31 May 2014

South Sudan: Lakes State Peace Forum Marred By Tribal Clashes

Rumbek — A peace forum organised by Lakes state traditional authorities and commissioners in Yirol West county prematurely ended, after a surprise attack left a person dead. The attack, officials told Sudan Tribune, also saw two critically injured people rushed to Mapuordit hospital.

A four day conference, organised to resolve inter-clan clashes and cycles of revenge in the state, gathered chiefs from Rumbek East, Rumbek North, Cueibet and Greater Yirol counties.

The meeting was, however, boycotted by some chiefs and administrators who blamed the state government for allegedly overlooking the root cause of the problem.

A police officer in Yirol West county attributed increases in cases of tribal clashes in the state to what he described as attempts by the public to isolate the state government, hence frustrate security work.

"On Wednesday, while meeting was in progress in Aluakluak, one person was killed in Marial-bek village and two people including a woman sustained gunshot wounds", the officer told Sudan Tribune.

"We did not capture those involved in the killing because residents refused to show us who was involved in the raid", he added.

The cop said they suspect the attackers were pastoralists from Rumbek East county, although its youth leader dismissed this claim.

Lakes state information minister, Marik Nanga Marik, said government was trying its best to bring peace to the region, much as the public was trying to distance itself from the administration.

"We are working for peace", minister Marik said by phone.

"The meeting came up with key resolutions, including disarmament and that cattle raided are returned to their rightful owners", he added.

Sources who attended the four-day meeting further said its participants agreed to set up tribal courts to monitor internal borders.

Moses Ater, a Lakes state citizen said, "Those resolutions are completely a mess. How can internal border verification be set up while president [Salva Kiir] is talking of international borders of 1956?"

"The imposed governor should apologise to the president for calling for internal borders, which could cause another conflict", he added.

This is the second time Lakes state military caretaker governor, Maj. Gen. Matur Chut Dhoul is being asked to apologise to the president by civil society activists. In April, he came under heavy criticism from activists and youth leaders over his call for youth to join the military.

Lakes state has been blighted by cattle raiding since South Sudan's secession from the north in July 2011 and continues to be locked in a cycle of inter-clan revenge clashes.

(ST).

The map of Lakes state in red

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