Official: 37 Killed at South Sudan Peace Meeting

Posted February 3rd, 2012 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

An official in South Sudan says 37 people were killed when shooting broke out at a meeting to settle disputes over stolen cattle.

The incident happened Wednesday in Mayendit county, in South Sudan's Unity State.

The state information minister, Gideon Gatpan, says random shooting began after gunmen from neighboring Lake State burst in on the meeting and shot the bodyguard of Unity State's police commissioner.

The dead were from both communities in both states. Gatpan said the initial attack was premeditated.

The meeting had been arranged by South Sudan's government and the United Nations in an effort to prevent revenge attacks. A cattle raid on Saturday in Tong east, in Lake State, killed more than 70 people. More than 4,000 cattle were taken.

South Sudan has been troubled by deadly cattle raids and tribal violence since it declared independence from Sudan in July.

In order to prevent more fighting, Unity officials have deployed nearly 200 security personnel to patrol the area of tension along the two states' borders.