Cattle ravage farms in South Sudan-now farmers brace for extreme hunger

By Tapeng Michael Ohure

In South Sudan’s Kajo Keji county of Central Equatoria State, cattle are busy eating from people’s farms and the farmers dare not stop them.

County officials are warning the destruction on the farms will lead to extreme hunger.

Two cattle camps with thousands of cattle are still active in Kajo Keji and the authorities are demanding the cattle herders leave the county immediately to save the little food remaining on the farms.

“All those months they were actually within the farm lands until we had to push them slowly until we lost the right cultivation season,” Kajo-Keji Commissioner Gale Erastos told Juba Echo by phone.

“All the people that cultivated their crops have been destroyed. These are the damages that the cattle have caused,” Erastos said.

Erastos warned that the effects of the destruction will be felt far into the next cultivation season.

According to Moro Genesio, the Minister of Local Government in Kajo Keji, the cattle keepers subdue the farmers with superior arms.

“These cattle keepers are armed so the local communities feel threatened,” Genesio said.

“If any small conflict triggers between the cattle keepers and the local community, it means people will be brutalized and that is why the government is protecting the civilians to ensure their safety,” he said.

Those cattle keepers are from Bor in Jonglei and Terekeka.

They have so far defied decrees by President Salva Kiir demanding cattle keepers leave Equatoria land, and as well from Central Equatoria to evict them.

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