Brewing tensions in Eastern Equatoria’s Loronyo area prompt consultative meetings with communities involved
Reported concerns about tensions among communities in Eastern Equatoria State’s Loronyo payam (administrative division) recently prompted peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to visit the area for a proactive consultative meeting.
“Our youth are living in fear of being attacked, especially when they bring our animals to graze in an area which is far from the community, and such anxiety is not good for creating a harmonious society. Let us instead be one people and embark on the development of our area for everyone to benefit from it,” said Kerbino Sarafin Oler, a youth representative, adding that Loronyo has been lacking a school for the last twelve years.
The community of Loronyo in Torit County and their neighbours from Idali in Lafon County have been at loggerheads over the past years, with tensions prompted by cattle raids and subsequent revenge attacks.
“We need your help for peace to reign among us and our neighbours, because conflict won’t take us anywhere. We call on partners and the government to support a reconciliation process,” said Kanuto Attari Nyasio, the Loronyo Chief.
Following their dialogue with the Loronyo community, the peacekeeping mission is considering setting up a similar meeting with their Idali neighbours to hear their side of the story.
“Our visits to this area are important to peacekeeping as we are aware of factors that are currently hindering social cohesion among the citizens living here. Such tensions need our attention and efforts to reconcile the feuding communities,” said Civil Affairs Officer Lucie Dominique Du Chateau, who led the patrol team.
A lack of essential infrastructure – the only bridge that gives access to partners and traders in the area is broken – and a scarcity of both food and clean water contribute to increase hostilities among residents struggling to cope.
As part of its protection of civilians mandate, UN peacekeepers conduct regular patrols not only in Eastern Equatoria State but throughout the country, particularly to conflict-prone areas.