20 October 2013

South Sudan: Over 40 Killed, Dozens Wounded in South Sudan Attack

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
People displaced by clashes in South Sudan’'s Jonglei state wait for food distribution in Pibor.

Bor — At least 41 people were killed and 46 wounded in a deadly South Sudan attack by suspected David Yau Yau rebels and Murle tribesmen, officials said Sunday

The attackers who were reportedly dressed in green military uniforms struck three cattle camps around Paleu and Maar in Ajuong and Pageer payams respectively.

"The attack started this morning at 7 am and is still going on now", said Twic East Commissioner, Dau Akoi, speaking by phone from Panyagoor on Sunday morning.

Commissioner Akoi said the injured were rushed by a World Food Programme (WFP) flight to Bor hospital adding that they had bone fractures while some had life threatening wounds on their chests and heads.

He described the attack as "worst of all" saying the three cattle camps were attacked simultaneously.

The militia, according to eyewitnesses, burnt houses sending locals scampering for safety in swampy water where some children and women are suspected to have drowned.

According to the Twic East Commissioner, many women and children are missing with early reports suggesting six children had been abducted by the attackers.

South Sudan Red Cross says 20 wounded people were airlifted to Bor on Sunday and many more are expected in due course.

"Some children, elderly people and women ran toward the swampy areas and we fear that they may drown," said David Gai, a Red Cross official in Jonglei state.

By the time of filing this story, reports about the attack which occurred in a remote area were still trickling in. The number of those killed, injured and missing is likely to become clearer when the police, army and aid agencies reach the attacked villages.

The state minister for local government said he was making arrangements to get cars and the fuel needed to transport police to the area.

But even then there are fears it could take the police several hours to reach the villages due to the bad condition of the road.

The police and the army allegedly failed to respond to the affected villages on time even when locals passed information to them about the presence of the militias early Sunday morning.

The number of cattle looted by the attackers has been put at about 50,000. It was, however, not possible to independently verify this figure.

Three months ago, the same area was attacked by raiders who made off with herds of cattle from Alelei camp, killing seven people in the process.

David Yau Yau rebels are mainly active in Jonglei's Pibor country. The rebel force is mostly made up of Murle fighters.

Early this month, a senior official within the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the government was in direct talks with the rebel leader in an apparent bid to end the almost two-year conflict, which has claimed over 100,000 lives and uprooted scores of people from their homes.

In April, President Salva Kiir offered an amnesty to six militia groups irrespective of the crimes they had committed while fighting against the government.

Some of the militia leaders and their fighters have since abandoned rebellion and benefited from the presidential amnesty but not David Yau Yau.

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