A small community in Kidepo Valley in the Eastern Equatorian region of South Sudan has formed a Community Peace Committee in an effort to stop cattle rustling as well as fighting among residents over grazing land and water points.
In an area where revenge killings and attacks were becoming increasingly common, UNMISS Field Office in Torit together with the Eastern Bank Adolescent Group Organization facilitated a one-day peace dialogue and two days of conflict management training to help promote peace in the area.
The initiative provided participants with tools to help them mitigate recurrent conflict amongst communities in Kidepo Valley.
The Kidepo Commissioner said the training and peace dialogue would address these ongoing issues and provide an “avenue for concrete action” towards peace and reconciliation.
“Tell all the people in your community that we need peace in our land. We don’t want tribalism, killings, and movement with weapons in public. We want peace with our neighbors. This will attract people to come to this land. We have to be exemplary to others,” said Commissioner Lokeng.
Ohia Richard Lino, a member of the newly formed Community Peace Committee, said he will use the skills he acquired to sensitize other community members.
“As somebody who has been trained, I’m going to refer more people especially when I get a group in places like borehole,” he said. “I will tell them about peace so that they can change.”
Leah Chan from UNMISS’ Civil Affairs Division urged participants to be persistent and to “see change through with patience.”
“We hope you have a lot of energy for the process ahead because change for peace does not happen overnight. We have this energy and motivation from the training and we don’t have to keep it within these walls. Let what you’re doing with your peace committee be the starting point to inspire all your neighbors as well,” she said.
The new committee is made up of 30 members who include youth, women and chiefs from the local community.