Community accuses politicians of fueling cattle raids

Community accuses politicians of fueling cattle raids
Executive members of Toposa community address a press conference in Juba yesterday. [Mathiang Makuach, The City Review]

Toposa Community in Eastern Equatoria State has accused the country’s top politicians of fueling and facilitating cattle raids in areas where they have set up cattle camps.

Without revealoing the names of the said officials, the group claimed that the recent two attacks on their cattle camps were orchestrated by some people wwll known to them.

The group was addressing journalists in Juba on the recent cattle raid in Kapoeta North County allegedly carried by some armed youth from Pibor Administrative Area, Budi and Lafon counties.

Addressing the press yesterday, Paul Napwon Yonae, the chairman of the Toposa Community Union, said a large-scale attack against the Toposa in Kapoeta North County was launched on July 6, 2022, by a combined force of suspected raiders from the three areas.

He claimed that the assailants killed 14 people, injured 11 more, and stole 15,000 herds of cattle.

Yonae further claimed that more than 280 people, primarily the attackers, were confirmed dead and more bodies were still being discovered.

Napwon said the most recent assault was executed similarly to the one used by the same group of attackers to raid the Toposa cattle camp in Lokitela on June 20, 2022.

He said in that incident the raiders fled with 7,000 cattle after killing seven persons and injuring nine others.

“The two attacks on the Toposa cattle camps were facilitated by some high-profile people from elsewhere. It has never happened in our history that the surmic-speaking tribes joined forces to violently attack Toposa. This is a new trend in senseless violence,”  Yonae said.

According to him, the attack undermines the commitment to peace made by the two communities of Buya and Toposa at the Kali Communities Peace Conference held on August 9 and 10, 2021.

Yonae added that these assaults are ‘‘unequivocal evidence that the alliance of the three tribes is not intended to promote peaceful coexistence but rather conflict and instability in the area.’’

The women’s representative for the Toposa Community Union, Josephine Nakuru Ambrose, said it was regrettable and agonising to witness ongoing bloodshed among the country’s peaceful and innocent South Sudanese populations.

She said it is imperative that the politicians realise the need to have peace and ensure that nreighbouring communities coexist.

“We strongly condemn what is going on and demand a halt to such heinous atrocities on behalf of the women of the Toposa Community and Eastern Equatoria State. If it is being supported by individuals in Juba, on a national level, or by the state government, Ms. Ambrose said.

“Please, we are saying enough is enough for such killings.”