28 December 2012

Sudan: Jonglei Governor - Community Meetings a 'Nucleus for Peace'

Bor — Jonglei state governor, Kuol Manyang, has described ongoing community conferences in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, in which a Bor commnity leader was elected, as the foundation for peaceful co-existence in the troubled state.

Manyang opened and closed the Bor and Anyuak community meetings taking place in venues less than a kilometre from each other in Bor.

At Central Star hotel, a 16-member committee was elected on Friday to lead the Bor community after a three-day meeting. Ajuoi Magot was elected, unopposed, after other contenders withdrew from the race.

Five payams [districts] within Bor county, where the body has its jurisdiction, selects three members each to the body, known as the Bor community committee.

The Anyuak community of Aboko county met in the nearby South Sudan hotel for a peace conference. The Anyuak conference ends on Saturday.

Speaking to the press, Magot said his task is to continue dialogue with neighbouring communities for peaceful co-existence.

"We hope the government will act to restore stability in Jonglei state so that our people can go back to the villages and are engaged in farming," said Magot.

Jonglei state is home to six different ethnic communities that rely on cattle as their main source of livelihood. This, coupled with the proliferation of small arms in the wake of more than two decades of civil war, has made cattle raiding a particular problem in the state.

A disarmament exercise launched by president Salva Kiir in March 2012 alongside the Jonglei community peace conference has failed to fully eradicate the cattle raiding issue.

However, Manyang described the situation in 2012 as "much better" than in previous years.

Magot said the role of the community unions is to "speak to the county commissioner, state and national government on social, political and development issues affecting the masses."

The outgoing Bor community leader, Deng-tiel Ayuen Kur, is the member of parliament representing Bor North constituency in the national assembly. Ayuen led the committee since 2006 till he was elected in 2010 to Juba on the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement ticket.

Manyang opened and closed both meetings describing them as a "nucleus for peaceful co-existence" in the ethnically diverse state.

"If each community leaves peaceful and yearns for peace, the whole state will be stable," Manyang told a closing session of Bor leaders on Friday.

There are six tribes in Jonglei state including Dinka, Nuer, Anyuak, Jie, Kachipo and Murle. The pastoralists Murle, Dinka and Nuer have long engaged in violent cattle rustling.

In January the UN expressed concern about the plight of more than 120,000 people displaced by conflict in Jonglei.

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