Over 450,000 residents of Kajo-keji county, Central Equatorial state in South Sudan have fled their homesteads following the deadly reprisal attack on several villages which led to the death of 26 people in February last month.
Kajokeji County is one of the six counties of Central Equatoria State. Greater Equatoria Region comprises Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Western Equatoria.
The attack which is believed to be caused by the Dinka Bor community(cattle herders) from southern Bor caused havoc in the locality leading to loss of lives, hundreds of people wounded with thousands of locals displaced.
This has also seen a number of beautiful structures including homes, schools, health facilities and churches being abandoned and remaining idle without any feature of human beings as all locals have fled to the camps for refuge.
As a result, the locals are currently living in the internally displaced people’s camp (IDP) in Mere Church, Lire payam(Sub-county) in Kajo-keji County(District) while others have crossed to Moyo District in Uganda.
Due to the constant killings and attacks in Kajo-keji county,its locals are now calling for an immediate intervention from the members of the East African Community over the deteriorating insecurity in the locality.
Mr Phanuel Dumo Lo-kajasuk, the commissioner of Kajo-keji county said the attacks is believed to be a revenge by the Dinka Bor community from southern Bor after killing of their cattle by unidentified gunmen in the area.
He says that South Sudan having joined the East African community, its members should come on board to help address the matter.
“We also appeal to the members of the East African community to come to our aid.As brothers and sisters you cannot see your own brother or sister being slaughtered while you are watching,”Mr Dumo Lo-kajasuk told Daily Monitor in an interview on Tuesday.
“…The issue should be addressed properly so that the Dinka Bor community take their cattle to their site so that the people of Kajokeji should be allowed to enjoy their peace,” he added.
He said President Salva Kiir in 2017 issued a directive ordering the cattle herders(Dinka Bor community) to take their cattle out of the equatorial region but the herders have since been keeping a deaf ear.
“He ordered his group to take their cattle away from the equatorial state. Since that time up-to-date the group does not want to go back.i do not know the reason why they don’t want to go back to their home place of origin,” he explained.
Ms Julia Akonga,50 years old a resident of Likamerok Boma whose daughter was also killed during the attack said the cattle herders should be disarmed if need for peace to ruin in the region.
“On February, 1, 2023,the cattle herders of the Dinka- Bor community killed one of my daughters who was pregnant. At the moment we are displaced from our own community and we are now in the governmental area in Mere church where we are being hosted,” she said.
“So here feeding alone is so challenging and even treatment is challenging. So if we go back to the camp our life will be ending in the camp.So am appealing to the government to disarm these cattle herders so that we experience total peace,”Ms Akonga said.
She said the displaced people of Kajo-keji county, especially the women, are traumatized and also tired of the constant attacks by the Dinka Bor community.
“Since 2017 they have been here disturbing us and they have killed a lot of people.So am appealing to the intentional community to continue supporting us,we need peace so that we can go back home. we are approaching the rainy season and want to benefit on our own,she added.
Peres Gwo,a resident of Likamerok Boma, Kajo-keji county where the incident happened said “At around 5:30 am ,the Dinka Bor community cattle herders came and got our brothers and sisters sitted,”
“They shot one female who is pregnant. They killed 24 male and 2 women. The 27 is not yet found as I speak now,” She explained.
She says the government should provide an immediate intervention over the matter by beefing up security at the borders and in the locality since life in the camps is not easy.
“So am appealing to our government to provide for us security because if we continue living in the camps, the situation is very bad,” She said.
She says some of the children have been left orphans while their mothers are widows because their husbands who were bread winners of the families have been killed.
“We cannot afford to get even a mere firewood, water around is also challenging and feeding. So the government should provide us with security so that we remain in our homeland,” she added.