South Sudan-Conflict

S/Sudan's Jonglei: Closing the chapter of bloodshed

APA-Juba (South Sudan)

“This is a year of peace. Anybody that has benefited from our suffering, you go and look for something to eat from somewhere else not from our blood!”, says the Acting Governor of Jonglei area at the end of a two-day peace dialogue in Bor, funded by UNDP – the United Nations Development Programme – in collaboration with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

By Mach Samuel

The dialogue, which brought together 30 participants, including youth  leaders, women leaders and traditional chiefs, created a platform for  the communities of Lou Nuer, Murle and Dinka of Bor to identify sources  of conflicts and find amicable solutions.

 The triggers of skirmishes across the conflict-ridden region are mostly  cattle-raiding, child abduction, disputes over grazing land, and  territorial wrangling, among others.

 The Murle, who are generally accused of crimes such as cattle raiding  and child abduction, in turn accuse their neighbours, the Dinka and  Nuer, of similar crimes. Although some of the local authorities have  tried to improve the relationship among these neighbouring communities  in the past, peaceful; co-existence has remained elusive.

 A peace dialogue was thus necessary to sensitize the respective  communities to adopt dialogue as a mechanism for peaceful resolution of  conflict and end the triangle of conflict in Greater Jonglei.

 The acting governor of Jonglei Ding Akol Ding said political entities  that trigger some of these inter-communal conflicts – which eventually  translate into inter-state conflicts – need to be countered.

 “Time has come for us to tell those spoilers of peace, whether among  youth or among politicians: ‘please you are wrong. We don’t want more  bloodshed in Greater Jonglei and South Sudan’,” Ding said, noting that  the international community had invested in the revitalized peace  agreement.

 He said the peace agreement was the last chance for the people of South Sudan.

 “This revitalized peace agreement is the only solution to our problems  in South Sudan. If we don’t implement this agreement, those who are  leaders will regret their leadership,” he warned.

 The war in South Sudan has displaced millions to refugee camps across the region, and displaced thousands of others internally.

 The UNMISS Head of Office in Greater Jonglei Deborah Schein said she  hoped the participants would return to their communities and be  ambassadors for peace.

 “We believe if the foundations are strong, the people will come  together, and this peace will be real, and it will bring prosperity to  the people of South Sudan,” she said.

 “We came from the IO side because we need peace to grow among us,” said  the opposition chairperson of Peace the Commission in Bieh area, Muot  Chuol.

 Besides the appeal to end bloodshed, some of the resolutions reached and  signed by the community leaders included establishment of a joint peace  committee.

 The resolutions also encouraged the government and community leaders to  continue and promote the recovery of abducted children and cows.

 Additionally, youth were urged to desist from violence and channel their  energies into promoting community development and peaceful  co-existence.

 The three communities urged the government and peace partners to open  effective communication channels, including roads and telecommunication  networks, as some areas remained inaccessible since conflict erupted in  2013.

 The Nuer, Murle and Dinka also pledged to promote trade among  themselves, beseeching the government to undertake comprehensive  disarmament throughout the country.

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