Officials From Lo’bonok demands immediate removal of cattle.

Cattle herders walk with their herd of cows as they graze near Tonj, Warrap State, 16 February 2020. © AFP - Alex McBrideCattle herders walk with their herd of cows as they graze near Tonj, Warrap State, 16 February 2020. © AFP - Alex McBride

The Central Equatoria State officials from Lo’bonok Payam are demanding the immediate removal of cattle from the area.

The group accused the cattle herders of killing, looting of property, and displacement of indigenous people from the homes.

Addressing the media on  Thursday, Cosmas Juma Tranquillo, Legal Counsel to the Lo’bonok Organization Development Community Association (LODCA) said the regular State cabinet meeting suspended until the issue is addressed.

“Because of the cattle, our cabinet isn’t operating, and how will we wait if our cabinet isn’t working in our state?”

“That is why governor established the committee to work and ensure that all cattle in Central Equatoria State are returned to their original locations as soon as possible,” he explained.

The officials were reacting to a provision of a deal signed by Eastern Equatoria State security organs that permitted cattle keepers till July to return to their homes before they could use forceful means.

According to Mr. Tranquilo, allowing cattle keepers more time to stay in the area would cause more conflict.

They disagreed with the decision of Eastern Equatoria State to extend more grace period to the herders till July.

“That agreement is between the cattle keepers from Bor and Eastern Equatoria State. So, we are not part of that meeting that came up with the agreement that allows cattle herders to exist on our land until July,” he explained.

“How could you expect someone who wasn’t present at the meeting to follow a decision made in another state. The Central Equatoria State has its own governor, who is in charge of cattle concerns and is led by our security advisor,” Tranquilo protested

The legal adviser criticized the decision of Eastern Equatoria State authorities, saying the agreement, merely serves as a warning to the herders but does protect the locals.

“We require immediate removal of the cattle from this location. We won’t claim to be a member of the July proposal. From now on, we do not want to see any animals within CES,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Allahjabu Samson Sabur, a lawmakers in the R-TNLA representing  Lo’bonok, said they want cattle herders to return to their homeland without further delay.

“We are a different state called Central Equatoria State. What is called one and a half months for the cattle herders to go to their places of origin, is not our call.”

“This one and half a month are too long for us, the people of Lo’bonok. We want them to leave right now, not tomorrow, or in a month. Enough is enough for us,” Sabur echoed.

“We want them to leave now.”

This isn’t the first time officials from Eastern  Equatoria State have stated such a statement about the removal of cattle from their territory, but none of the previous requests have succeded.

The government of Central Equatoria State postponed cabinet meetings earlier this month and formed four committees to address the state’s main concerns, including the mandatory evacuation of cattle.

This was discussed at their most recent cabinet meeting shared by governor Emmanuel Adil Anthony.

The officials were told to disseminate the message of peace across the state.

They were also expected to reinforce the mandatory evacuation of marauding livestock herders to their origin areas and stop illegal logging.

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