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MAYOM - 11 Mar 2013

SPLA clashes with cattle raiders in Mayom

South Sudan’s army clashed with cattle raiders in Unity State on Monday morning, according to the state government spokesman. He said both the raiders and the soldiers who pursued them were based in Mayom County in the northwest of the state.

“This morning SPLA forces in Mayom clashed with the cattle raiders who had gone to raid cattle from Ajakwaj in Warrap County,” said Unity State Minister of Information Joseph Arop.

The minister told Radio Tamazuj that the raiders had left from Unity State’s Mayom County to Warrap State’s Twic County where they raided cattle from Ajakwaj area. After they had crossed back into Mayom the army reportedly pursued them and clashed with them, recovering 41 head of cattle while one cow was killed in the crossfire during the fighting.

Confirming the clashes, Mayom County Commissioner John Bol said that 41 cattle were recovered from the criminals and are now in the hands of the government. He condemned the act committed by the raiders from his county.

The commissioner added that he believes there are still more cows that were raided. He said he cannot confirm the total number of cattle raided nor the number of casualties thus far. But he expected the recovery operation to continue.

Bol pledged that his government will do all it can to fight the raiders: “We are planning to hand over all the cattle under our custody to Warrap soon. Our forces are still chasing the criminals.”

Authorities in Warrap State could not immediately be reached for comment.

Peter Dak Khan, an MP in the state legislature representing Mayom, observed that Unity State had been engaged in peace efforts with neighboring communities but the recommendations of recent conferences had not been implemented.

“Good recommendations have been put forward by the peace conferences made between these border states but there has been no enforcement,” said Khan. “We need a strong enforcement mechanism in place and all governments should be committed to its implementation.”

The legislator proposed that there should be established a panel of courts that will solve disputes related to inter-state cattle raiding.