Violent clashes that erupted on Tuesday in South Sudan’s Twic state killed dozens of people, local officials say.
Atem Madut Yak, Twic state governor, told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that at least 22 people from his state died during the clashes in several areas in Twic state.
“About 22 people were killed in the clashes. The attacks that continued from morning until evening were carried out by armed criminals from Northern Liech state,” Governor Atem said.
He further said many families have fled their homes after the clashes. However, he said the security situation returned to normal.
The top state official urged the army to create a buffer zone between the two states.” I call upon the military to intervene to control the situation,” he said.
“I talked to my counterpart and United Nations officials so that we hold a meeting over the issue. I also called upon my people here to remain calm,” he added.
Meanwhile Michael Mayot, the information minister in Twic state, confirmed at least 22 people including two women from Twic state were killed and 18 others injured.
“A commander for Malualdit military barracks called Marko Mathiang was also killed in the attacks,” he said.
Mayot, who is also the stat government spokesman, pointed out that the attackers made away with more than 3,000 cows.
On his part, Northern Liech’s information minister Lam Tungwar said at least four people from Northern Liech state were killed and four others injured during yesterday’s fighting.
According to Tungwar, the clashes between armed civilians from the two states were caused by cattle theft incidents. He explained that armed men from Northern Liech state went and attacked remote cattle camps in Twic State on Tuesday after armed civilians from Twic state stole their cows last week.
“It is not true that the commander of the Special Force, Gen. Mathew Pujjang sent his troops to fight in Twic state. We are working together with the government of Twic state to find a solution to the problem,” he said.
Tungwar, who is also the state government spokesman, emphasized the need to control cattle raiders from Northern Liech and Twic states.
Cattle raids have claimed thousands of lives in South Sudan since independence in 2011.Cattle are a main source of wealth for many communities.