By John Actually
January 18, 2012 (BOR) - At least 85 people were killed and 33 wounded in an attack on Padiet payam [district] of Duk county in the west of Jonglei state which displaced 20,000 people on 16 January, according to Duk county commissioner Mochnom Wuor.
Among the dead in Padiet were three Murle attackers, one of whom was identified as a defector from division eight in Ayod of the South Sudan army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) said Wuor.
According to Wuor among the 34 people who sustained injuries, one man died in Juba hospital. Others injured in the attack are being treated in Bor Civil hospital.
The communities in Padiet, which is in Duk, have lost 504 heads of cattle to the Murle attackers and an unknown number of sheep and goats were stolen said Wuor.
In the attack on three villages 300 buildings were reportedly razed to the ground, including Padiet market.
Sudan Tribune counted 38 houses and 15 shops burnt, just within the town centre.
Gatluak Anyang, a merchant from Padiet, lost SSDG15,000 (US$5,600) in cash and goods worth SSDG50,000 (US$18,700) in his shop which was destroyed in the attack.
Anyang appealed to the government for financial assistance for traders in the form the of loans or grants, to allow them to re-establish their businesses, which are integral to the community.
“We had our shops burnt in 2009 by attackers led by Chibetek Mabil from Lou-Nuer [ethnic group]. Again, this time by Murle. We need the government to support us financially,” said Anyang.
The minister of law enforcement in the state, Duop Lam, who led the visiting team, called for calm in Padiet and urged people not to retaliate; a sentiment also expressed by the UN.
Lam assured them that a comprehensive disarmament in the state will be conducted soon but urged citizens not to take this ask opportunity to commit reprisal attacks on the Murle.
Wuor recounted his experience of the attack: “My bodyguard called me in and they drove me through the village to the forest where there is no road. The were still running after my car, shooting. But the driver didn’t stop till we reach Ayen –Kou.”
Wuor claimed the attacks wore various uniforms, including those of the police and the SPLA.
Calling for more food, South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission food monitor, Deng Gatluak, said his organisation has few supplies; enough to feed the displaced people for another two days.
The UN estimates that 20,000 people have been displaced by the recent violence in Jonglei state. Duk, Pibor and Uror counties have been the worst affected by the long-running inter-ethnic conflict, which has escalated in recent months.
The team that visited the area on Wednesday included, the minster for law enforcement, Gabriel Duop Lam, minister for agriculture, Mayen Ngor, two MPs from Jonglei assembly, UN Mission in South Sudan representatives and humanitarian agencies.
In another Jonglei conflict, the Pibor county commissioner, Joshua Konyi, said that conflict between the ethnic groups left 3,000 dead; a figure described as baseless by Johnson.