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One person killed in latest Kwajina clashes

Author: Priscah Akol | Published: Monday, February 24, 2020

Cattle grazing in South Sudan

A farmer has been killed and four cattle raiders wounded in clashes involving farmers and cattle keepers in Mapel area of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, in what appears to be another violation of Marial-bai agreement.

The fighting started over the weekend between farmers of Kwajina and cattle keepers of Tonj area, Warrap State.

According to a resident of the area, the fighting was triggered by disagreement over a water point.

The resident who prefers to be identified only as James says clashes are “still ongoing”.

“The cattle keepers first withdrew their cattle and then return to attack the farmers. That is the situation right now,” he told Eye Radio

However, there is no intervention by the government to stop the conflict, according to James – an allegation the state governments are yet to comment on.

He also says a breastfeeding mother who gave birth 28 days ago was allegedly raped by cattle raiders during the clashes.

The December 2016 Marial-Bai Agreement obligates the governments of Wau, Gogrial and Tonj to regulate the relationship between pastoralists and farmers.

Every dry season, cattle keepers from Gogrial and Tonj migrate to Wau State for green pasture and water.

But the Marial-bai agreement – which was revived in October 2019 – stipulates that, no pastoralists shall be allowed to carry gun during migration to Wau.

However, armed pastoralists from Tonj have been reportedly crossing over to Western Bahr el Ghazal, resulting in the loss of lives and property.

In March 2019, cattle keepers from Tonj drove their animals through farms in Kwajina, triggering a deadly communal conflict which left at least 15 people dead.

The then Wau State officials also added that five women and two young girls were sexually assaulted in the series of attacks attributed to farming land dispute.

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