Kolnyang Payam in Jonglei State has a long history of cattle rustling. Situated on the borders of Dinka Bor lands in Jonglei and Mundari lands in Central Equatoria State, problems have flared up frequently between the neighbouring tribes in recent years over one primary issue – cattle.
A specific problem requires a specific solution, and so with support from the UN Development Program (UNDP) and UNMIS, Jonglei State and the Southern Sudan Police Service have established a pilot Livestock Patrol Unit in Kolnyang Payam. It was formally launched on Tuesday 19th April.
The pilot project is hoped to lead to the further establishment of Livestock Patrol Units throughout Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei States. It is a project initiated by the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Southern Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control and the Southern Sudan Police Service. The objective is to reducing tensions within and between pastoralist communities and their neighbours by reducing cattle raiding and related criminal activities.
Preventing and deterring cattle raiding has been a major challenge for the government and the police. The Livestock Patrol Unit represents an important way to connect grassroots community security initiatives with the formal rule of law systems of the State.
“This project intends three things – to combat cattle rustling, increase communication with the community and enhance partnership with the government,” said Major General Daniel Deng Lual, Head of the Southern Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control. UNDP and UNMIS (through UNPOL) have equipped and trained a group of select police officers who will work at the Unit to prevent and deter cattle raiding through ongoing police activities as well as community engagement, including the establishment of early warning systems and community groups.
At the launch ceremony of the pilot Unit in Kolnyang, Jonglei State Deputy Governor Hussein Mar explained to the community that the establishment of the unit is in recognition of “the problems that have happened in Kolnyang” but that “it does not take away the responsibility to look after your cattle.” Mar expressed his appreciation to UNDP and thanked the community of Kolnyang for offering land for the new Unit. “The Livestock Patrol Unit is really very important to the community, for there are so many instances of insecurity that will be solved by this,” said the Kolnyang Chief, adding that since “the government is here, it is a sign that they are committed to fight cattle raiding.”
Joe Feeney, UNDP Head of Office, said that the establishment of the Livestock Patrol Unit is “particularly important for one reason: this Unit represents the state and community working together.”
UNDP is providing support to state governments to provide security for their people, in turn building the confidence of communities in their governments and in rule of law. This is part of its overall mission to promote more responsive governance, strengthened rule of law and post-conflict recovery. ”On 9 July South Sudan will be the 193rd country in the world and this Unit is part of building that country, because without a strong State you cannot have a strong country,” said Joe Feeney.