By Ephraim Modi Duku Sokiri
The Minister of Information, Communication and Postal Service Michael Makuei Lueth has emphasized on the return of the cattle herders, saying that the cattle keepers will have to go back to their places of origin.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Minister Makuei expressed that the cattle keepers who have been causing chaos to farmers in Equatoria region are returning to their home of origin.
“On the issue of the return of the cattle, well, of course, these cattle are moving, they are going to their respective home areas and those cattle when they come (came) here, they did not just come voluntarily, they came because of certain circumstances that forced them and up to now even though these circumstances have not subsided” he said.
“Nevertheless, they have to go and those who have not arrived, are on their way moving and most of them have arrived now in their home areas” Makuei said.
A report published in March 2022, indicated that violent clashes between farming communities and cattle herders broke out in Eastern Equatoria State. It was the latest incident in months of cattle-related violence in the area, which is in the country’s southern region.
The cattle herders alleged to be from the neighbouring Jonglei State were pushed south into Eastern Equatoria’s Magwi County after floods submerged grazing lands. In just days, however, farmer-herder conflict displaced more than 14,000 people.
The Equatoria region hosts South Sudan’s capital, Juba. It is inhabited by more than 30 different ethnic groups, most of them farmers. It was the birthplace of the southern rebellion against Sudan’s Khartoum. Economically, it is the strongest region of South Sudan, with immense agricultural potential.
However, the militarisation of cattle raiding since the 1990s has led to frequent eruptions of violence. These raids were originally regulated by cultural authorities. But political elites have armed ethnic groups to advance their interests, leading to a proliferation of guns in the region.