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Civil-military dialogue reconciles civilian, soldier in Lainya County

LAINYA September 25, 2023 – Edward Ladu and South Sudan army (SSPDF) soldier John Maciek did not see eye-to-eye following a bitter fight that had occurred between them.

The duo hailed from Lainya County in Central Equatoria State (CES) of South Sudan.

Ladu wounded Maciek and ran away, but the latter vowed to revenge on him.

“I ran to a refugee camp in Uganda, but Maciek followed me,” narrated Ladu.

He added, “He wanted to kill me. That is why he kept looking for me everywhere”.

Last week, however, Ladu and Maciek reconciled at a civil-military dialogue organized by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in Wuji payam of Lainya.

The event, conducted from September 20-22, took place in Limoru Boma of Wuji payam.

The initiative, in partnership with the UN migration agency (IOM) and in collaboration with Lainya County Peace Committee and Lainya County Administration, sought to address issues affecting civilians and the military in order to create a peaceful and conducive environment for refugees and internally displaced persons to return and rebuild their lives.

Joel Yeka, a field officer with CEPO, said the three-day dialogue aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence, bridge the negative perception and stereotype to build trust and confidence through reconciliation to restore peaceful coexistence, acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion between the civilians and the military within the payam.

“Peace comes from among ourselves in the community, not from our leaders,” he said.

Yeka said civil-military dialogues pave way for reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.

The dialogue also resolved, among others, that the Lainya County Peace Committee be mandated to mediate peace talks between the hold-out groups and the government.

Retired Bishop Elioba Luko from the Lainya Peace Committee said the civil-military dialogue urged the chiefs and military commanders to establish effective communication mechanisms to create good relationship between civilian and the army.

“There is a need for total forgiveness and reconciliation between the civilians and the army and to forget the past. This is the importance of conducting a dialogue,” said Luko.

He added, “We appeal to the organizers to ensure that all these resolutions passed in this dialogue should be disseminated to all the chiefs and other concerned authorities”.

The need to enhance good relationship between army and civilians through regular meetings chiefs and army commanders, refraining from making unnecessary allegations and ensuring perpetrators of violence face justice were some resolutions of the dialogue. A total of 110 participants attended the dialogue organized by a consortium comprising of CEPO, Finn Church Aid (FCA), Support for Peace and Education Development Program (SPEDP), Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI). It is led by IOM.


We, the people of Wuji Payam in Lainya County together with the SSPDF – Ground Forces deployed to protect the people, properties and the natural resources of Lainya County;

Remembered the legacy of our heroes and heroines, unity, dignity and the peaceful co-existence of the people of South Sudan in general; and Wuji Payam in particular; Recognized that the 2013 and 2016 civil wars in South Sudan mostly affected and displaced the people of South Sudan in general; and particularly the people of Wuji Payam; 

Cognizant and Mindful of the facts that the heinous and barbaric behaviors of the individual soldiers and the cattle keepers contributed to more destruction of livelihood and displacement of the people of Wuji Payam to the refugee and IDP camps inside and outside South Sudan;

Aware of the, targeted killings between the individual civilian and soldiers; rape of young girls and elderly women; intra and inter communal conflicts between the farmers and the cattle keepers; displacement of innocent women, elderly and the children; and the general suffering of the grassroots;

Conscious of the danger that if the basic services are not provided, mediation between fallout groups and Government not conducted, cattle keepers not educated to adopt new methods of cattle ranching; and the Revitalized Peace Agreement implemented in letter and spirit; may aggravate new conflicts, disunity, displacement and more suffering to the people of Wuji Payam and South Sudan in general; 

Committed to immediate restoration of peace, justice, harmony and peaceful co-existence through dialogues and awareness raising among the civilian, and the military;

Therefore, CEPO took this initiative in partnership with IOM and in collaboration with the Lainya County Peace Committee and Lainya County Administration to address issues affecting both the civilian and the military in order to create a peaceful and conducive environment for refugees and IDPs to return and rebuild their lives in Wuji Payam Lainya County.

          The Resolutions:

The Lainya County Peace Committee with support from CEPO and in collaboration with the Administration of Lainya County conducted a three days Civilian – Military Dialogue in Wuji Payam, Lainya County and came out with the following resolutions:-

  1. The Wuji civilian – military Dialogue resolved that the Government should grant mandate to the Lainya County Peace Committee to mediate peace talks between fall-out groups and the Government.
  2. The Wuji Payam dialogue resolved that Chiefs and the Military Commanders should establish effective communication mechanisms in order to create good relationship between the civilian and the military in Wuji Payam.
  3. The civilian – military dialogue in Wuji Payam resolved for the need to construct Kiju Bridge to ease movement of the civilians between Koyoki Boma and other Bomas in Wuji Payam
  4. The Wuji dialogue recommended for the deployment of Payam Director and completion of Local Government Structures in Wuji Payam.
  5. The Civilian – Military dialogue resolved for the need to enhance good Relationship between Army and Civilians through conducting regular meetings by chiefs and army commanders
  6. The dialogue resolved that civilian – military personnel should refrain from making unnecessary allegations.  
  7. The dialogue also resolved that wrong doers such as thieves once caught should be handed to local government Administrators, Chiefs, and/or Army Commanders to face Justice.
  • The dialogue also resolved that the County administrators, Chiefs and the Military Commander should regulate, control and restrict drinking of alcohol by both the civilian and the soldiers. For example, both the County and the Military Commander should pass an order that ban drinking of alcohol in the working hours and also restrict soldiers only to drink alcohol inside the barrack after work.
  • The dialogue recommended the Local Government to basic social service infrastructures such as schools, health centers in all the Bomas of Wuji Payam specially Koyoki Boma
  • The dialogue recommended that individuals or Companies seeking to do logging activities Must first obtain permission from Landlords and Local Government Authorities
  • The dialogue participants resolved that Lainya County Local Government Authorities to visit Koyoki Boma to acquaint themselves with the humanitarian situation.
  • The Civil-Military Dialogue resolved that, CEPO through collaboration with the Consortium Partners should advocate to other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to rehabilitate social utilities such as water sources, provision of Humanitarian Needs to the people of Wuji Payam
  • The Civil-Military dialogue participants Recommended both civil population and military personnel in Wuji Payam to embrace the spirit of Love, Unity, and Respect between the Army and the Civilians
  • The Civil-Military Dialogue recommended for both civilians and the military to pray and worship together
  • The Civil-Military Dialogue recommended the Army to avoid revenge killing in Wuji Payam in order to attract more returnees from the refugee camps in Uganda and some IDPs who are currently in Yaribe, Birigo, and Yei among other places.
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