“The UN and our government should broker peace here and establish Community Policing Relations Committees in the area to control the youth. They break every peace agreement, raid, beat and kill us and our daughters,” said Madalina Nahitare, a representative from the Toposa community.
A peace dialogue conducted two years ago in Napak, of Budi County, to reconcile youth of Toposa of Riwoto in Kapoeta North County and those of Buya in Budi County seemed to have initially resolved differences. However, cattle raids, roadside robberies and revenge killings resumed, with women and children among the targets.
“We need the resolution that talks about free movement for women and children to be implemented. That way we can access our farms and cultivate our food without fear and panic,” said Lucy Anthony, a Buya representative.
The old peace deal reached in Napak in November 2019 prohibited actions targeting women, children, and the elderly. It was also agreed that violators be handed over to the government, that pastures and other communal resources should be shared and the feeder road between Napak and Riwoto re-opened with strengthened security.
At a new peace dialogue held in Kapoeta South County, funded and facilitated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, representatives from the feuding parties assessed the progress and failures of that agreement.
“Most of you were there at the time. We know what went well and what was never implemented, and now you have made amendments to the previous resolutions,” said Marko Miljevic, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the UN peacekeeping mission. “The time has come for both sides to respect what you have just agreed on for peace to reign.”
The recent establishment of new state governments across the country, including in Eastern Equatoria State, gives both parties hope of a better and more peaceful future.
“I want to make it clear that this time our state will do everything it takes to achieve sustainable peace. My ministry will support communities who are taking initiatives to reconcile with one another,” said Marko Lokidor, Minister of Peacebuilding in the state.