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Sudan Nomads Suspected in Deadly South Sudan Raids

  • Bonifacio Taban

Arab nomads from Sudan are suspected in the latest violent attacks in South Sudan, which claimed three lives and saw more than 700 head of cattle stolen. (AP)
Three people were killed and several more were missing or wounded in attacks on South Sudanese communities, allegedly carried out by Arab tribesmen from Sudan, local officials said Thursday.

Suspected Arab tribesmen from Southern Kordofan in Sudan killed two people and stole grain, camels and donkeys in an attack on a village in Parieng county, in Unity state, local lawmaker Peter Makuach Demiabek said.

“They found that the cattle were not around... that is why they decided to kill people and take the grain," Demiabek said, adding that two villagers were missing after the raids.

In a separate incident, Misseriya nomads from Southern Kordofan were suspected of being behind an attack on a cattle camp in Mayom county, also in Unity state, in which one person was killed and three wounded, local lawmaker Peter Dak Khan said.

Some 745 head of cattle were stolen in that raid, he added, calling on the Misseriya to return the cattle to restore peace in the two communities.

The South Sudanese Nuer and the Misseriya from Sudan signed several agreements last year, stipulating that the Arab nomads are allowed to freely graze cattle and conduct trade in Unity state, and that any stolen livestock must be returned to its owners.

The raids in Unity state are the latest in a spate of deadly violence, both north and south of the border, involving the theft of livestock.

This week, the U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, pledged U.S. help to try to stop the cattle raids, which have claimed more than 100 lives since the start of the year.

Cattle raids have riven east Africa, including once-unified Sudan, for decades. But the attacks became more deadly after the civil war in Sudan, which ended in 2005, brought an influx of firearms to the region.