Armed herders attack Chomboro Boma in Magwi

By Taban Henry

Huge number of people has been displaced and one wounded after cattle keepers attacked an area known as Chomboro boma of Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria State on Wednesday.

Last month local authorities in Magwi County reported a high influx of cattle in the area and warned of possible conflict between local farmers and Nomadic pastoralist.

Earlier last week the governor Louis Lobong Lojore revealed plans to initiate dialogue between pastoralists, mostly believed to have come from Jonglei State and the communities in Magwi County.

This was revealed after the governor paid a visit to Magwi County to assess the areas occupied by cattle keepers and pledged that his government will hold dialogue between the cattle keepers and pastoralists.

Two years ago local authorities in Magwi County demanded that cattle be evacuated from the area after a local Chief was killed and three youth disappeared and called for the government intervention to diffuse simmering tensions between the farmers and the pastoralists.

Speaking to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper via telephone, Okee Joseph Oryem Juma who is the Chief Executive officer in Agoro payam of Magwi County confirmed the shooting saying it was perpetrated by the armed cattle herders present in Magwi County.

“The incident started on Monday when a group of cattle keepers went in a large number in a Boma called Chomboro and arrested all the people from the village and threatened to shoot people not until some elders from the area pleaded to them on that day they left people and they went back” Oryem said.

The Executive chief mentioned that on Wednesday at around 3-4 PM the cattle herders reorganized themselves and went to Chomboro and started firing on people leaving a boy who was bathing in a shelter wounded adding that people have started evacuating the area heading to Magwi town seeking for safety.

“People are starting to escape for safety to Magwi as a result of threat that has been imposed on them by the armed cattle herders. The very Monday it started in Nyolo Boma along Juba-Nimule highway some women went for gold mining and on their way they met with the cattle keepers who wanted to rape them after these women started making an alarm they threatened to shoot at them but after seeing other two girls running they ended up leaving the other two women” he added.

Oryem stressed that people are staying in the areas of post Mangat – Nyolo bridge as a result of continues harassment and threats imposed on the inhabitants of these two areas.

He added that the situation in the three areas is dire as most people who escaped to Magwi are sheltering under big trees adding that they escaped without any food for them to eat.

“Elder people escaping are still struggling to reach the area meanwhile I am sheltering here in Nyolo near the barrack so that in case of any attempt of attack from the cattle keepers I will run to the nearby barrack” he explained.

Oryem is calling on the national and the state governments to help the County authorities relocate the cattle keepers who he said are threatening the lives of people living in the areas.

“Most people who went to the camps have returned to the area but are again being threatened by the invasion of the cattle keepers in the area and others have decided to be going back to the camps.  I am worried if this people continue to stay in the areas most people will evacuate the areas like what happened during the clashes caused by the SPLM-IO” the Executive Chief revealed.

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