Rustlers kill three people, steal more than 5,000 cattle in Unity state

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

May 14, 2011 (JUBA) - Three men were killed, three seriously wounded and 5,800 cattle stolen in Mayom county, Unity state, on Friday by gangs suspected of coming from the neighbouring Warrap state.

Local spiritual leader and head of the Kotni cattle camp, west of Ruathnyibol, Mut Turoal told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that three men were killed and three are seriously wounded when trying to resist the civilian gangs that were equipped with RPGs, PK machine guns and AK47s.

Gatdeng said that the gangs stole the cows at around 2.00pm Sudanese local time while they were grazing. He added that over 2,000 civilians, whose cattle were taken by the gangs, are now stranded in the Ruathnyibol area without food.

Mayom commissioner, Charles Machieng Kuol, has confirmed that a number of cattle were taken by gangs from neighbouring Warrap state yesterday afternoon. Kuol added that he had already contacted the Warrap state governor advisers to discuss peace and reconciliation regarding the gangs.

Kuol said, the two states will work to crack down on these gangs by proposing the deployment of security services in the border areas. Kuol added, last month he managed to trace the gangs who left his county for Warrap state and stole cattle there, but was able to return them to their rightful owners.

Kuol dismissed claims that gangs from his state went to the neighbouring state last week to steal cattle. He urged the authorities in Warrap state to intensify the hunt for the perpetrators of all cattle rustling incidents. He added that peaceful negotiation and law enforcement is the only way to resolve the problem.

In March Unity and Warrap states agreed to deal with these gangs and to bring peace to the neighbouring states but it remains a problem.

The clashes between forces loyal to the rebel Peter Gatdet, a former Sudan People Liberation Army general in Mayom county has made the environment conducive to the activities of the gangs in the neighboring Warrap and Unity states.