EASTERN EQUATORIA- Recent cattle raids in Kapoeta North County have led to hundreds of deaths and even more people being injured. In response, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the government of Eastern Equatoria State have visited the area to engage with the affected communities, reduce tensions and find out why the violence has occurred.
“I urge you, the chiefs, to carry the message of peace to the youth, requesting them to shun violence, because conflict hinders peace and development,” said Francis Shuei Dieu, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.
Following the cattle raids, injured youths are receiving medical treatment in the counties of Kapoeta North and Budi.
“The situation of some of these wounded youths is critical. I request humanitarian partners to urgently evacuate them to Juba for better treatment. Even their mere presence here is a threat to our community, as we may be subjected to revenge attacks targeting them,” said Akileo Mboya Peter, Budi’s County Commissioner.
More than 15,000 cattle are reported to have been stolen during the raids in the area, leaving the affected communities very concerned as they rely on their animals for their livelihoods.
“Immediately after the attack, our youth tried to pursue the raiders. When we arrived, we could only count the many lives we had lost,” said Epone Emmanuel Lolimo, Commissioner of Kapoeta North County. “We need the cows to be returned, because the livelihoods of our people depend on them.”
Joseph Kabaka, Chairperson of Eastern Equatoria State’s Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Commission, says the government will do what it can to restore peace and order.
“We are here to find facts on the ground. We urge the communities of Kapoeta North to give the government adequate time to resolve the issues,” he said.