Rumbek — Authorities in Lake state's Rumbek North county (Maper) say four people have been killed and another wounded in attacks carried out by suspected cattle raiders from Unity state.
The attack occurred at Wunliet on Wednesday morning at 6am, with fighting continuing until about 6pm the same day.
The attackers are believed to be from the Mayendit and Panyijar counties in Unity state.
Authorities confirmed that 16 attackers were killed during the incident which overwhelmed county inhabitants with fear. All cattle were later recovered.
Official county spokesman Peter Makuei Tinyjok said that armed Nuer youth had attacked the Pakam community at Wunliet, about 3kms from the county headquarters. He confirmed four people were killed and another person sustained gunshot wounds.
Makuei added: "The situation is very tense in Rumbek North county."
Since military caretaker governor Major-General Matur Chut Dhuol assumed office after his predecessor was sacked by presidential decree, Rumbek North county has repulsed three separate cattle raids.
The latest attack brings the total to four, with the incident raising complex questions about the caretaker governor's tough new security reform measures and the protection of disarmed populations in the state.
Last week, Dhuol threatened to summons his counterpart in Unity before the president if he failed to control cattle raiders in his state.
Lakes state remains a flashpoint for violent cross-border cattle raids. Earlier this month, two people were injured after rustlers believed to be from Unity state raided 900 heads of cattle.
In January, Rumbek North was the scene of more violent clashes, with four people killed and two others sustaining gunshot wounds when cattle raiders also alleged to be from the neighbouring state struck.
Meanwhile, Unity state authorities have urged their counterparts in Lakes state to investigate circumstances under which over 8,000 animals were raided from Payinjiar county in November last year.
More than 10 people died and five others were wounded in the attack, carried out by a group allegedly clad in SPLA uniforms.
One of Lakes state's most remote counties Rumbek North is located about 120kms from the capital Rumbek, with poor communications making information from the region difficult to obtain.