Four people died when they were caught in the middle of a gunfight between cattle raiders and security officers near Juba, a spokesman for the national police force said Monday.
Three of the dead were civilians and the fourth victim was a member of the South Sudanese army who was not involved in the fighting, police spokesman James Monday Enoka told a news conference.
The fighting broke out in the early hours of Sunday when suspected Murle cattle raiders attacked a livestock market in Gumbo, two kilometers (1.2 miles) outside Juba, Enoka said. The three civilians who were killed worked at the livestock market, he said.
"The criminals took [an] unspecified number of cows and according to our reports some of the criminals were injured,” he said. The police and army were able to recover some of the cattle before the raiders fled, Enoka said.
Security teams from the police and SPLA were still pursuing the raiders Monday and attempting to recover the rest of the stolen cattle.
Enoka says attempted raids on the market are common, but the police are usually able to chase the raiders away without violence. He blamed the fatalities on Sunday on the high number of illegal guns in South Sudan, an in Juba in particular.