Dozens of people were killed in South Sudan in what officials say was a reprisal attack for the abduction of eight women and the theft of 174 head of cattle in Unity state.
The deadly clashes occurred Wednesday, when a group of young men from Payinjiar County in Unite state raided Thou cattle camp outside Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state.
The men from Unity state were looking for the abducted women and stolen cattle, but Abraham Mayen Kuc, the Rumbek Central county commissioner, told local media the people working in Thou camp were not involved in the abductions or cattle thefts.
Twenty-one of the victims were from Unity state and 10 were from Lakes state, officials said.
Cattle rustling is common in South Sudan, but Payinjiar commissioner Simon Chuol Biel said the abductions were the first he has heard of in the area.
“When raiders come to our county, they don’t touch anything apart from
cattle, but it was my big surprise when I heard that they took eight
women with them,” he said.
The women and cattle, whose abduction and theft triggered the fighting, are still missing.