MANYANG MAYOM/FILIP ANDERSSON
Representatives from districts of the counties of Tonj East and Tonj North had plenty of sticking points to discuss when they gathered in Romich to address frequent deadly intercommunal clashes in this part of Warrap State.
Apart from the all too common problems of cattle raiding and “revenge and intentional killings”, delegates at the recently concluded peace conference also identified border and land disputes, controversies related to pastures and water points, “administrative inequality” and the “elopement of girls and adultery-related cases” as drivers of endless conflicts in the area.
Chol Malok Deng, a paramount chief representing Ngapagok and its Thiik community, added the proliferation of the implements used when communities clash to the list of challenges.
“The common presence of illegal firearms disrupts peace and the rule of law. Disarmament of the youth is the best option, it will bring peace,” he said at the conference, led by the Warrap State government and supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Disarmament did in indeed make it to the list of 28 resolutions agreed on by the attending parties, as did the return of stolen property, the right to free movement of people and goods and the need to bring cattle thieves to court.
“People with supernatural powers” who are enabling others to “kill, raid steal other people’s livestock” are also to be held responsible, according to the document signed at the end of two days of deliberations.
Some of the resolutions are requests and recommendations: basic services and humanitarian assistance to be delivered, strengthening of the local police, the establishment of a special court, a prison to be built, the government to regulate prices in the market, amongst others.
On her part, Ajok Angok, representing the peacekeeping mission, recommended the preaching of peace and reconciliation and pledged her support for any initiatives aimed at promoting harmonious relations in the conflict-prone area.