Eastern Equatoria may be forced into aggressive response to cattle influx: Lobong

Governor Lobong in a recent visit to a cattle camp in Magwi of Eastern Equatoria

Tapeng Michael Ohure

Eastern Equatoria may be forced to respond aggressively to the influx of cattle in the State if the national army fails to address the insecurity its causing, governor Louis Lobong Lojore, said.

An attack on Wednesday in Magwi county instigated by the presence of cattle left seven people dead.

This comes after reports suggesting clashes between the area people and cattle keepers in recent days.

The cattle keepers entering the State with their animals are mainly from Jonglei State.

“We call upon the cattle keepers from Jonglei to stop harassment, killing of innocent people, and to immediately return to their places of origin in Jonglei state,” Lobong told journalists on Thursday.

 said.

Speaking to journalists in Eastern Equatoria on Thursday, governor Louis Lobong condemned the attack on the civilians and called for an end to the violence. 

“We call upon the national government to order the South Sudan Defense Forces to intervene and save the lives and properties of the people in Eastern Equatoria State and ensure the immediate return of cattle herders to their places of origin,” he said.

“We will continue to call for these people to go, time will come where these people will go. If the national government does not respond we will then see as a state to mobilize ourselves and mobilize the youth in Eastern Equatoria to protect and defend the people of Magwi.”

The 7 people were reportedly killed when alleged cattle keepers attacked Abara and Ayii-Kit Bomas of Iwire Payam in Magwi County.

Lobong said five people were killed on Wednesday evening, an unknown number of houses torched and thousands displaced from Abara Boma.

Several houses were also burnt down, he said.

Two other people were killed and one injured in Ayii-Kit Boma on Tuesday.

Lobong said the people of Magwi County continue to be harassed, intimidated, beaten, and killed by cattle keepers creating fear among communities and displacing them to live in harsh conditions. 

Ochola Bosco, Magwi county youth leader said 82 houses were burnt to the ground and many people displaced from their homes.

Bosco called on the state government to protect the people of Magwi and their property, saying the situation remains volatile.

“My cry to our government of Eastern Equatoria state is that we need forces that can protect our community,” he stated. 

Joseph Atube, the chief of Ayii-Kit Boma in Iwire payam said the security situation has deteriorated.

Clashes between cattle keepers and cattle raiders reportedly left an estimated 20 people dead in Magwi County on Sunday last week.

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