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Four killed in botched cattle raid in Abyei

Four killed in botched cattle raid in Abyei
An armed herder tends to cattle in unidentified place in South Sudan | Credit | Courtesy

An attempted cattle raid in Abyei Administrative Area has left four raiders dead and a herder injured, according to an area official.

The incident occurred on the shore of Nyimuora River located in the western part of Abyei town on Sunday morning.

“The cows had just been released for grazing when the raiders opened fire on the herders, wounding one,” said Chol Chingaak, director for peace in Abyei Administrative Area.

“And when the youth heard the sound of gunshots, they immediately picked up their firearms and went after the raiders, shooting dead four of them.”

He believed that the raiders were from the neighboring Twic County in Warrap State, a claim the commissioner rejected.

“In march this year, President Salva Kiir asked the chiefs of Twic and Ngok communities to stop fighting between themselves. Twic community have respected that. If there is anything taking place now in Abyei, it is not our youth. That could be people from other places,” Mangok Kom told Mayardit FM.

In February 2022, fighting between Ngok and Twic communities intensified and exerted territorial claim over Anet market following reports of a South Sudan-appointed Abyei administration as having deployed armed groups to carry out surveys despite calls and protests to suspend the activities.

Since then, the leaders have been trading accusations of cattle raids and revenge killing – incidents of intercommunal conflict, which have claimed about 160 lives and obstructed humanitarian aid and access.

Two months ago, a four-day peace dialogue between Ngok and Twic communities came to a conclusion without any resolutions.

During the conference, the mediators proposed four resolutions to the conflict: reopening of the road connecting the two areas, deployment of soldiers and creation of a buffer zone in Aneet, cessation of hostilities and return of allies that are supporting the two communities.

However, representatives of the two communities at the conference — which was held in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State — disagreed on deployment of SSPDF soldiers and creation of buffer zone in Aneet, the contested area.