Bentiu raiders voluntarily return over 300 cattle
By Sheila Ponnie
Cattle raiders in Bentiu of Unity State have voluntarily returned 351 heads of cattle after an intervention by the High-Level Committee set by President Salva Kiir to address rampant inter-communal conflict sprawling within the country.
The cattle were voluntarily handed by the raiders to the committee last week before they were returned to their rightful owners, Moses Dak William, Secretary-General of Unity State told the media.
Dak said the 113 cattle were handed over to the High-Level Committee in Koch village two weeks ago after the committee witnessed the recovery of 110 cattle.
“Last week we started in Yedu where some of the cattle that were raided in Dup County were recovered.
“We also took some of the cattle to Rubkuna County where the head of the committee followed them and collected 128 heads of cattle that were given back to the owners,” he said.
Dak made the remarks last weekend during the visit of the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs to Unity State.
The Secretary-General told the media that the return of the raided cattle resulted in a stable security situation and absence of cattle-related skirmishes in Bentiu.
He added that the committee also reported that they have recovered 38 more cattle from the raiders saying, he was going to transport them during the weekend.
“So the situation in Bentiu is now calm, nothing has been heard about cattle raiding and nothing has been heard about revenge killing. So everything has come back to normal,” Dak explained.
Dak acknowledged that recovering the heads of cattle was a mammoth task but they tried to do all they can to reclaim some of the cattle and hand them back to the owners.
“The task was not that easy, first of all, we try in a very polite way with the Native Chiefs help to call some of the cattle raiders because of their familiarity with the indigenous authority and some of them voluntarily returned the cattle.”
But not all cattle raiders subscribing to such an approach. Dak said some groups remained adamant to return the cattle, forcing authorities to employ other measures.
“If we know the person involved in cattle raiding as someone who will not accept to return the raided cattle voluntarily, then we take other measures.
“In case we know where he stays, we go to where he is and we seize the cattle from him and that is one of the measures we use and afterward we take him to court,” the Secretary-General said.