By Yang Ater Yang
Representatives from Warrap, Unity, and Lakes States gathered for a three-day peace dialogue.
The event is organized by Wunlit Triangle, a consortium of peace building organizations with support from Safer World.
The conference, held from Tuesday 6th to Thursday 8th February 2024, aimed to address ongoing border conflicts and foster peaceful coexistence among communities of the three states.
50 participants, including chiefs, women leaders, and youth representatives, discussed solutions to border conflicts, cattle raiding, and other issues plaguing the region.
Minister of Peace building in Lakes State, Beny Matur Mathiang, highlighted the dialogue’s purpose:
“This is a follow-up to last year’s conference, where we reviewed implemented resolutions and identified new ones.” He stated.
He attributed some unimplemented solutions to the lack of deployment of unified border forces and insufficient partner support.
Participants identified cattle raiding, land disputes, and revenge killings as major challenges triggering conflicts across the three states.
The dialogue however proposed a couple of solutions to the violence which included; establishing joint border police patrols, building roads to connect communities and facilitate communication.
Furthermore; setting up special border courts for faster justice, disarming civilians and implementing the national disarmament law and finally returning looted cattle and establishing mechanisms for conflict resolution.
Community Leaders Take Ownership
Daniel Laat Kon, CEPO coordinator in Lakes State and the facilitator of the dialogue, emphasized the active participation of chiefs, women, and youth leaders in creating action plans.
Paramount Chief William Paul from Unity State emphasized the need for road connectivity and shared grazing and fishing grounds.
For his part Paramount Chief Kon Arop from Warrap State stressed the importance of disarming civilians to combat cattle raiding and violence.
Meanwhile, Among-piny Payam’s paramount chief of Lakes State, Sultan Sabit Kuac Manyiel urged full implementation of the disarmament law and called for united action against cattle theft and road ambushes.
Apieng Malou Nhial, from Tonj North County, Warrap State representing women’s voices, highlighted their suffering in these conflicts and called for peace building across all three states.
“We used to talk to youth as women to cease violence because there are no schools, hospitals, or even food” she stated. “They just killed women, burned down their houses, raided cattle, and killed the husband.”
The dialogue concluded with a renewed commitment from all parties to implement the action plans and work towards lasting peace in the region.
The participants also acknowledged the need for collaboration between communities, government, and civil society organizations to address the root causes of conflict and build a more peaceful future for South Sudan.