UNMISS backs grassroots initiatives in Yei

Participants at the Peace dialogue posed for a group photo in front of a church in Mugo Payam of Yei River County (Photo: James Innocent)

By James Innocent

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) backed up a peace dialogue initiated by Yei County peace committee at the grassroots in Mugo Payam of Yei River County of Central Equatoria State.

The peace dialogue organized by the Yei River County Peace Committee in collaboration with UNMISS brought together over hundred participants drawn from different Clans of Mugo Payam, which involved the Executive chiefs, head chiefs, locals, religious leaders and UNMISS represented with its protection teams.

 The dialogue aims to mitigate issues causing conflicts in the community, advocate for forgiveness and reconciliation among the people so that they live in a peaceful coexistence.

The UNMISS team leader in Yei James Mugo Murtihi said the dialogue came following a request by the Yei River County peace committee to address the issues to deal with dialogue and challenges affecting the people of Mugo Payam since the 2016 war till now.

He further noted that the dialogue was meant to improve the military-civil relations and to look into improving peaceful coexistence in the community which is one the mandates of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

“Forgiveness starts with you, by forgetting the past and living as one community of Mugo through reconciliation and our commitment to the grassroots is very important so that people forgive and reconcile with each other. Murtihi explained to the participants.

“And every solider in the Country has to respect civil population for the nation to realize a fruitful peace and during the 2016 crises we found difficulties to asses some of the areas like Lasu, Morobo and Kupera and now we are able to at least reach some of the areas to mitigate some of the issues arising in the communities through forgiveness and reconciliation,” he added.

The Paramount chief of Yei River who is the chairperson of the peace committee of Yei, Joseph Brown lo Moses expressed gratitude for the turn up of the people for the dialogue so that they look into the challenges facing the people of Mugo and other clans like Payawa and Yamba.

He said it’s very difficult for someone from national level to understand the problems affecting the people of Mugo from the grassroots; however he hailed the peace dialogue for bringing people together.

“I also thank the Executive director of Mugo Payam in the due course of coming up with the dialogue to identify issues that are taking place in the Payam of Mugo and appreciates the support rendered by UNMISS for supporting the peace dialogue that has brought over hundreds participants from the Payam to reconcile and forgive each other because when we tell the truth that means we can realize a total peace in the community,” Moses said “Like someone saying where is the peace!, So this dialogue is the beginning of realization of peace because there are other issues that we are not supposed to look into as community leaders but all things comes from the national level to the grassrootS level,” he cited.

The Payam director of Mugo, Mr. Lomodong Samuel Rufas appreciated the Yei peace committee and UNMISS for supporting the long awaited dialogue in Mugo for especially the clans of Yamba and Bura Na Paringi as the committees have been conducting all people’s dialogues in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State.

 “This dialogue is brought for you as people of Payawa in Mugo Payam so that you as participants point out issues affecting the community and you as people living in Mugo Payam without fear so that there is forgiveness and reconciliation for what is really causing issues of rampart killings and hatred among others as there has been a lot of killings in Mugo Payam most especially people living in Payawa,” he lamented.

An elder known as Samuel Waru from Ligi Boma stated that they talk on the issues of love and forgiveness whenever there is conflict and when the main cause of the conflict is figured out they normally solve issues to deal with inter marriage by slaughtering a sheep.

We called on the Mundari cattle herders and Dinka cattle herders’ chiefs and asked them whether their animals were grazed in Mugo before their ancestors, not later than that we agreed to give them fourteen weeks period for them to vacate the area and before reaching the fourteen days they already left the area,” he cited.

The elder however said it was in few months’ time that the cattle herders returned back to loot indigenous cows which he described as a painful game to the locals in Mugo.

He further lamented that after herders raided the cows from their land, then later the SPLA IO loyal to Dr. Riek Machar took full control of the cattle raiders.

“So, exactly we do not know where exactly this cattle keepers are getting guns and bullets from as it’s a big task to the government of Central Equatoria State to look into such atrocities committed against our communities of Mugo by our neighboring communities, and with all this we chased those coming to destroy our land because what we want is peace in our communities,” elder Waru stressed.

Meanwhile a women representative Mrs. Cecilia Gire from Yamba Clan stated, that they have a lot of challenges facing them as women in Payawa since 2016 to date that they still encounter.

“We moved in different places in Yei, we found that dialogues have been conducted in those Bomas in the County of Yei and we appreciate the initiative supported by UNMISS and Yei County peace Committee for joining the dialogue,” Gire said.

“I urge the people of Mugo to have a lasting peace with truth and forgiveness so that we develop our Payam because we produce youths and they are the ones targeted and killed, so those behind killing of young people should stop it because many young people failed to come back to their motherland since the 2016 crises till now and others swore not to come back forever,” she underlined.

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