opinionBy Isaac Morris Merisiya
Allow me to start with the African proverb which says that, when elephants are fighting it is the grass that suffers, with Lou- Nuer strong six thousand men as reported by one of the websites in pibor county, it is not the cattle raiders/thieves suffering, it is the old, women and children of Murle who are the victims.
Here I would humbly request the youth of Lou-Nuer to withdraw from the occupied areas of Murle to allow humanitarian organizations, National and State government to assist the needy, likewise I would also request Murle youth to refrain from cattle raiding, counter-raiding, child and woman abduction which are the causes of all this sufferings to our innocent people, I also beg the Murle to return the stolen cattle and abducted children and women to Lou Nuer.
Being one of the people who came to the South Sudan immediately after signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, following critically security threats caused by cattle raiders and seeing how cattle thieves are coming problematic to our young government.
Here are some advices that I would like to give to the government on how to go about combating cattle rustling in this beloved nation South Sudan, one is formation of anti-cattle raid unit within the police with a function to fight cattle raid, counter raid, reduce cattle thieves and returning stolen cattle.
The unit should work closely with the chiefs, kraal youth and other youth leaders to carry out their duties effectively.
This special unit should be deployed in the borders between the tribes as well as county borders with its headquarters in the State Capital.
The unit personnel must be well trained, aware of all the laws and equipped with modern weapons, satellite phones, vehicles and police helicopters to communicate and reach hot spots quickly whenever raid occurs, the unit should be well paid to avoid bribery and corruption.
Secondly, the government through the Ministry of Local Government should call for a general chiefs' conference to discuss how to reduce or unify dowry among the tribes of South Sudan, because it is very clear that high dowry is one of the reasons why people engaged in this dirty game of cattle raid/thief.
Another solution which could reduce cattle rustling is disarming the civil population, how peacefully disarmed the civil population of South Sudan is another important issue. Before we move ahead let us see what is disarmament, what is its impact to our local population especially when one tribe is disarmed and the other is not.
Disarmament in simple English means reduction of weapons or arms limitation, demilitarization, disablement, demobilization, crippling, paralyzing or render powerless etc.
In South Sudan, you cannot disarm a tribe and leave the other, the disarmed will fall a victim of the tribe which is not disarmed, their cattle, children, women will be raided and abducted, their grass will be used for feeding cattle of the other tribes which are not disarmed.
Way forward; from 2005-2011 South Sudan witnessed at least two disarmament processes in which some states were disarmed while others yet to be disarmed.
But still weapons/guns flow back into hands of civilians as a result robbery, cattle thieves and child abduction increased.
What should be done to stop all this insecurity mostly caused by villagers in collaborations with some short sighted politicians? Another suggestion which will cost the nation huge money but is a part of the solution to reduce insecurity caused by cattle raiders is that, the government needs to change the weapons/rifles/guns currently used by our national army SPLA, Police and other organized forces, burn them all including the ammunitions in storages; the question that arises is why burn weapons and ammunitions being used by the army and the police, the simple answer is that, SPLA/Police and other organized forces possess the same type of rifles/guns which are currently being used by the cattle raiders, armed gangs and robbers, that make it easier for the raiders to buy ammunition from unpatriotic soldiers/police.
Once our organized forces have different weapons/rifles/guns from the local communities, it will become difficult if not impossible for the cattle raiders to get ammunitions for their guns and gradually the ammunitions they have will finish, when their ammunitions finish their guns will be useless and it will be up to them to use their guns as sticks, in this way the government will say they have peacefully and indirectly disarmed the civil population.
How do we control the modern/new weaponry not to be sold to the civilians?In every unit/division of the army, police, wildlife and other organized forces , there should be a weapon control unit (WCU), responsible for weapon distributions, keeping records and serial numbers of weapons, responsible for weapon storage and ammunitions, make sure that a person who is off-duty leaves his/her weapon/rifle/gun in the store before leaving the office.
By doing that, I think we can build a secured South Sudan free of threat from cattle raiders/cattle rustling, and our people can walk freely at night from Nimule to Joda without any fear.
I also encourage the government to build slaughter houses in the ten states of South Sudan, make cheese and butter factories, to make our youth busy and working.
Let us joint hands together to make cattle rustling a history.