Conflict & Justice

5 health workers killed by South Sudan soldiers


South Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers on April 23, 2012 at a base near Bentiu.


Hannah McNeish

Five health workers were killed when South Sudan soldiers attacked a hospital in retaliation for the deaths of eight security forces members.

Member of Parliament David Mayo told BBC News that the hospital in the village of Lorema was attacked by soldiers and that fighting continued into Friday. One doctor, one patient and four nurses were killed.

After attack the hospital, the soldiers set fire to local homes.

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Mayo said that 13 soldiers were currently being treated in a hospital in the state capital of Torit, and that he blamed the soldiers for the violence, despite many residents in the mountainous region being heavily armed with leftover weapons from the civil war with Sudan. He said they opened fire indiscriminately when arriving in Lorema.

The soldiers had been sent to the village after eight of the governor's bodyguards were killed after being sent to look for cattle thieves.

There is a long history of cattle theft in the area in South Sudan's Eastern Equatoria, as a single cow can be worth hundreds of dollars, depending on its coloring.

Cattle are crucial for many communities in the African country, as they can represent wealth, a dowry, property and a source of food.