The Azande and Balanda ethnic groups have initiated peace and reconciliation dialogue in Tombura County of Western Equatoria State.
The peace initiative came following last year’s deadly communal violence in which more than 200 people got killed and 80,000 were displaced.
Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, Minister of Public Services and senior community leader from Western Equatoria State, said engaging in peaceful dialogue will restore peace in Tombura County.
“There is an initiative in Tombura where the communities of Azande and Balanda come together to begin talking about peace among themselves,” Bakosoro revealed during the launch of the registration of Azande people in Juba over the weekend.
The conflict between the two ethnic groups was fought between fighters supported by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and those supported by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO).
“Because the more you wait for external forces or people from outside to come to bring to us peace, I think they can’t bring the best peace,” Bakosoro said.
“Peace begins with us in the house, when you quarrel with your wife don’t expect a neighbour to come and solve your problems. If you have a good will, social will or political will then begin to talk among yourselves,” he added.
Bakosoro sounded hopeful that this community-led dialogue will restore lasting peace among once warring communities.
“If we succeed in Tombura to bring peace among ourselves, I will appeal to South Sudanese to emulate the same that when people fight you don’t expect other people to come and stop the fight,” he disclosed.