Abyei — Three herders were killed and two others injured by South Sudanese cattle rustlers in Abyei on Saturday.
A group of South Sudanese gunmen ambushed five Misseriya tribesmen who were grazing their herds in the area of Luo near Abyei town on Saturday morning, community leader Dr Hasan Mohamed told Radio Dabanga.
Hammad Azeirig, Amin Juma, and El Taeema Jabir were killed and Ali Ajak and Hammad Bakhit were wounded in the attack. The gunmen fled, taking a large number of cows with them.
According to the community leader, the attack for the purpose cattle theft was to be expected "in the area that is devoid of government forces". He called on the government to exercise control over its territory and protect the people.
He confirmed "peaceful coexistence" between the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya communities in Abyei. "There are no skirmishes or clashes any more. The markets and border crossings are safe and secure by virtue of the agreements signed between the two parties."
Abyei is the traditional homeland of the Ngok Dinka, a tribal group with strong ethnic, cultural, and linguistic ties to the Dinka of South Sudan. Misseriya herders, members of a northern nomadic Arab tribe, seasonally traverse Abyei and other north-south border areas with their cattle in search of pasture in the dry season and to trade goods.
Abyei's rich oil reserves make the region economically desirable to both Sudan and South Sudan. The area is still contested. Resolving the status of the area is one of the essential steps the two countries need to take to ensure long-term peace in the region.