Dozens dead, hundreds missing in South Sudan raid
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
- 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.
Part of complete coverage on
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1758 GMT (0158 HKT)
The sights couldn't be sadder: Animals killed or suffering through war in Gaza.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
They are the faces of a community on the run. Photographer Warzer Jaff documents the plight of the Yazidis.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A cameraman films a massive New York City subway rat charging at him and attacking him. WPIX reports.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
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.
Today's five most popular stories