Skip to main content

Dozens dead, hundreds missing in South Sudan raid

By CNN Staff
updated 10:13 AM EST, Fri February 15, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An ethnic militia overwhelmed government troops protecting a cattle drive, official says
  • Hundreds of families are unaccounted for, he says
  • A conflict over water rights and grazing land has led to sporadic violence in South Sudan

(CNN) -- A heavily armed militia attacked tribesmen during a weekend cattle drive in strife-wracked South Sudan, a government official reported Sunday, leaving behind dozens of dead and possibly kidnapping hundreds of others.

Unarmed civilians "were murdered in cold blood" while herding their livestock to camps along the Sobat River, near the Ethiopian border, Akobo County Commissioner Goi Jooyul said in a statement on the attack. He identified the assailants as members of the Murle ethnic group and the victims as the Lou Nuer, two factions that have been battling over grazing lands and water rights in the world's newest nation.

The attackers overwhelmed government troops who were guarding the herders, killing 14 of them, Jooyul said. In all, 103 bodies had been found and hundreds of families were missing, he said.

"The survivors have narrated use of heavy weaponry including RPGs by the assailants and use of spears and machetes by some," he said. Meanwhile, he said poor roads were hampering the search for those still missing, including an undetermined number of children, as well as thousands of head of cattle.

Sudan-South Sudan border tensions

The Murle-Lou Nuer conflict is centered in Jonglei state, which borders Ethiopia. Sporadic attacks have persisted despite a peace accord signed in May, Jooyul said.

South Sudan became independent in July 2011. In January 2012, the central government declared Jonglei a humanitarian disaster area and called for international assistance in restoring security.

Journalist Isma'il Kushkush contributed to this report for CNN.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would undoubtedly be "complicated." Can the U.S. Secretary of State's visit change that?
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT