At least four people have been reportedly killed and three others injured during a cattle recovery mission in Mayom County, Unity State.
On Wednesday last week, cattle rustlers raided 2500 heads of cattle at Malou grazeland in Twic County, Warrap State. The attackers allegedly came from the neighboring Mayom.
But as part of the deal to end cattle raiding, each state ensures that stolen animals are returned to the rightful owners.
As a result, Mayom County authorities — after they were alerted over the raid — had the rustlers waylaid in an attempt to retrieve the animals, resulting in the gunfight.
The security forces managed to recover 175 heads of cattle, said Bol Mayak, Mayom County Commissioner, adding that a soldier was killed and three others injured in the process. The other three were rustlers.
“The remaining cattle must be searched because no one can comply with the criminals,” Mayak told Mayardit FM on Wednesday.
In response, Twic County Commissioner, Mangok Kom, confirmed the recovery of the animals, saying they were handed over to their rightful owners Sunday and and Wednesday this week.
“This shows that cooperation between Twic and Mayom counties is healthy. And it is also a sense of responsibility, because cattle theft cannot be entertained by the government,” a happy Kom stated.
One of the cattle owners, Jiel Ring Akuei, expressed happing after identified 11 out of the 150 cattle.
“Otherwise, I did not know that my cows were going to return through government efforts,” said the 45-year-old owner.
“I thank the governments for the cooperation between them. This is what we citizens have been yearning for from the government.”
Cattle rustling is often attributed to high bride prices, given the fact that South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Only few families can afford to raise between 30 to 100 heads of cattle. Many men, who are unable to meet the demands, engage in cattle raids, according to reports.
Subsequently, cycles of raids and retaliatory counter-raids between communities sow the seeds of resentment that allow armed youth to be mobilized rapidly by political leaders.