Who is responsible for the evacuation of cattle from the farmland, following bloody confrontations between heavily armed cattle herders and the vulnerable farming communities in the East and Central Equatoria States? This question is asked by many.

On Wednesday, two governors of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony and Louis Lobong Lojore of Eastern Equatoria, including the Minister in the President’s Office, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin appeared before the Council of States to clarify reasons why cattle herders were still present in farmlands.

The three prominent government figures all faulted the security agents for failing the evacuation of cattle from farmlands in the mentioned States. In 2015, President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Presidential order to vacate cattle from Equatoria region, and he gave the order to the head of security agents including the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Ministry of Interior including Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism.

Everyone was trying hard to detach themselves from issues related to insecurity caused by cattle herders to farming communities.

In defense of his summon, Minister in the President’s Office, Dr. Marial noted that, the step taken by the President was the feeling to keep peace, and the tone reflected that South Sudan has people who depends on agriculture and pastoralism.

And the two governors complained about lack of logistical support from the national government to enforce orders for immediate evacuation of cattle from farmlands.

On his part, Eastern Equatoria State’s Governor Louis Lobong said, the organized forces in the State are poorly equipped compared to the cattle herders, and they lack logistics needed for robust and effective intervention against insecurity posed by the heavily armed cattle herders.

Yet again, Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil said, the presence of huge number of sophisticated firearms in the hands of cattle herders, in addition to unregulated cattle migration is complex as they continue posing insecurity and threats to farming communities. 

He said that his government is faced with inadequate financial and logistical support from the national government to enable him enforce order to vacate cattle from farmlands to their original land.

There is absolutely no question in anyone’s mind that Governor Adil and Lobong including Minister in the Office of the President have been responsible for the evacuation of cattle herders from the farmlands.  

Whom do you think or expect to be responsible for the delay or refusal to evacuate cattle from agricultural land of Equatoria since President gave an order for the evacuation of the cattle?

The discussion ended with a lengthy tribute to the security agents. As the high-ranking government officials told the Council of States that they were not responsible to vacate the cattle; even if they were responsible, it was alright to require well equipped security agents to prove they are not behind delay of cattle evacuation.

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