Security Agents Failed to Evacuate Armed Herders, Dr. Marial

The Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin answering questions on security threats (photo: Taban Henry)

By Taban Henry

Government on Wednesday faulted the security agencies in the country for failing to evacuate the cattle herders. The Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin made the statement to the Council of States following their summon by the august house.

The Minister blamed security agencies and urged them to gently take charge of the responsibility to see that the order is implemented.  Dr. Marial is among the three officials summoned over the ongoing security threats across the states.

Earlier this year, there was an influx of cattle from Jonglei into Central Equatoria states and Magwi county of Eastern Equatoria State.

In 2015, President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Presidential Decree ordering for the evacuation of cattle camps majorly originating from Jonglei, Lakes, and Warrap from Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria states and directed the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, the National Security and the Wildlife Conservation to implement the order.

“The step taken by the presidential decree order for the evacuation of cattle herders was the tone to keep peace, the tone reflected that this country has people who depend on agriculture as well as those who depend on both agriculture and pastoralism,” he added.

He added that the Chief of Defence of SSPDF formerly SPLA was directed to forcefully implement this order and liaise with UNMISS commander to provide assistance in terms of transport and security to the vulnerable people accompanying the pastoralists returning to their respective states. The leaders of the pastoralist communities being evacuated should direct the pastoralists to cooperate with the SPLA forces who are doing the evacuation.

“The Presidential orders have been implemented whether they have been followed to the rightful conclusion but implementation has been there. Those who have not responded to take their cattle where they came from, it is the duty of the police, the army and the other security agencies to assist the governors in the states to make sure that the process is done,” Marial added.

“You are aware of the logistical challenges mentioned by the two governors who said there is need of instruments needed to carry out the order. Once the president gives an order it is expected to be implemented there have been some reasons why it has never been successful to respond to the order,” he added.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs stressed that there are already consequences where people are killing themselves in a land of 644,000 square kilometers, the most fertile area with all the grazing lands you can ever get, can it be the problem that can cause death in our communities because people are not able to control their animals?

He called on people to look into those cattle herders particularly those from Jonglei they are both farmers and cattle owners but they don’t allow cattle to enter their farms and when they do that the local laws will hold them accountable and will therefore control them. “There have to be laws that hold people accountable but not through killing your fellow comrades so the law has to be established to control the movement of cattle. Our citizens are killing themselves on an issue which can become economically viable to this country. While solving the problems of cattle herders let us also put the economic value of the country in becoming number two in the continent with the highest number of cattle,” he stressed.

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