28 killed in South Sudan during attempted cattle raids

Flag of South Sudan with flare and dark blue sky

Twenty-eight people have been killed during attempted cattle raids in the north of South Sudan, a security official said on Tuesday.

The attacks occurred on Sunday and Monday in Leer county in Unity state, Leer county commissioner Stephen Taker said.

The attackers were young men from the neighbouring areas of Mayendit and Koch counties, he told AFP.

“They came and attacked our position. Ten people on our side have already died,” he said, adding that they were young shepherds and a woman.

“On their side, 18 people have died.”

Reverend Stephen Kulang Jiech, of the Leer Presbyterian church, said the attacks started late Sunday and continued until Monday morning. They then picked up again on Monday afternoon.

Leer county was one of the epicenters of the humanitarian crisis that emerged out of the 2013-2018 civil war, ravaged by violence as well as a famine.

That conflict, which pitted now-President Salva Kiir against his rival and current Vice President Riek Machar killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.

The country of 11 million has struggled to maintain a volatile peace in the years since the 2018 peace accords.

At least 72 civilians were killed between February 17 and April 7 in Leer county, the United Nations has said, as interethnic violence rocks the oil-rich region.

The world’s youngest nation has been wracked by instability since its founding in 2011, with the UN warning earlier this year that the country risks a return to conflict.