South Sudan

Nyaluak Deng Awuol, "This child, who will look after him now?"

News and Press Release
Originally published

JUBA, 23 January 2012 (IRIN) - Nyaluak Deng Awuol is caring for her orphaned nephew, five-year-old Ajai Mawut Garang, who is recovering from a gunshot wound in Juba hospital. He was injured along with dozens more in the latest revenge attack in South Sudan's Jonglei state, which the government said killed more than 80 people in the town of Duk Padiet, Duk County.

Government and UN forces have failed to quell the ethnic violence that has reached a dramatic peak in recent weeks as a militia of up to 8,000 youths from the Lou Nuer, joined by some Dinka, attacked the minority Murle, exacting revenge for a long-standing vendetta over cattle that has turned increasingly deadly [ ].

Aid agencies and authorities in the newly independent nation, whose euphoric birth just six months ago united the nation after decades of civil war with Sudan, are increasingly concerned at the violent nature of attacks that have left mainly women, children and the elderly among the dead and injured as they could not run from attackers. Nyaluak Deng Awuol spoke to IRIN about her experience:

"This child is my sister's. She was killed in the attack with her other three children.

"The Murle came and attacked the people. When they attacked, we escaped while they killed all the others.

"They shot people with guns and killed people with knives. When they shoot someone and they are still alive, they have to finish them with a knife.

"I have seen many people die, including my sister. "Those with children were killed. If you had three to four children, you could not run fast. Those without children could run faster, so those with several children died, and the old people.

"I found my sister dead and this one child alive.

"His mother had been killed with three children, and when I went looking for them, this one was still alive and sitting up, looking for someone.

"The village has been burnt down and the people have been scattered. Even until now some people cannot be traced - it is a very big trouble.

"They have killed people and they have stolen herds of cattle. "There is no protection - people in the village do not have guns, so they [attackers] just came in and killed people and took everything. "Those who attacked Duk Padiet are Murle army - they are the soldiers wearing the green uniform; it is revenge.

"The ones who remain will die with anger. Some of them have even had their clothes taken. "People from my village are too weakened to [take] revenge. So many are dead. It is up to the government to think and act now. "But this child, who will look after him now?"