11 June 2012

Sudan: Warrap Parliament Attributes Sectional Fights to Lack of Resources

Wau — The parliament of South Sudan's Warrap State on Monday attributed the cause of sectional fighting in the area, as well as in neighbouring and Unity and Lakes States, to scarcity of local resources, specifically pasture land and water.

"We have realised that the cause of all these conflicts is simply associated with lack of resources. People fight over limited water resources. They fight over limited pasture lands", Madot Madut Deng, Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

The officials said over the past years, Warrap has suffered from tribal conflicts which have claimed thousand lives. He said that young men were to blame as they were the main culprits of cattle raiding.

However, he said that the motivation being the raid was so that they were able to live. Cattle are an extremely valuable social and economic in South Sudan, which is one of the poorest nations in the world, having seceded from Sudan last year after decades of conflict.

Warrap's speaker spoke to Sudan Tribune hours after reports that conflict had broken out on the border with Lakes State, leading to the burning of some houses and gunshots forcing some women and children to be displaced.

Officials in Warrap State claimed the attack was carried out by armed elements from Lakes State's Cueibet County.

"There was an attack on Sunday. Some armed groups from Cueibet County in Lakes State raided some villages in Tonj South County. They took away with some cattle", Deng Thuc Deng, an administrative officer in the area told Sudan Tribune by phone from Tonj town.

Figures from the remote area has not yet been confirmed but there are reports that despite the deployment of security personnel to the area, the fighting continued and the death toll could have reached four with six people severely injured.

Residents were reported to have been caught in the crossfire between the warring ethnic factions and South Sudan's police and military who are attempting to intervene.

LAND

Citizens from Tonj South County have claimed that local authorities are indiscriminately giving out the land without due consultations.

"Before the attack from Acueibet, there was a quarrel over land distribution in Tonj town itself because local officials were being accused by the natives of giving out lands to people from other communities without consulting them", Mathel Deng, a native of Tonj who works for international humanitarian organisation in Wau told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

"I am told people fought. Some people were hurt but I do not know how many were killed but I believe there must be some casualties."

Giving an account of the events leading to the attack, Deng said both factions began mobilising to attack each other the night before. Attempts by a local chief and the Tonj South County Commissioner to convince the two factions to to exercise restraint, appear to have fallen on death ears.

Deng said that the fighting would cost state resources that could have been spent on "meaningful developments in other areas".

He said that individuals and groups needed to resolve disputes through dialogue rather than resorting to violence.

"Our brothers up must wake up to calls for peaceful resolution of issues and to maintain peace in the community, since that is the only way through which the area will see any meaningful development", Deng observed.

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