Civil societies hold rally to support peace in Jonglei
21 April 2012 - As civilian disarmament continues in conflict-torn Jonglei, a top state official today urged all residents to support the government and civil society in realizing peace.
"Peace and security is a collective responsibility," Jonglei Deputy Governor Hussein Nyuot said at a rally organized by civil society organizations (CSOs) in the capital Bor to encourage harmony in the state.
"You are the eyes and ears of the government," Mr. Nyuot said. "If an attack happens in your village and you do not inform the government, you are a bad citizen."
Much as youths were responsible for insecurity, they were also capable of bringing peace, he added.
On whether disarmament had succeeded in bringing peace, he said it was too early to tell, as it was not yet complete.
"Disarmament is a continuous process," Mr. Nyuot said. "Our army is still on the ground today, this year, next year, and so forth, until all guns are removed."
He called on all households to cooperate and report any hidden guns.
Earlier, state CSOS Secretary General John Penn noted that crime levels had increased recently in communities that were already disarmed.
Deputy Governor Nyuot said that removing guns alone was insufficient. It must be combined with education about their danger as well as alternative sources of income, so that people could live without weapons.
Fortunately, CSOs were already working to support this process, he said.
"Over 75 per cent of the citizens in Jonglei have been uprooted from their homes since the conflict begun," Mr. Penn said. "So our mission is to sensitize and sanitize communities on psychological disarmament and peaceful development once they return home."
He lauded UNMISS for continuous logistical support to the disarmament exercise during field trips to counties.
"We...appreciate the ... contribution done by UNMISS in ... (taking) our Peace Caravan campers to their various camps of Pibor, Waat, Fangak, and Duk counties," Mr. Penn said. "Without them, we would not have been here (at this point)."
He further urged the state government and development partners to speed up the process of peace building among state communities.
"When someone touches something concerning peace, that person is calling for a blessing, and we all enjoy that blessing," said Jok Maper, who was representing Bor County Commissioner Maker Lual Kuol.
He also warned that the state would fail to obtain much needed food without good security.
Mr. Penn then handed Deputy Governor Nyuot a societies' position paper on Jonglei security to be forwarded to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir for further consideration.