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Magwi County demands protection as nomads leave trails of killings

Photo shows cattle driven through villages

By Simon Deng

Authorities in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria are demanding protection the State and Central governments after trails of killings and vandalism by cattle keepers.

The cattle keepers from Jonglei first flocked the area as a result of insecurity in their areas.

Continued insecurity as a result of raids and floods set in more exodus into the Equatoria region where they have set up camps for hundreds of thousands of cattle.

Eastern Equatoria is mainly a farming State with no pastureland for cattle.

The presence of the animals has therefore been a source of clashes between the nomads and farmers.

“As a county, we are actually looking for the protection because it is actually beyond the control of the county government,” Oto David, the County Commissioner for Magwi told Juba Echo by phone.

An attack last week in the remote areas of Agoro, Nyolo, Wire, Chomboro, Abara and Ayii-Kit was witnessed by random shooting at people, Oto said.

Two people were killed in Ayii-Kit on Tuesday, an attack on Wednesday left seven people dead and clashes between cattle keepers and a group of raiders on February 27 allegedly left 20 people dead and several houses burnt down.

“What we want is good relations,” Oto said.

“Right now, it needs the army to move to these villages.”

Reached by phone, the Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth first described it as a normal situation in the country before quickly adding that the government will look into the issue.

“These are normal. This is not the first time for such clashes to happen in the whole of South Sudan, these are clashes that had been happening and South Sudan is there to make sure that they are resolved,” Lueth told Juba Echo.

“We are in the process of resolving all these disputes not only in Magwi but all over South Sudan. We are quite aware of clashes that are happening in other places, we are in the process and we are trying our level best to have all these things resolved,” he said.

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