After Kosovo's march 2004 and the international passivity in Bosnia or Rwanda there is a new monument of peacekeeper passivity. A cattle raid on the town of Pibor in South-Sudan that lasted from 31 December to 3 January.
The East of South Sudan and neighboring areas in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are inhabited by cattle holding nomads. Raiding other tribes and stealing their cattle happens with a certain regularity. In this case some 8000 men from a section of the Nuer attacked Pibor, a town inhabited by Murle. Hundreds of people may have been killed and maybe 300,000 cattle were stolen. The Nuer claim that it was a revenge for Murle stealing their children. Stealing children happens quite often too in that region.
Intriguing facts are that one exiled Nuer in the US had collected money for the raid, UN helicopters had seen he fighters coming for days coming and had even flown in some 400 soldiers and that these soldiers didn't fire a shot. They said that they feared to be overrun.
They may be right for the situation but that doesn't take away that it is their responsibility to prevent such attacks. Not preventing such attacks decreases its cerdibility.
The UN has reacted by saying that their early warning allowed people to flee and limited the number of casualties.