By Deng Machol
Politicians and local leaders from South Sudan’s greater Pibor Administrative Area are seeking an end to communal violence, and strengthening of peace and unity through reconciliatory efforts.
Both sets of leaders convened for a three days’ retreat last week to brainstorm on ways forward to ensure peace returns to the area.
Pibor has endemic communal violence which has often suck in the whole region, from the Dinka and lou Nuer areas.
The violence are usually perpetrated in cattle raids, revenge attacks and abduction of children and women.
“As politicians, we are the drivers of all these cattle-related incidents among our communities and so, for us to succeed in restoring peace and stability, all politicians must get involved,” Lokoli Amee Bullen, the Chief Administrator of Greator Pibor said during the retreat held in Pibor town.
“For us in Greater Pibor, we are united and hope this will bring peace,” Bullen said.
The leaders discuss their political differences, local community conflict drivers, and strategies to address cattle raiding, age-set youth violence and child abduction during the retreat supported by UNMISS Civil Affairs Division, and UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion project.
The retreat encouraged youths to stop all vices including raiding cattle and abduction of children.
Bullen called on leaders in neighbouring States to follow in encouraging peace in their areas.
“We also need to get out and dialogue with the youth in different counties, to understand why they engage in these vices and how we can help them,” he said.
UNMISS Head of Civil Affairs Hazel De Wet warned “the narrative of the Greater Pibor area has for too long been negative” and urged the need to “cement peace in the interest of the entire community.”
“Greater Pibor is very rich [in resources] but we are not seeing these resources because of the crisis and the conflict between Murle, Nuer, Dinka, and so forth,” the Deputy Minister of Information, Baba Medan Konyi said.
“We need peace to see the fruits of our resources in Pibor,” Konyi said.