On 18th of May, 2015, John Malou along with 2 community mobilizers set out for Paloch Payam, Rumbek East, for Payam level entry activities. Paloch Payam is 25KM from the Across compound. At Paloch they heard how raiders from Rumbek East and Rumbek Central had stolen cows from Yirol West County and had abducted 2 boys. The Across team requested to see the boys who narrated their ordeal.
Their abductors struck at 3:00 pm and forced them and their cattle to run all evening. At about mid night they were in the middle of a forest when one of the abductors told his colleagues that they should abandon the boys there. But another abductor, who was opposed to this, said that if they were left in the forest they could get lost, die of hunger and thirst or worse be eaten by wild animals. The abductors disagreed over what to do with the boys and this sparked a heated argument which almost resulted in a shoot out. Finally they agreed to move on with the boys. Early in the morning they left the boys by the road side and went away with the cattle.
Tired, hungry and thirsty the 2 boys just lay by the roadside until a man came along riding a bicycle. At first he thought they were dead but on moving closer and talking to them he realized that they were alive. He then took them to a nearby village from where they were handed over to the chief.
The Across team gave the boys some food then proceeded with them to meet the community members in Paloch Payam. At the meeting they talked about peace and reconciliation and asked the listeners not to harm the boys. They then proceeded with the boys to the county authorities to ensure that they were handed over to their families.
They found the county authorities having a meeting known as Gelwok. John requested the Executive Director of the county to speak to the youth on the adverse effects of cattle raids. The innocent victims such as the 2 boys would be in danger of losing their lives. He beseeched the community to respond differently by returning the children back.
Exec. Director Rumbek East County records the boys' names
After the speech the Executive Director called the commissioner of Yirol West County and informed him about the presence of the boys in his county. The Across team contacted their Logoseed team mates in Yirol West County and ensured that the children were taken back to their families.
Three days later youth from Yirol West also raided Rumbek East. They stole an equal number of cattle as had been stolen from them. They also abducted 2 boys. Then they clothed the boys and returned them back to Rumbek East unharmed!
Narrated by John Malou Manyiel (LOGOSEED Project Officer)
Edited by Irene Kagwiria
Brief narrative - Often when there have been cattle raids abductees' lives have been endangered. Aggrieved communities have retaliated causing brutal killings and sparking a cycle of attack and counter attack. Through LOGOSEED programme more raiders are warming up to peace interventions. There is more value for life. It is hopeful that cattle raids will wane eventually becoming a thing of the past.