January 29, 2012 (JUBA) - At least 76 people, most of whom are the elderly, women and children, have been killed in South Sudan’s Warrap State, according to the speaker of the state. Several others are reported to have sustained multiple injuries. Hundreds of cattle are also reported to have been stolen, authorities told Sudan Tribune.
The cause of attack on villages belonging to the Luac Jang ethnic group remains unknown although authorities in Warrap State claimed the attack was carried out by an armed group from neighboring Unity state.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, Madot Dut Deng, said that the attack occurred early on Saturday in Tong East County.
The official who represents the area in the state legislative said he was told by the county commissioner that more than “76 people” had been killed with several others uncounted for.
“It caught people unaware. There are neither police nor SPLA forces in this area”, he said.
The speaker however said state authorities responding to the situation by sending extra police to the region. The wounded are being evacuated for medical care, he said.
“The incident took place in an area far away from where police forces are deployed in the area. Police are in a distance of about three hours walk from where the attack took place”, he said.
He said deputy governor has been to the area and the state governor will also visit the area on Monday. Ariec Mayar Ariec, a member of the state legislative also confirmed that the attack had taken place but he was getting different figures of the casualties.
“There have been conflicting figures. The county commissioner has reported 76 people to have been killed and the youth leader reported another. The youth leader was talking about 90 people. The local people were talking of hundred so it was difficult knowing how many have actually been killed. What I say is that it is true a lot of people have been killed”, Ariec said.
Earlier speaker Deng said his community had been disarmed leaving them vulnerable to any attack by armed groups.
“Our people have been disarmed. They do not have any weapons. This is why they have been vulnerable to such attacks by the neighboring communities who remained with their weapons”, he said.
On Saturday the Speaker of Warrap State Legislative Assembly, Madot Dut Deng, told Sudan Tribune in a separate interview that poor roads through out the state has contributed to under development and insecurity.
He said roads connecting Warrap’s counties have not been properly reconstructed since the peace deal in 2005 that led to South Sudan’s independence last year.
The speaker told Sudan Tribune from Kuajok on Saturday said that budget from the central government in Juba is only for facilitating the services of the state and the salary of the civil servants and does not include funds for building or maintaining roads.
Speaker Deng expressed that the poor roads in all the six counties of Warrap State meant that it was difficult for the army and police to respond to emergencies.
Deng claimed that the government of South Sudan gave the contract to Eyat Roads and Bridges company to work on the roads in Tonj County.
He said that the deal was done directly between Juba and the Eyat and did not involve the Warrap State Ministry of Physical Infrastructure to survey the project.
The Warrap State Speaker called on the national government in Juba to help improve the road system in terms of safety.
"We urge the government of the Republic of South Sudan to improve the roads within warrap state, so that services can be reach to the people at the grass root level, from couny, Payam, to boma level", he told Sudan Tribune from his office in Kuajok.
Deng stressed that, lack of transport also affects the activities of MPs who are expected to go to their various constituencies to talk to the people from there respective constituencies about the policy and plans of the state government.
The speaker said that the state transitional constitution has be passed by the state assembly and it is before the Ministry of Justice.
Deng also urged the National government of the Republic of South Sudan to establish special budget for the state so that services can easily be delivered in every corner of the state.
Warrap State Legislative Assembly has 48 MPs including 12 women. All MPs are members of South Sudan’s ruling SPLM. The assembly will reconvene on 1 February.