By Theem Isaac Machar Akot
Since the government graduated over three thousand unified forces, a first genuine step to permanent peace, another step left to ensure prevalence and permanence of peace all over the country is disarming civilians carrying unauthorized weapons.
The civil war which erupted in 2013, divided the country into two halves: government rival factions and communal violence sponsored by civilians among themselves across the country. No part could stand a chance in support of the other. The war devastated the country so much and that permanent peace worth observing to recover all losses incurred then.
As the national government is quite stable now, there is a need of every possible effort exerted to bring an end to communal conflicts. Situations worsen day by day as a result of the numerous guns possessed by the trigger-happy civilians in Unity State, Lakes State, Warrap State and Pibor Administrative Area. Peace in these states means peace in South Sudan as a whole.
Communal violence is the most dangerous factor contributing to reduction of the country’s population. Thousands of people in rural areas died over the recent years with millions of cattle raided. In about forty to fifty years communal fights and cattle rustling were interstate and intercommunity practices, but now, the thing had spread to some unexplainable extent. Sections of the same community divide, fight and raid from one another. For example, during the time of our fathers, Lakes state in general fought against Unity state, and Gok community of Cueibet County at the same time fought against Agar Pakam community of Rumbek North County. But now, the story is different; sections within Gok are fighting and raiding cattle from one another and so do sections in Agar which is very humiliating.
Revenge killings become the order of the day in villages, cattle camps and along highways linking Juba city to states; innocent educated people and foreigners have been killed. Such senseless fights completed some family members in Lakes State for example. However, it is my appeal as well as others to the national government to look into the issue of communal conflicts this year to comprehensively and thoroughly disarm unauthorized weapons in the hands of civilians all over the country. They are badly finishing themselves and they are the country’s backbone. Not only do such acts claim lives, but also wealth and peace.
Disarmament had been carried out more severally, especially in Lakes State, but guns return to civilians within a scheduled year for disarmament. Therefore, when time comes for it, make sure that well trained soldiers will only carry it out so that guns should not return to them as it often happens. There is also a very destructive issue in county and payam levels happening nowadays; civilians are recruited right from cattle camps to organized armed forces. What can these primitive recruits do when they are involved in issues pertaining disarmament? They will turn it to business __ collect weapons from fellow civilians and sell them back to the same people they were collected from, therefore, the harder the government gets rid of those firearms. National army too has got goons who escaped government duties and make alliance with civilians through trading with them in selling and buying guns. I call upon the national government to look into the case of these groups.
There is also improper disarmament conduct for instance; one state can be disarmed leaving the rival neighbouring state with fire arms and later attack the disarmed neighbour. This happens for political reasons, there are those who do not want existence of others, hence, they intentionally plan it against them to make them suffer. Let those who do not want lives of thousands of South Sudanese die first before they plan for their death. Have a blessed Friday!
The writer is a first year student at university of Juba, school of Education. He can be reached on the contact: email@example.com