South Sudan vows to combat child abduction and cattle rustling in northeastern Boma

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] -- On Wednesday, South Sudan vowed to deploy forces to fight criminals engaging in widespread child abductions and cattle rustling that are predominately among rival pastoral tribes in Jonglei state.

The Country’s First Vice President, General Taban Deng Gai, told journalists in Juba that the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) will soon kick-start using heavy weapons including Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) and helicopter gunships against pastoral tribes.

“The government plans to use maximum force to stop these criminals from destabilizing our citizens from living peacefully,” said FVP Gai.

Gai noted that the rampant child abduction and cattle theft have destabilized national security and rendered the government less able to protect the local population.

The criminals suspected to be harbored among the Murle of the northeastern Boma state near the Ethiopian border are among those targeted criminals. Activities of abductions and cattle rustling have been frequently reported on the borders of the neighboring tribes of Murle, Dinka and Nuer in the Jonglei area.

“This time we must follow our government orders. The President’s orders must be implemented whether it needs tanks, police or army because the (child abductors) are armed to the teeth.” Gai said in Juba.

The top official disclosed that joint efforts are urgently needed to stop child abductions not only in Jonglei. But the vice is spreading as far as in the Greater Equatoria region particularly in parts of Central Equatoria state.

“We must not restrict our governors from using maximum powers to stop criminals” Gai explained.

Child abduction is a common occurrence in of Jonglei State Murle tribesmen are widely accused by neighboring communities of abducting the children. In a recent attack in Duk occured in November 2017, blamed to the armed criminals believed to be from the Murle community, the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Duk reported fifty six (56) children abducted and fifty one (51) people killed including children and women. almost every year incidents of child abduction and cattle rustling occur. 

However, researchers said the causes of the apparent surge in abduction are also related to the politicization and militarization of differing ethnic groups using rapid proliferation of modern weaponry. This has weakened traditional systems of authority. Therefore, the government has updated it’s weaponry to put more pressure on these criminals.


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