“Our recommendations are very clear,” says William Kolong Pioth, the Regional Peace Coordinator for the Northern Bahr el Ghazal region.
“We need to engage with the governors of Northern Liech, Twic, and Aweil East to find a better solution for these border communities.”
The conference agreed to compensate the families of six Arab nomads who were killed in a cattle raid last April in the Twic area of South Sudan.
“The conference recommended that a blood compensation of 31 heads of cattle should be paid,” says the Peace Coordinator.
The two parties agreed to share grazing land and water points between the host community of Dinka Malual and the Arab Nomads of Sudan.
“The conference was good and peaceful,” says a representative of the Misseriya pastoralist community, Hamid Mohamed Al Fadil, although he was not happy about the slow pace of the compensation.
“I am opposed to the procedures of the return process because it is too slow…since April they return only one hundred and forty (140) heads of cows out of more than 1,400.”
Competition for land and water have caused long-standing disagreements and frequent conflicts between the host farming communities in the Aweil East and Twic areas, and the visiting herders.
“The authorities and the government of South Sudan is responsible, because we, the pastoralists, are sometimes harassed or even killed in South Sudan,” says Al Fadil.
The conference also called on the youth of both communities to conduct sports activities to promote peace and harmony.
“Do not go and sleep with these recommendations,” said the Acting Governor of Aweil East, William Ater, urging the participants to implement the resolutions of the conference.
“The objective of this conference is to maintain people-to-people grass root peace, and therefore they have to be implemented.”
More than 80 people, including representatives of various civil society groups, participated in the conference, which was facilitated and supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
“There will always be challenges,” says Khalif Farah, the Acting Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Aweil. “What we need now is that all of you recommit yourselves to peace and dialogue.”