Cattle raids in Abyei: witnesses
Eyewitnesses from Abyei, a contested area between South Sudan and Sudan, said that five masked men stole 28 head of cattle from Ngok Lual area about 5 kilometres from Abyei town on Sunday and took them toward Maker area. Another incident the following day reportedly involved a much larger number of cattle.
Witnesses said that two days ago perpetrators threatened shepherds with guns in Ngok Lual area and fled with the cattle toward Maker area. The witnesses further said that the incident was reported to the UN Ethiopian troops in the area, who immediately went to Maker area.
Yesterday another group of gunmen, who were said to be uniformed, broke into a cattle enclosure and made off with 300 head to the northern part of Abyei.
A considerable number of armed civilians from the area tried to follow the perpetrators but were fired on by the raiders, causing loss of life and forcing the pursuers to turn back.
In different incidents over the past several days hundreds of cattle have been reported stolen, with no follow-up or investigation by authorities. Some locals complained that the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) failed to pursue perpetrators, telling locals that they have a mandate to protect citizens, not cattle.
Photo: Cattle in Abyei, 24 February 2013 (Radio Tamazuj)