At least seven people, including two women, were killed in the Ngomatari village, Lowoi Payam of Torit County in South Sudan's Eastern Equatoria State on Saturday.
Augustine Martin, a resident of the area, told Radio Tamazuj that the victims were busy collecting firewood for sale when they were attacked by unknown gunmen.
“The incident happened on Saturday. People were shot at a place called Ngomattari, four were injured and seven were killed. It was done by unknown gunmen," he explained. "The victims were cutting timber that side and they were attacked."
He said the local youth are mobilizing to protect the area to avoid further attacks, although security forces were deployed to Lowoi.
Eastern Equatoria state information minister and government spokesperson Patrick Oting Cyprian confirmed the incident and said the state government is working to apprehend the culprits.
“What I can confirm to you is those who killed people there are unknown to us but the footmarks were traced yesterday. We, the government know where the footmarks lead to. The security forces were sent on the ground yesterday and we are investigating the matter and we are waiting for a report then as a government we see what to do from there," he said.
Minister Oting condemned the attack saying it was unfortunate and called on the people of the area to remain vigilant when going about their businesses.
The Monyiemiji Forum (local youth group) also described the incident as unfortunate and said the youth will allow the government to carry out its duty to bring the culprits to book.
Stephen Namwang Karlo, the Monyiemiji Forum spokesperson said, "It is very unfortunate that our people are killed in cold blood and for us, as Monyiemiji we cannot rush because the security machines are working hard to see that they follow the footmarks and the perpetrators are brought to bring to book for justice to prevail," he said.
"However, we would like as Monyiemiji at our level to inform communities living in those areas to be always alert of any strangers coming to their area," Namwang noted.
He also passed his condolence message to the victim's families reiterating that justice must be served.
Source: Radio Tamazuj