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Lakes, Warrap, Unity chiefs call for Wunlit-like conference

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Friday, May 28, 2021

Cattle-related conflicts have claimed hundreds of lives in South Sudan | Credit | Unknown

Traditional leaders from three states prone to communal violence have asked President Salva Kiir to convene a chiefs’ conference to enable them to address their issues.

The leaders from Warrap, Unity, and Lakes states met with the President in Juba on Thursday.

Addressing the media at the State House, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial, narrated the outcome of the meeting between Kiir and the traditional leaders.

“They reminded themselves of the past and also discussed what could be done now in order to bring about peace among communities who are killing themselves,” Dr. Marial stated.

Their communities have been experiencing waves of communal violence, mainly fueled by revenge attacks, cattle raiding, and banditry.

Despite several disarmament exercises conducted in these states, armed youth continue to possess firearms.

A 2020 report by the UN Human Rights Commission concluded that the nature of the intercommunal conflicts has taken on an increasingly militarized character with military-style tactics and military-grade weapons.

It stressed that for peace in South Sudan to be durable, the government must act promptly.

Local leaders have often called on the national government to enforce past resolutions such as disarmament, formation of joint integrated police, among others.

In their meeting with the president, the traditional leaders recommended the revival of the famous ‘Wunlit’ peace conference.

The Wunlit Peace and Reconciliation Conference was organized in 1999 between the Dinka and the Nuer communities on the West Bank.

It is considered the most prominent example of a people-to-people peace process to address cattle raiding, looting, abductions of children and women, and targeted killings of civilians.

Observers have often underlined the importance of ending the circle of retaliatory violence by holding those responsible to account and promoting peace-building between individual communities.

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