At least three herders were killed and 700 heads of cattle raided in Cueibet County of Lakes State at the weekend, an official has said.
Two of the deceased were cattle owners from Tonj East County, Warrap State, had had entered the neighboring state in search of pasture and water, according to the state minister of information.
The deceased cattle owners were identified as Makek Anyathjam, 35; Makuer Thuc, 30; and one cattle raider authorities are yet to name.
William Wol Mayom said two more people – Machuil Dut and Chol Mading – went missing since in the Saturday attack.
“We are working very hard so that the cattle can be returned to the rightful owners. So, my message to the community is to leave the case to the two state governments to handle it,” Wol told Mayardit FM.
For his part the Minster for Information in Lakes State, William Koji, confirmed the incident, but said the concerned authorities were looking into the matter.
“We are aware of the matter and now the government is working to arrest the cattle raiders and return the animals to their rightful owners,” Koji said on Tuesday.
Cattle raiding has a long history in South Sudan. However the vast supply of small arms in civilian hands has led to raids becoming more violent in recent years.
Observers argue that in remote areas the South Sudan Police lack the capacity to protect communities and so many cattle herders keep arms to defend themselves.