UNMISS on confidence building mission in Twic following spate of cattle raids
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has intensified its confidence building visits in the Twic area following recent hostilities in that left at least 22 people dead, thousands displaced, and several villages burnt down.
The May 28 early morning cattle raids mostly affected Turalei, one of the six counties of Twic, with more than 15,000 heads of cattle stolen by the attackers.
“If there is no intervention from the government, I cannot tell them because it is their duty,” said Joseph Ring, a camp team leader in Pandit-Amuol who indicated that they were feeling secure because of fear of another attack.
“It’s their duty to protect civilians so they should think when to intervene to protect the civilians, but it’s not my duty to tell them what to do,” said Ring, adding that once there was security and protection for the people, they would return to their villages to cultivate their farms during this farming season.
The UNMISS confidence building team from the mission’s Kuajok Field Office, headed by the Civil Affairs Division, visited affected areas including Burgik and Dea in Turalei county, which are completely abandoned by the residents.
Other villages abandoned by the residents include Wunchum, Charma, Agorkou, Acheuk, Mangok, macteng, Wunmeth, Agel, Adhoudhic, Alorthieal, Malou, Manmyiel, Wunliet, Angot, and Biltong.
People who fled those areas are currently sheltered under trees or sleeping with family members in limited spaces. Scattered across the Twic area, most of them are found in Pandit and Ayen Amoul in Turalei county.
They told UNMISS confidence building team that now they can only go and fetch food during the day from their abandoned villages but are unable to stay there due to insecurity.
33-year-old Bona Malual from Wunchum village, now seeking refuge in Pandit-Amoul, urged the national Government to search and find the perpetrators of the recent cattle raids and bring them to justice as quickly as possible. “What I will tell the government is they must bring soldiers to Toch to protect anyone who wants to go back to cultivate their farms because this is the time for cultivation and if we all run all the time it will be hard for someone to survive next year.”
Ayien-Amuol Executive Chief Joseph Manyin Majok called upon UNMISS and humanitarian partners to move in and provide much needed humanitarian assistance to people who are currently displaced as a result of the May 28 cattle raids in the Twic area. “We are appealing to NGOs to provide assistance to the affected communities because they are now in the situation where they do not have mosquito nets, medicines and food because their cattle camps were raided on May 28, and their cattle looted, and homes burnt down,” the Ayen Amoul Executive Chief lamented.
Meanwhile Twic area Deputy Governor Mario Ajak Akuei pledged his government’s commitment to bringing back the raided cattle to the rightful owners. He said that the government was in communications with its sister authorities in Northern Leach to ensure this happened.
“Our governor Hon. Atem Madut Yaak is working very hard with the governor of Northern Leach state to return the stolen cattle to the owners,” said Governor Ajak Akuei, adding, “The only things that they will not get are their shelters that were burnt and some other small property that were looted, including clothing, chairs, food, and some that were burnt inside the houses, and that will be the challenge.”