Several officers of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) were on Monday confirmed dead after clashes with armed cattle raiders over the weekend in Warrap state.
Riing Deng Adiing, Warrap State Minister of Information, said the deadly violence erupted on Saturday in Rualbet Payam after soldiers pursued armed youth from Awan Parek community who had raided 125 heads of cattle in Aliek Payam of Tonj North County.
He told The Juba Echo that 18 soldiers from the disarmament forces got killed during the fire exchange with the armed youth.
In addition, Adiing revealed that seven youth were killed during the clashes that lasted until Sunday.
“We don’t know the number of wounded people but this will soon be confirmed,” he said.
Sources that spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that among the dead soldiers included, Lt. Col Akec Ciman Paac, the military chief of intelligence division 11, Maj. Santino Kuot Kuotdit SSPDF division 11 military chief for operation and Kuol Agok, the former Mayen Jur County Commissioner.
Bak Ajuot, Acting Commissioner of Tonj North County confirmed the incident, adding that bodies of the dead SSPDF soldiers were lying scattered in the bushes.
“The armed youth attacked the army who were recovering raided cattle from Aliek payam, the number of the dead soldiers I am aware of is 14,” Ajuot said.
“We got this information from soldiers who came to Warrap headquarters, so it is difficult to know the number of soldiers and armed youth wounded in the fighting because nobody is there in Rualbet even the payam administrator is here with us,” he added.