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20 Dead in S. Sudan Clashes Over Cattle

Cattle in Warrap State, South Sudan (file photo 2009)
Cattle in Warrap State, South Sudan (file photo 2009)
At least 20 people have been killed and nine others injured in clashes between cattle rustlers and security forces in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state, officials said Thursday.

The killings were triggered when cattle raiders stole at least 750 head of cattle in a village in Ikotos County last week.

Wildlife officers, police and soldiers pursued the raiders and, in the ensuing battle, the raiders killed all the police and wildlife officers and took their guns. Two civilians and five of the attackers were also killed, according to Felix Otuduha, Information Minister for Eastern Equatoria.

A group of 150 soldiers, police and wildlife officers who were sent to apprehend the rustlers were also ambushed. Two died in the ambush and nine were injured.

Otuduha said the attacks, which took place at the weekend, marked the first time rustlers have attacked security forces. The state government was taken by surprise, he said.