Politicians back armed cattle herders against civilians

By Bida Elly David

A prominent politician has warned the government against compromising aggressive cattle herders that partake in deadly civil attacks and killings across the country saying that the presence of the armed herders in Mangala and other places has been politicized on ethnic grounds.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with the United States Ambassador to South Sudan Tuesday, Kalisto Lado, a prominent leader in the local government said that the tragedies by herders was a political influence aimed at grabbing land from people.

He said that the political and ethnic discrimination has made cattle herders from the Jonglei state to claim freedom of killing innocent civilians and forceful invasion of places which do not belong to them in whatever ways.

He condemned the tendency of government leaving cattle herders to carry different types of guns in the wilderness in an act to claim grazing land through bloodshed and displacement.

At the same note, he suggested resignation and removal of the SSPDF Spokesperson against failure to issue a statement for protection of civilians in Mangala, but rather generalizing them as NAS rebels.

“How can people from different state come and kill innocent civilians in their own land with the aim of forceful acquisition of land for grazing. Are they not humans? There is total discrimination as other people are disarmed while others are left. Why are the Jonglei herders left to roam with heavy guns in a bid to kill people in their own land? This is in correct” he said.

Kalisto said that the invasion of some places across the country by cattle herders was a clear indication of expelling the natives off their land for illegal ownership saying that the cattle herders have been politically backed up by intellectuals within the system.

Kalisto urged the government to immediately fire the Spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) for having failed to rescue the civilians from the hands of the crooked cattle herders.

He underscored that Jonglei herders should tell whom their President is since orders were issued and were violated.

“They should tell us who their President is. President Kiir issued an order for the return of the cattle herders and their cattle back to their states of origin but they could not listen. What sort of rubbish is this. Many citizens lost lives and others are displaced by the so called cattle herders yet nothing has been done” Kalisto said.

In his part, Michael J. Adler the Ambassador of United States to South Sudan demonstrated his sympathy to the affected population and urged South Sudanese to work towards peace and unity.

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