South Sudan News: Deadly cattle raids funded from the US?

NAIROBI, Kenya — Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people were slaughtered when an army of tribal warriors swept through the town of Pibor over New Year.

A helpless force of UN peacekeepers did nothing as men, women and children who had fled into the bush were hunted down and shot dead.

Pibor town was burned and looted.

Read more on GlobalPost: South Sudan UN humanitarian operation launched

Now the New York Times has returned from Pibor with the first fully-reported account of what happened, and why.

Although common in South Sudan tribal battles and cattle raiding seem terribly far away, utterly disconnected from the daily lived reality of someone in the US.

But as the article makes clear this is not the case:

"The attack was presaged by a fund-raising drive for the Nuer militia in the United States — a troubling sign that behind the raiders toting Kalashnikovs and singing war songs was an active back office half a world away. Gai Bol Thong, a Nuer refugee in Seattle who helped write the militia’s statement, said he had led an effort to cobble together about $45,000 from South Sudanese living abroad for the warriors’ food and medicine.

“We mean what we say,” he said in an interview. “We kill everybody. We are tired of them.” (He later scaled back and said he meant they would kill Murle warriors, not civilians.)"

Read more on GlobalPost: 3,000 dead in Pibor County ethnic massacre

So a refugee in Seattle admits to fund-raising for a 6,000-strong army of young men with AK-47s who go on a rampage to steal cattle and kill hundreds of their tribal rivals in a bid to wipe them out while simultaneously destabilizing one of the US's newest allies?

Mr. Gai Bol Thong might not find himself quite so welcome in the US after this admission.

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