Cattle clashes intensify in Lakes state
In a clear sign of escalating tensions in Lakes state, 40 people have been killed and at least 6 injured in two raids on cattle camps in Cueibet.
Witness reports suggest that both attack were launched by armed men from the Pakam community. At present, all victims seem to members of the Gok community. The first attack at Ngop cattle camp killed 24, whilst the second at Taper cattle camp killed 16.
The two recent attacks come after a number of isolated outbursts of violence in Cueibet. Earlier in February, an unknown gunman killed a man at his home in Mayath payam. The attack followed the death of 2 children in January, apparently revenge killings in the Gok community.
Speaking to press earlier this month, local police chief Colonel Machar Mourwel asserted that despite occasional violent flare ups the situation remains largely stable.
Vehicles and motorcycles are moving freely, but sometimes these criminals ambush, loot, and kill people on the road', Colonel Machar said.
UNMISS has operated in Cuibet since the beginning of the year, having deployed a number of Nepalese peacekeepers to promote stability between warring groups. The peacekeepers have established a temporary operating base in the region to build confidence among local communities and deter potential skirmishes. Despite occasional incidents, it is reported that the mission is proving effective at reducing larger scale conflict.
'Establishing this base ahead of time worked in the mission’s favour as our peacekeepers were able to de-escalate rising tensions when opposing armed groups were mobilising some ten days after we arrived on the ground', reported Lieutenant-General Shailesh Tinaikar, UNMISS Force Commander.