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Pressure mounts on Twic-Ngok communities to embrace peace

By William Madouk


Two prominent personalities from Twic of Warrap and Ngok of Abyei are appealing to the communities to cease hostilities, reconcile and embrace peace, after bloody clashes.

Mr. Bona Malual and Dr. Francis Mading both call for peaceful coexistence of the two communities.

Dr. Mading, an Abyei intellectual, lamented that the persistent fight among the two communities has caused severe pain among peace-loving South Sudanese and beyond.

According to Dr. Mading, in a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the Twic-Ngok conflict has shattered the social fabric of the people.

“The conflict has caused much suffering and death for both sides, burned to ashes numerous homes and villages, and shattered centuries of the close affinities that have made these communities one people,” Dr. Mading noted.

He implored that “this spreading violence must be brought to a speedy end.”

The senior citizen hinted that as leaders and elders, they are duty-bound to support President Salva Kiir in his quest for immediate cessation of hostilities and put to an end, any debate on border disputes until the final status of Abyei is determined.

“The role of elders in our indigenous culture is to stop violence without prejudice to rights and wrongs,” he added. “Disputes should be peacefully discussed and amicably resolved.”

Dr. Mading also appealed to the president to intensify his efforts in implementing orders to stop the Twic-Ngok conflict and other inter-communal clashes happening across South Sudan.

Meanwhile, Bona Malual, a veteran South Sudanese politician from Twic Mayardit County in Warrap State, said he has been monitoring the unfortunate cycle of violence with sadness and sorrow for months now.

“This is an appeal to you, Twic Mayardit community, to please disengage and put an end to any further form of violence,” said Malual.

“Wait for how the government of the Republic of South Sudan will act, especially in implementing the recent Republican Orders of the President of the Republic of South Sudan of January 16, 2024, on the conflict between Twic and Ngok Dinka,” he added.

According to the United Nations, a fresh clash between Twic and Ngok last weekend claimed the lives of 54 people, including two UN peacekeepers, and left many others with injuries.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said it “strongly condemns these attacks against civilians and peacekeepers.”

“Currently, according to local authorities, 52 civilians have lost their lives, while 64 others are said to be gravely wounded,” it said.

UNISFA added that peacekeepers came under fire on Sunday “while transporting affected civilians from a UNISFA base to a hospital.”

A Pakistani peacekeeper was killed, and “four uniformed personnel and one local civilian sustained injuries,” it said.

Also, a Ghanaian peacekeeper had been killed on Saturday, UNISFA added, calling for an investigation into the violence.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence and appealed to the governments of both sides to investigate so those responsible could be brought to justice, said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, with attacks on peacekeepers potentially constituting a war crime.

According to authorities in the Abyei Special Administrative Area, armed youths and a local rebel militia carried out a series of “barbaric coordinated attacks,” starting on Saturday morning.

Rou Manyiel Rou, secretary general for the Abyei Special Administrative Area, said on Saturday that the violence was tied to a long-running “conflict between (the) Ngok and Twic” communities.

But the government of Warrap State protested allegations from Abyei Administrative that youth from Twic Dinka and their colleagues who are loyal to the spiritual leader Gai Machiek were responsible for the weekend attacks.

Mr. William Wol, Warrap State Information Minister, affirmed in a statement that the Warrap government is committed to ensuring stability between the Ngok-Twic communities.

He said the state government conducted a thorough investigation from several sources until they found out that it was not Machiek’s forces that fought the Ngok-Dinka.

He noted that Machiek did not intrude in the recent Ngok-Dinka clashes and the Bul-Nuer armed youth in Abyei town, adding that the spiritual leader is rather preparing to leave the state in compliance with President Kiir’s order.

In a statement published on Monday, Britain, Norway, and the United States, the international Troika, said they were “deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in recent months between communities living in and around Abyei.”

“All leaders who have influence with involved communities and who fail to use it to support peace are demonstrating their disregard for the interests of their people,” the Troika said.

The attacks follow clashes in November last year that killed 32 people, including a UN peacekeeper.


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