Death toll from Thursday’s attack on Jonglei State’s Duk County has risen to 24 as more bodies continued to being discovered in the thicket.
At least 30 others are nursing gunshot wounds, according to a state government spokesperson.
On Thursday afternoon, an armed group suspected to have come from the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) launched a deadly attack on a cattle camp in Poktap town.
Initially, nine people were killed and 16 others injured while four people were said to have gone missing. About 7, 000 head of cattle was also raided.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday night, Elizabeth Nyadak John Jok, State Information Minister and Government Spokesperson, said the situation in Duk remains appalling, with more victims succumbing to their gunshot wounds.
“As we speak, the death toll stands at 24. It kept rising from 9 to 15 and now 24 since morning. More than 30 people are injured and several others missing. The reason for the rise is that those wounded keep on dying,” she said.
Adding, “The worse thing is that those who venture into the bush to look for the missing ones are also being killed by suspected members from a neighboring community.”
Minister Elizabeth appealed for urgent national government’s intervention, saying the attackers were heavily armed.
“Those youth were heavily armed including with RPGs. Some of them are in uniforms of our national army and this is evident by the dressing by some of the dead. This morning, I contacted by GPAA counterpart who said they were going to condemn the attack,” she stressed.
Abraham Kelang, the GPAA Information Minister, condemned the attack and promised the government’s readiness to intervene in the conflict.
“We learnt of the attack this morning and indeed we are remorseful. As a government, we condemn it. We are going to monitor our borders. If these attackers happen to be our youth, we will confiscate the stolen animal and return them to Jonglei State because such an act is against the laws of the country,” he said.
Philip Thon Leek, a lawmaker representing Duk County in the National Transitional Legislative Assembly, claimed the attack was premeditated and blamed authorities for doing little to forestall it.
“On 29 December, Kadiang chieg was killed, and two days ago cattle were raided in Pajut. Now, this attack in Poktap, killing 22 and wounding 18. 13 of the wounded have been flown to Juba where they are now being treated at the military hospital. There was a second attack in Panaru of Duk Padiet Payam resulting in the raiding of hundreds of cattle,” MP Thon said.
Amy spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang was not immediately available to comment on the allegations of any involvement of attackers in military uniforms.