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Committee formed to facilitate return of cattle keepers from Equatoria

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A cattle keeper protects his herd with an AK-47 somewhere in South Sudan. Presence of arms in the hands of civilians is often said to be one of the reasons clashes recur among the pastoralist communities | Credit | bpnews.net

Local leaders representing pastoralists and farmers have agreed to form a committee that will facilitate movement of cattle out of farming areas in Greater Equatoria.

The leaders met in Juba yesterday during a consultative conference facilitated by the National Dialogue steering committee.

The resolution reiterates the commitment of the farmers and the cattle owners to abide by the decrees of the President.

The order banning cattle keepers from entering Equatoria region where farmers cultivate was issued 3 years ago by President Salva Kiir.

The President had instructed cattle keepers mainly from Terekeka, Jonglei and greater Lakes states to leave farming lands.

This was to help prevent violence over grazing areas, and to keep the farmlands safe for production.

But the directives have so far not been implemented by neither the organized forces nor the cattle keepers.

Last month, elders from Lobonok area of Jubek state complained that armed cattle keepers were still living in the farming areas of the County.

They said the continued presence of the cattle in their areas pose a great threat to farming and people’s livelihood.

Read Related story: https://www.eyeradio.org/cattle-keepers-asked-to-leave-equatoria-states/

After a series of meetings in Juba, the National Dialogue steering committee yesterday revealed that a committee that will facilitate the return of the pastoralists to their respective states will be presented to the President for endorsement.

“The committee will request the President to task a military unit or a contigent that will implement this, because the cattle will have to be driven under the supervision of some military or whatever force that will be agreed upon,” said Abdon Agau, a member of the National Dialogue steering committee.

He said the reconstitute the committee  that will be composed of representatives from the six communities of Terekeka, Jonglei, Jubek, Gbudwe, Western and Eastern Lakes, will work with the organized forces to facilitate a safe and harmonious return of the cattle keepers.

“The committee will then coordinate with the military commander and agree on routes, and other strategies to make the repatriation of the cattle a success,” he said.

The cattle keepers that have remained in Equatoria farming lands are mainly; Bor, Mundari, Atuot, and Aliab communities.

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