UNMISS in an effort to ensure peacebuilding IN Rumbek community organized a two-day dialogue organized jointly by the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Ministry for Peacebuilding in Rumbek recently concluded in Wulu county.
South Sudan has been wracked by years of political, interethnic, and intercommunal violence exacerbated by border and oil revenue disputes with Sudan.
Following the 2011 signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that gave the country its independence from Sudan, the predominantly north-south conflict has given way to a pattern of internal violence.
Since December 2013, the country has experienced an intermittent civil war waged between President Salva Kiir’s government and the SPLA on one side, and the rebel forces of the SPLM-IO, led by former Vice President Riek Machar, on the other hand.
A 2015 peace agreement has failed to prevent outbreaks of ethnic and political violence and the conflict has continued despite international support for state-building and peacekeeping – including the 12,000-strong UNMISS force, deployed since 2011.
Various factions had signed what was supposed to be a permanent ceasefire on December 21, 2017, in an effort to revive the 2015 peace agreement; however, the ceasefire was violated three days later. However in 2018, a Revitalized Peace agreement was signed between the rival leaders that saw Dr. Riek Machar appointed First Vice President
The main aim of the dialogue was to bring together the communities residing in Barghel, Wulu county, and Agangerial, Cuiebet county, and enable discussions between them to reduce instances of intercommunal conflict and enhance peaceful coexistence.
For the past five years, tensions between residents of both counties have remained high and often resulted in clashes that resulted in loss of lives, destruction of property and displacement.
The event was attended by the county commissioners of both Wulu and Cuiebet and brought together youth groups, women’s representatives, community leaders and elders to find solutions to ending the internecine strife.
Speaking at the event, Jimma Dafalla Rajaf, County Commissioner, Wulu, encouraged both communities to resolve disputes amicably and create an environment that encourages displaced people to return to their original settlements.
The cost of intercommunal conflict is borne by innocent people women, young children and men, Commissioner Rajaf. If you want your children to have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves, you will have to shoulder individual responsibilities and work together to usher in a more harmonious environment for them to grow up and complete their education.”
Also I attendance was Isaiah Akol Mathiang, County Commissioner who further echoed the there is nothing positive that emerges out of conflict. It only prolongs the suffering of communities. So, I urge all of you to embrace peace, dialogue and resolve to build social cohesion in Barghel from the ground up. Once there is peace, you will all be able to cultivate your farms and usher in an era of prosperity and stability for everybody.”
During the dialogue, Abraham Makon, a community representative, stressed that residents of both counties have already made steps to reconcile their differences and put aside the scars of the past.
He said they are grateful to the state government and UNMISS for their efforts in improving the overall security situation in our areas which has greatly improved our ability to move freely and boost our livelihoods through small trade. he averred.
Additionally, Abraham said that despite the unprecedented times, they understand the valuable currency that is durable peace and are making efforts to resolve all misunderstandings between the two communities.
Safety, stability and respect for the rule of law is something that every community member has a duty to contribute to. While attending the dialogue, all people were encouraged to work with authorities to ensure that criminals and to reduce its occurrence in the first place.
The two-day forum ended with recommendations for free movement of people, sharing of resources, formation of special courts for speedy justice and joint efforts to reduce criminality.
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