Skip to main content

Dozens dead, hundreds missing in South Sudan raid

By CNN Staff
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
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
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0356 GMT (1156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT