A woman struck a poignant note with her appeal at a peace and reconciliation forum in the south-east of South Sudan.
As a mother, my prayer to God is for the elders to help the youth unite for peace in Jie and not be the ones stoking the fires of conflict, cried out Sabina Narem, an elderly woman from the Jie community in Kassengor, located in the country’s Eastern Equatoria region.
The dialogue brought together the four clans of South Sudan’s Jie ethnic group.
Our unity is paramount. It is time to serve the interests of our community for progress, pleaded Abraham Natab, a member of the Jie community and a local government minister in Boma.
Entangled in years of intra-communal clashes that raged over disagreements on how to share grazing fields and water points, the Jie communities have seen very little infrastructural development in their area � a situation further complicated by revenge killings and political differences. Basic social amenities such as running water, schools and health centres are therefore non-existent.
We have thousands of children of school-going age that do not have access to education. Our communities are also cut off from basic amenities because of our disunity, Abraham Natab continued.
At the three-day peace and reconciliation forum organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the chiefs and people of the four clans of Jie agreed to reunite for peace, with the hope that this new path will foster development.
The aim of this dialogue is to build consensus on the way forward for the entire Jie community, so that you can present a united front during future peace dialogues with your neighbours from the Murle, Toposa and Kachipo ethnic groups, said Bashir Aligelle, a representative of UNMISS.
Resolutions reached at the dialogue revolve around stricter law enforcement, respect of territorial boundaries, and enhanced engagement between the community members and the police.
It is envisaged that future dialogues between the Jie communities and the neighbouring Toposa, Kachipo and Murle will contribute to durable peace in Eastern Equatoria: cattle raiding, revenge killings and child abductions, for instance, are rife among these neighbouring communities.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan