Hussein Mar Nyuot
February 9, 2011 (JUBA) – Armed youth from Murle community in the volatile Jonglei state have surprisingly carried out deadly coordinated attacks on remote villages of Lou-Nuer community as the region emerges independent from the North following the overwhelming vote for secession which was officially announced on February 7.
Hundreds of so-called SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] youth armed by the Jonglei state authority, under the supervision of Brig. Gen. Joshua Kony, to fight the rebelled former SPLA General George Athor Deng, were suspected to have turned their guns against the Lou-Nuer vulnerable civilian populations, according to officials.
A delegation of senior officials and intellectuals from Lou-Nuer led by the minister of Information in the Government of Southern Sudan, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, and the deputy Governor of Jonglei state, Hussein Mar Nyuot, held talks with the leadership of the government in Juba on Wednesday to find ways of providing security to the populations while avoiding any retaliatory attacks.
Also other Murle armed youth of Kongor section of Nanam River were also confirmed to have taken part in the offensive, according to Uror county Commissioner Tut Puok Nyang, in a statement he issued on Southern Sudan TV in Juba.
In the surprise attack, several heads of cattle were stolen during the Sunday attack in Pamai village where a chief and his deputy and several cattle-keepers lost their lives while others were seriously wounded.
Nyang told the press in Juba that about 800 cattle were stolen by the rustlers.
“In a rescue attempt, the chief, his deputy and several others were gunned down. The attack was confirmed to have been carried out by Murle youth of Kongor section of Nanam River”, he said.
“The youth who were heavily armed started roaming the Lou counties of Uror, Akobo and Nyirol in November 2010 where they stole cattle, killed people and abducted children from mostly disarmed populations”.
At the same press conference, the Akobo County Commissioner Goi Jooyul condemned the attack, which is the first of its kind in the state, following the referendum on independence.
He said that 700 heads of cattle were stolen at Pak village in an attack that left two people dead.
“Patueat village lost 1,000 cows and three men were killed on January 25 while two other men were killed and a similar number of children abducted in Bong Payam of Akobo County”, said Jooyul.
The two commissioners have called upon the Government of Southern Sudan to intervene by deploying the police to protect the civilians as well as disarming the marauding Murle youth roaming Jonglei counties.
Officials fear that the resumption of inter-communal conflicts may reintroduce a cycle of violence in Jonglei; a state well known for insecurity between communities and rebelled army officers such as General George Athor Deng and Gen. David Yauyau.