Jonglei Governor launches campaign to ‘disarm minds’

Report
from UN Development Programme
Published on 26 Mar 2013

25 March 2013 – Bor

The Governor of Jonglei state, Honourable General Kuol Manyang Juuk, launched a ‘Community Security Caravan’ on Thursday, 22 March, which will use a multi-faceted community sensitisation approach that incorporates educational messaging and innovative drama to inform civilians about the dangers of acquiring and using small arms.

The Community Security Caravan, which stood in front of the Governors tent with a banner with the words “Bye Bye Guns – I Don’t Need You Anymore”, is a joint initiative by the South Sudan Bureau for Community Security & Small Arms Control (CSSAC Bureau) and UNDP’s Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) project with financial support from the European Union, the Government of Japan and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

Over the next year, the Caravan will go through the ten states of South Sudan with messages that have been carefully crafted to “disarm the minds” of civilians in South Sudan. The initiative seeks to complement a series of interactive radio programmes that earlier sought to dissuade civilians from acquiring arms as well as encourage those who already owned arms to peacefully surrender them to the police.

Governor Koul Manyang Juuk also acknowledged the gravity of the security situation in his state, and thanked the CSSAC Bureau and UNDP’s CSAC Project for choosing Bor to launch the Community Security Caravan. Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk explained the purpose of the Caravan, stating: “We fought with guns for 22 years to win our freedom. We now have the army and police to deal with our security concerns. Why should we fight against each other? It’s now time to fight against poverty using our minds – not guns.” The Honourable Governor appealed to all citizens in South Sudan to abandon inter-communal violence, hand over their guns to police and embrace peaceful methods of resolving disputes and conflicts. The Governor’s appeal provided appropriate echo to the words “Let’s Hold Hands – Not Guns” printed on the back of T-Shirts worn by the Jonglei Youth Mama band.

According to the Senior Inspector of the CSSAC Bureau in Jonglei state, Mr. Aguti Adut Aguti, since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, a total of 8,043 people have been killed by small arms and light weapons during political rebellions, cattle raiding, and child abductions in Jonglei state alone. Mr. Aguti urged citizens to give up guns, stating “Light weapons destroy us in so many ways. Let’s give them up and build a bright future for our children.”

Mr. Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director explained the objectives of the Community Security Caravan: “By the end of the Caravan’s tour, we hope the people of South Sudan, and particularly the youth, will begin to question the utility of violence and consider alternative means of dispute and conflict resolution.” Mr. Horváth, however, warned that further efforts must be launched and sustained to challenge attitudes, mind-sets, behaviours, and practices in order to promote peace and security and discourage the use of firearms.