7 June 2019

South Sudan: Bitter Rivals Smoke Peace Pipe

Photo: Charlton Doki/IPS
Oil storage facilities at Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan.

Khartoum — IN A rare display of peaceful co-existence, villagers and cattle headers in South Sudan have agreed to share pastures and water resources.

The resources have been at the centre of the conflict that has left scores of people dead in the Eastern Equatoria regions.

There have been incidents of rape, destruction of crops and theft of livestock.

With indications that violence might escalate, the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations in South Sudan (UNMISS) decided to support an inter-communal forum aimed at resolving conflicts and strengthen traditional mechanisms to address disputes.

At the end of the two-day forum in the town of Bur, the feuding communities resolved to bury their differences and share pastures and water points.

"We have agreed together to hold anyone that will cause conflict between us accountable. This includes thieves of goats and cattle," said Oburak Alex, the local traditional chief.

Leah Chan, a representative of the UNMISS, lauded the villagers and pastoralists for resolving their disputes.

"What you have done is commendable. We encourage you to implement the resolutions," Chan said.

The clashes between nomadic herdsmen and villagers is among some crises battering South Sudan since a civil war in 2013.

Conflict has gripped the country since independence from Sudan two years earlier.

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