Easter Equatoria State, News

One killed, 34 cattle raided in Kapoeta

By Ijoo Bosco

At least one person has been reported killed, and 34 herds of cattle were raided by suspected Turkana armed youth in Mogila Nadapal, north of Kapoeta East County, last week.

Local authorities in Kapoeta East County, Eastern Equatoria State, said suspected armed Turkana youth from neighboring Kenya have been attacking and threatening civilians along the border areas despite several peace dialogues.

Kapoeta East County Commissioner Abdullah Angelo Lokeno said the incident happened at 1 p.m. in Mogila Mountain north of Nadapal.

“Turkana youth shot a person in the side of Mogila Mountain and raided 34 cattle; this issue happened at 1 p.m.,” he said. “The person was rearing his cattle, so they shot him.”

The Commissioner stated that they couldn’t manage to arrest the armed bandits, but he has contacted local authorities from Kenya’s Turkana to help apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“I communicated to those people and talked with the local chief of Kenya’s Turkana, but they told me that they would help arrest the perpetrators,” said Lokeno.

He noted that the relationship between the bordering communities of Toposa of South Sudan and Turkana of Kenya remains poor as the two sides continue to trade accusations.

However, Commissioner Lokeno noted that traffic flow between the two sisterly nations through the Nadapal and Lokichokio border is uninterrupted, adding that vehicles are moving smoothly without any disturbances.

Lotyang Francis, a civil society activist based in Eastern Equatoria State and former staff of the Humanitarian Organization for Sustainable Development, HOD-SS, condemned the act, calling on the government to protect citizens along the border region.

He stressed the need for the South Sudan government to engage the Kenyan government in dialogue to resolve the border dispute among the bordering communities.

“Such incidents always do occur, and they’re always occurring within the borders; we condemn that. It’s so unfortunate that they took the cows, and lives were lost,” Francis said.

“The governments of Kenya and South Sudan should work together to resolve the dispute that is recurring on the border,” he continued.

Peter Lokeng Lotone, the Eastern Equatoria state minister of local government and law enforcement agencies, urged the bordering communities not to take the law into their own hands.

He said there is a need to improve relationships and peaceful coexistence among bordering communities.

“The governor of Eastern Equatoria State and the governor of Kenya’s Turkana met recently in an attempt to resolve the recurring border dispute between Kenya and South Sudan,” Lotone said.

“The two leaders also discussed the issues of cattle raiding for the two border communities to co-exist in peace and harmony. But the problem here is that our people from both sides of Toposa and Turkana don’t listen; all they love is taking laws into their hands,” he lamented.

“We are urging the two communities to adhere to the government’s call for peaceful coexistence by giving them a chance to dialogue together in order to resolve the long-standing dispute between the Toposa and Turkana of Kenya,” Lotone added.

In June, the government of Kenya and Eastern Equatoria state resolved to restore peace and unity among the neighboring communities of Turkana and Toposa.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach Turkana County authorities for comment on the incident were futile.

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