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Enforce repatriation of cattle keepers — Ma’di leaders appeal to gov’t

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Saturday, September 26, 2020

Cattle keepers pass through Pageri in Eastern Equatoria State | Credit | Tobias Abuchan‎/Facebook

Community leaders in Pageri County have called on the national government to enforce the repatriation of cattle keepers to their areas of origin.

Located in Eastern Equatoria State, some parts of Pageri County is now occupied by cattle keepers who moved in after many of the natives fled into refugee camps four years ago due to the 2016 conflict.

But community leaders say they now find it difficult to reclaim some of their lands after armed cattle keepers turned their farmlands into grazing land.

The Governor of Eastern Equatoria State, Louis Lobong was welcomed by several complaints from the people in Pageri.

These include land grabbing, arbitrary arrests and detention, and conflict between farmers and cattle keepers.

Voicing their grievances, the Ma’di leaders urged the government to use force to push out armed cattle keepers who have occupied some places in the area.

They spoke on the state TV SSBC on Friday.

Last year, the Paramount Chief of the Ma’di community, Angelo Vuga Morgan, warned  against the alleged illegal sale of Ma’di land along the Juba – Nimule Highway to investors, at a time when over 90 percent of the Ma’di population is in refugee camps in the neighboring countries.

The population along the Juba – Nimule road were displaced by the 2016 violence.

The natives of the said they were uncertain over the presence of armed cattle keepers roaming the land that the Madi farmers traditionally cultivated.

Responding to the demands, Governor Lobong who met a group of Ma’di leader and Dinka chiefs in Nimule said the land issue will be addressed, but asked for more time.

He also urged the displaced host community to return home.

In 2017, President Salva Kiir issued a decree ordering cattle keepers to move all their livestock out of the Greater Equatoria region.

A committee was also set up to ensure that the animals were returned to their respective states.

However, the decree seems to have not been implemented due to unclear reasons.

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