“I’m going to sue the Bor community leader for claiming I orchestrated a cattle attack.” -Governor Lobong
The governor of Eastern Equatoria state has vowed to take a Bor community leader to court for slander, claiming that he and his state administration coordinated and assisted armed teenagers to assault and plunder Bor pastoralists’ livestock ranches in Magwi County.
On May 10, a deadly attack on a cattle camp in Mugali Payam, Magwi County, killed over 35 people, including children, women, and the elderly injured 19, and stole thousands of cattle.
Following the raid, the Bor community’s chairperson, Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol, issued a press release on May 12 accusing the Eastern Equatoria State government of organizing and facilitating the cattle raiders.
“…the numerous attacks are carried out by youths who are organized and aided by the government of Eastern Equatoria State,” Dr. Angok charged in a press release.
Governor Lobong denied the allegations in an exclusive interview with Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday seen by NCMP.
“I want to respond to a press release written by the Bor community’s leader that this cattle raiding was organized by the Eastern Equatoria government in the person of Governor Louis Lobong and the Magwi commissioner,” he said. “This has led some people to believe it was true, particularly those whose cattle were raided.” This allegation has infuriated our people in Eastern Equatoria, including government officials.”
“I want everyone to be calm, and I would like the leader of the Bor community to provide us with evidence,” he added. I want him to present this evidence to the South Sudanese government so that Louis Lobong, the commissioner, and other government officials can be investigated and punished for their actions.”
He stated that the allegation was documented and that it could cause a lot of problems because people will believe that “if any cattle are looted anywhere, they will think it is Louis and the commissioner.”
“This could raise a lot of security concerns and tarnish the reputation of the Eastern Equatoria State.” The Bor community leader should either prove these allegations or go to court so that we can be prosecuted. If he does not do so, our government will look for other ways to clear its name,” Governor Lobong said.
When asked if he planned to seek legal redress, the governor said yes.
“Yes. “They must respond in court,” he added.
Lobong, on the other hand, said that the pastoralists from Bor consented to leave the state and return home after a conference last weekend in Nimule attended by the country’s security leaders.
“We visited with these folks (herders) in Nimule, and they stated their willingness to return their livestock to Jonglei, but they had some reservations about the mode of transportation,” Lobong said. “They claim that their livestock cannot be transported by foot from Nimule to Jonglei and have demanded that the government supply them with vehicles.” Their commanders said that they want around 100 vehicles but are having difficulty obtaining them.”
He confirmed that the 10 May raid was carried out by Murle teenagers if he saw a video emerging on social media displaying Murle youngsters with the allegedly plundered animals.
“It is no longer a mystery; everyone knows that the Murle are the ones stealing livestock.” When there is a looting incident somewhere, other looters will always take advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “When the Murle people heard that cattle were being looted in Eastern Equatoria, they came and looted cattle as well.”
He claimed that the state is vast and that local authorities are incapable of effectively policing it.
“This state is vast.” Some of the cattle rustlers come from my own state. They do not transport the cattle on the main road, but rather through the bushes. “Security is not on every tree in the bush, and yet local citizens in that area have not reported,” said Governor Lobong.
When asked whether he had been called by the president in connection with the fatal raid, he said that he had not received any contact on the subject.
“I have not received any correspondence from the president’s office.” As you may have seen, I saw it on social media as well, but nothing formal was shared. “If such an invitation is extended, we will be ready,” he said.