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Striped Hyena- believed to be the species implicated in the Rumbek attacks [file photo]
Hyenas attacked 4 villages in Rumbek Central County on Thursday night, killing two people and leading to a further 13 people being admitted to Rumbek Hospital in a serious condition, suffering from bite wounds.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confirmed the incident. An officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that 13 people had been admitted in Rumbek hospital and two people had died. He also confirmed that one hyena was killed while attacking the project development unit (PDU) on Thursday night, while another is still at large and being pursued by armed men. He said that the animals had attacked a number of villages, including Pankar, Malou-jech and Abinajok.

"[these are] shameful attacks made by hyenas - we have 12 people suffering from hyena bite being admitted in Rumbek hospital and 2 elderly people are dead. Those bitten by these hyenas are women, elderly people and children", continued the officer.

Despite the obvious concern of the officer interviewed, the attacks have led to some criticism of the security forces in the state. Local community activist, Moses Majok, said that they suggest that police and armed forces in Rumbek are not sufficiently concerned with the well-being of the public.

"This is very bad...how come hyenas tour villages the whole night biting people and [there is] no response from army or police to protect innocent people from hyenas?" said Majok.

Although they are skilled pack predators and possess among the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom, hyenas are generally timid around people, particularly individual animals. However, packs do occasionally attack and kill humans. Victims are usually, as apparently in the latest attacks, children, the elderly or otherwise incapacitated individuals.

People sleeping outside their dwellings are especially vulnerable, as the creatures are strongly nocturnal. Grouped series of attacks, carried out by a single pack over a brief period of time, have also been reported in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.