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South Sudan cattle rustlers kill hundreds

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 01:54

Aug. 29 - A violent attack by Murle cattle raiders leaves 600 people dead, huts burned, food looted, and hundreds of Lou Nuer children missing in South Sudan. Nick Rowlands reports.

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Burned huts and scorched circles of earth in Jonglei state in South Sudan. The destruction is the result of an attack by about 800 Murle cattle rustlers on the Lou Nuer community. (SOUNDBITE) (Nuer) JOHN CHER CHOK, ADMINISTRATOR OF MATOT, JONGLEI STATE SOUTH SUDAN: "They came in their hundreds from three sides. They were wearing uniforms like soldiers but they were civilians. They came to raid our cattle and kill our children." An estimated 600 people were killed, and tens of thousands of prized cattle stolen. (SOUNDBITE) (Nuer) ADMINISTRATOR OF MATOT, JOHN CHER CHOK, JONGLEI STATE SOUTH SUDAN: "The fighting started at 6:30 in the morning. When people heard the shooting they got up and ran with their children but a lot of children disappeared. People don't know where their children or their cattle are. There was no fighting, just Murle killing people." In a poor region suffering from a lack of jobs and awash with automatic weapons, where a single cow is worth around 175 US dollars, cattle rustling is big business. There have been a series of clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in Jonglei since February this year, displacing tens of thousands of people. Local authorities say over 1,000 people have died, and hundreds of women and children have been abducted. Experts say the surge in cattle rustling this year could be linked to rising bride prices, which are traditionally paid using cows. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.

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South Sudan cattle rustlers kill hundreds

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 01:54