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Ending Jonglei’s conflict requires genuine reconciliation – diplomat

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Thursday, August 6, 2020

Some Jonglei youth in possession of illegal arms | Credit | File photo

Efforts to stop recurrent conflicts in Jonglei will require addressing the deep-rooted causes of violence, the European Union’s Ambassador to South Sudan has said.

Amb. Sinead Walsh believes that a holistic approach that includes the provision of essential services and genuine reconciliation will help end the circle of violence.

“Jonglei has been plagued by conflict for quite long and the situation needs to be changed,” she said during an event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Juba.

“Part of the way that the situation will change is through livelihoods being provided to the population – to the youth and to the women. For example, we have a very strong focus on education and jobs has the sought of long term solution to the conflict.”

Since the beginning of 2020, there have been reports of violent clashes in counties of Jonglei and the Pibor Administrative Area – involving armed youth from rival communities – over cattle, child abduction, and revenge killings.

In June, President Salva Kiir tasked Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga with resolving the ethnic conflict in the state and Pibor Administrative Area.

In July, local chiefs in Twic East and Duk counties agreed to recall their armed youth who are reportedly carrying out revenge and cattle related attacks in Pibor Administrative Area.

Amb. Walsh urged every leader, particularly those from Jonglei to fully support the quest for peace in the state.

“The politicians [need] really to redouble efforts to enable reconciliation to take place. In the short term, we really need everybody to come together – politicians, chiefs, community leaders,” she added.

In response, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Dau Dau, who comes from the state, stated that the armed youth are responding to the peace initiative led by the Vice President, Wani Igga.

“There is a positive response to that effect. So, communities are retreating to their community,” he told the gathering.

In May 2012, traditional leaders from six communities in Jonglei and Pibor administrative area signed an agreement in Bor town to end the inter-tribal conflict in the state.

Some of the resolutions that were to be implemented include; combating abductions; holding meetings among cattle camp youth, compensation for those killed; tracing, identifying and returning abductees; discussing bride prices; and amnesty for stolen cattle.

The state and national government to set up effective buffer zones; recruit youths into organized forces; arrest and try culprits; protect civilians; enhance security force equipment; conduct aerial surveillance, share resources equitably; and create employment.

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