Participants at a cattle migration conference in Duk Padiet in Greater Jonglei have decided to maintain peaceful relations with their neighbours despite some attacks having taken place in the area.
We resolve to live at peace with our neighbours, just as we have done over the past years, but we wish to draw the attention to raiders who constantly abduct our children and kill our livestock, Ater Bayak Ater, a visibly worried youth leader said, urging for everyone to be disarmed and to respect the rule of law.
More wishes were expressed by Yar Den Kuany, representing the Dinka Duk community.
We need additional water ponds, mobile clinics for both pastoralists and livestock, and mobile schools for our children in the cattle camps during migration, she pleaded.
Duk Padiet County serves as a grazing area for cattle keepers not only in Duk but also for neighbouring herdsmen in communities like Ayod and Uror.
Some of the 72 cattle camp leaders from a number of counties, representing different ethnicities, had walked for nine hours to attend the conference, organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Fortunately, the marathon walkers found the gathering most useful.
David Dau Kuany, deputy paramount chief of Duk, pointed out that the ethnically diverse communities have all coexisted peacefully, aided by inter-marriages, trading and sharing of grazing land. We do not intend to change that. We are the same people, he stressed.
Representing the peacekeeping mission, Samuel Sarpong, said that previous experiences have shown its Civil Affairs Division that organizing these kinds of pre- and post-migration (of cattle) conferences have proved effective in reducing incidents of violence between nomadic herders and host communities.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan