June 19, 2021 — Latest reports from Ayod county alleged that a group of armed youth from Murle community have attacked areas in Ayod county on Thursday, and attempted to raid cattle and abduct women and children
According to Ayod county press secretary, Gatmai Meat Machar, who spoke on behalf of the commissioner, Hon. James Chuol Jiek Bol, a heavy attack was launched in Tuok and Pajiek payams of Ayod county.
“With regret and great concern, we would like to inform the general public and the people of Ayod County in particular that a huge number of Murle youths attacked Tuok area of Ayod County yesterday afternoon and raised thousands herd of cattle which were later recovered” Gatmai Machar said.
According to Gatmai, Gawaar Youth engaged the attackers and managed to recover their cattle
“The raiders divided the cattle into three different groups, the cattle in the first group were recovered few hours after the raid, the cattle in the second group were recovered after several clashes and the cattle in the last group were recovered late in the evening after several heavy clashes” He continued.
He believes that all the cattle have been recovered and returned to owners by the local youth but Gatmai could not verify the number of casualties at the time of this writing.
“All the cattle were recovered successfully, the number of casualties is not yet confirmed though one person was confirmed dead from the onslaught of the attack, we will keep you informed once we get the details” Gatmai said.
“The raiders incurred heavy losses and surrendered several weapons to the Youths” He added.
Speaking to the commissioner of Ayod county from Juba, Mr. Jiek condemned the attack and commended Gawaar youth for defending vulnerable citizens, especially children and women.
“I applaude the unity, courage, commitment and the bravery displayed by the youths and urged them to continue being vigilant and prepare themselves well to fight in self- defense should such aggression from suspected Murle youth continue on their areas” Chuol said.
The commissioner further acknowledged the need for self-defense but also called on the youth not to carry out revenge on Murle areas.
Although there has been relative peace between Gawaar and Murle community, latest United Nations Security Council reports indicated that Gawaar youth and other youth groups from Jonglei State marched on Pibor in May to recover their cattle that were raided by the Murle.
“Subnational violence in Jonglei saw an escalation in violence in early May, when allied Gawaar Nuer and Dinka from Ayod, Uror and Duk marched into the Greater Pibor Administrative Area to retrieve cattle raided by the Murle.” The UNSC stated in a report released 4 days ago, June 14, 2021.
“Gumuruk town was destroyed, specifically markets, schools and international non-governmental organization (NGO) facilities. An estimated 68 people were killed and 27 injured. These dynamics represent a setback that may undermine ongoing inter-ethnic peace processes” unsc report continued.
In addition to insecurity caused by the larger conflict and inter-communal feuds, Ayod county is also battling a devastating flood that has displaced hundred of thousands of people and killed herds of cattle.