals. An 8th person remains unidentified. They are listed by tribe as follows:
1. Dexson, a kuku from Litebe boma.
2. Kidega, a kuku from Gari village.
3. Sekwat, a kuku from Limi boma.
4. Tombek, a bari (village unknown).
5. Kario Agnes, a maid from Uganda.
6. Charles longa Wani, a kuku from Limi boma
7. Alice, a maid from Uganda.
Wilson Lodiong, a local politician representing the Opposition Alliance (OPP), has linked the attacks with recent fighting between cattle herders and National Salvation Front (NAS) forces.
'Most of them [cattle herders] got killed and they could not kill any of the NAS, so on their withdrawal, they went and [carried out] revenge on the civilians', Lodiong has told press.
NAS spokesperson Suba Samuel has disputed Lodiong's comments. Identifying the location of the deceased as near a local river, he instead suggested the attack was related to fishing in the area.
The County Commissioner's Office has since informed press that the situation in the area is calm, and urges all parties to adhere to President Kiir's 2017 edict ordering Equatorian cattle herders to return and remain in their traditional grazing areas.
Cattle related violence has increased in 2021, following an estimated 2400 deaths from intercommunal clashes in 2020. Following recent flare ups in Upper Nile, Warrap and Central Equatoria states, the government has pledged to intensify efforts at local peacebuilding.