File photo: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters.

Juba - At least 11 people were killed and seven others injured during cattle raids in eastern South Sudan on Tuesday, a government official said.

"The armed youths launched two separate attacks [in Jonglei State]," county commissioner Joseph Atem told dpa. "We have confirmed 11 dead. Most of them are youths who were killed while protecting their cattle."

He added that 400 head of cattle were stolen during the attacks, which were perpetrated by people from the neighbouring state of Boma.

"It is too much, everyday we are losing life," Atem said and called on the government to intervene.

Last year President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in some parts of South Sudan to curb cattle raiding, tribal clashes and child abduction.

Cattle raiding has occurred for centuries in the East African nation, and children are sometimes abducted during raids to be used as domestic slaves. The raids often carry an ethnic component.