By Adia Jildo
The community of Lokiliri of Juba County has questioned the slow response of the government against the armed herders who have been terrorizing farming communities in the Equatoria region as they buried the latest eight people murdered by the cattle herders.
Somme Laku a resident of Lokiliri and a mourner said the presence of cattle and its herders have caused them griefs even when they are very innocent of the incident.
“Is the president asleep, is he listening to our voices? She questioned. “What’s the importance of the President if we are killed like chickens? She asked. “I want my voice to reach the president”.
“The President was able to take his cattle back, how is the president not able to give orders that will make the herders take theirs (cattle) back?” she queried.
Somme said the act of paying deaf ears by government to the armed herders’ atrocities led to the death of the eight young men as actions were not taken to make sure that the herders evacuate.
She enquired “what the Lolubo community has done that they can not be heard or helped”.
The mourner questioned the whereabouts of ownership of guns by herders citing that it should be made clear for them to know.
Somme alleged that people owning guns are seen during the night in army uniform when at day time, they are civilians guarding cattle.
She called on the government to critically look at the issue of the herders and their cattle.
The chief of Ngerjebe Boma of Lokiliri Payam, Juba County, Biastori Modi Modesto expressed his dissatisfaction with the authorities saying they have been left in shock of the incident.
Chief Biastori said he has lost hope as civilians are getting arms to end the lives of the unarmed ones.
He worried that some authorities (leaders) might have hands in the suffering of his people as herders are returning to Lokiliri fully armed to the teeth even after the 72 hour ultimatum.
“We got a lot of cattle returning with the herders fully armed with different types of guns” he said “We don’t really know if there are no authorities having a hand in the return of these herders and their cattle,” he interrogated.
He said the fact that the government have not provided escort to send the cattle back to their origin, it’s hard for them (cattle keepers to leave Lokiliri as ordered.
“If the government is not able to help the helpless civilians, what’s the importance of the government? I am useless if my words are not heard by the government that sent me,” he consoled.
Dead toll in the recent Lokiliri cattle herders atrocities has increased to 8 from the five initially reported by the Central Equatoria State government. Two more people were reported killed last Wednesday in the village of Birisi, one wounded and another still missing.
Despite a 72 hour ultimatum issued by the governor of Central Equatoria Emmanuel Adil Anthony, herders have still remained within the vicinities of Juba County.