11 December 2012

Sudan: Jonglei State's Bor County Protestors Ask Govt for Greater Protection

Bor — Hundreds of protestors marched on the roads of Bor on Tuesday, protesting against what they described as the "poor protection" provided to them as disarmed civilians in Bor, Twice and Duk by in the face of armed Murle youth from Pibor.

It is our belief that one of the key mandates and responsibilities of any government system is the absolute protection of the nation, civil population and citizen's properties," said the protestors in their letter.

"Our communities from Greater Bor have been so cooperative with the disarmament forces by submitting illegal arms voluntarily to the disarmament authorities in anticipation of protection. But unfortunately this cooperation seems to be in vain in the sense that cattle raiding, wanton killings of vulnerable people including women, child abduction persistently occurs, almost on weekly basis," they added.

According to the protestors, atrocities committed by Murle raiders and [David] Yau Yau militias have caused huge devastation and mass displacement of Dinka Bor cattle keepers to Lakes and Central Equatoria states.

Yau Yau is a member of the Murle ethnic group rebelled against South Sudan's ruling party - the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) after elections - in April 2010 when, as an independent candidate, he lost his campaign to represent the Gumuruk-Boma constituency in Pibor County at the Jonglei State Assembly.

Juba claims Yau Yau has received support from Khartoum.

The commissioner of Bor county, Agot Alier, thanked the protestors for launching a peaceful protest.

"This is the formal way of solving problems. I hope the government will solve your grievances in this letter of protest," said Alier in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

The protest was orgainsed by the traditional leadership of the Bor county headed by the paramount chief, Alier Aluong, his clan chiefs, youth and women to bring the government's attention to the random killing of civilians by raiders in the villages.

Alier said he blamed armed Murle of killings in the disarmed areas of Bor, Twice East, Duk Nyirol Akobo, Pochalla and Uror counties.

"It is not always good to hang all these killings on Yau Yau. These Murle youths who are killing in all the counties", he said.

Thousands of Dinka Bor pastoralists have been displaced from Lakes state, Aliap areas and Central Equartoria state due to raids.

"This mass migration has resulted in social conflict between Bor pastoralists and the local farmers of those communities, which may require government intervention," said the protestors.

According to the UN in January 120,000 people had been displaced by inter-ethnic violence.

The protestors demand that the government provide greater South Sudan army (SPLA) support for the citizens protecting their own people and to remove Yau Yau's forces from the area.

They also urged government to establish community policing to take charge of civilian protections in payams [districts] and bomas [sub-districts] and to track down the cattle raided since the signing of the Jonglei Community peace accord, including 8,551 currently raided from Akuaideng boma.

"These cattle must be returned to their owners by the Murle Community as it was the case with Malual Ngang's 418 cows which were alleged to have been stolen by the Bor community thieves and were returned to Pibor County by this community in September 2012," said the protestors.

According to the UN Environmental Program the Murle were in Ethiopia until the 19th century. Some remained their until the 1990s while others were driven west by local Nilotes. They established an homeland in Pibor county, Jonglei state in the 1930s, since which, environmental pressures have impinged upon their pastoralist lifestyle.

Little evidence can be found to support the infertility claim. However, the motivation to rationalise the denigration of one of South Sudan's pariah ethnic groups, in order to legitimise the attribution of blame, is self-evident.

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