South Sudan

Murle gunmen attack Jonglei county of Duk

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17 January 2012 – At least 50 people died and over 30 were injured during an attack against residents of Duk Padiet village in Jonglei State in the late afternoon of 16 January.

Jonglei Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk told reporters in the state capital of Bor that the attack was carried out by Murle tribesmen to avenge a series of raids by Lou Nuer youths against Murle communities in Pibor County last month. Duk County is a predominantly Dinka area of Jonglei State, and the column of armed Lou Nuer youths who entered Pibor County in December is believed to have included members of the Dinka ethnic group.

The attack on Duk Padiet began at 4:30 p.m. on Monday when an estimated 200 to 300 men in green uniforms overran a small contingent of police officers stationed in the village. A local market was razed to the ground, another 300 huts were set alight and about 500 cattle were stolen.

One of the dead is believed to have been one of the raiders.

UNMISS dispatched 33 armed peacekeepers based in Upper Nile State to the village within hours of the attack and evacuated 27 wounded civilians to Bor and the national capital of Juba for additional medical treatment, according to UNMISS acting Jonglei State Coordinator Felicita Keiru. “The mission acted so fast,” said Ms. Keiru.

A platoon of peacekeepers remained overnight in the stricken village to restore calm and protect survivors of the attack.

Many of the victims were children who were shot or hacked by panga-wielding assailants as they tried to flee the village. A nine-year-old boy named Moses Minyang Biel was wounded in his left hand as he was escorting his grandmother to a nearby reservoir to fetch water.

“I was trying to carry some luggage when they shot me at a close range and left me on the ground, thinking that I was dead.” Moses said.

Another survivor, 42-year-old traffic policeman Mawud Deng Majok, was shot in the back but managed to find refuge in the bush outside the village. “They were shooting at me, and then I responded by shooting at them,” said Mr. Majok as he waited to be evacuated to Bor. “I was taken away by my friends to a safe place. Many people were killed.”

Duk County Commissioner Elijah Monynom Wor said that two battalions of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army were withdrawn one week before the attack. He estimated the number of displaced at between 7,000 and 10,000, adding that many children were reported still missing.