Communities from Mayom call for nationwide civilian disarmament at joint UNMISS, Ministry of Law Enforcement and Local Government event

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As South Sudan gears up to complete its democratic elections with the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections at the end of next year, communities in Mayom, Unity state, believe that guns must be silenced and removed from civilian hands to usher in lasting peace. Photo by Jacob Ruai/UNMISS

14 Jun 2023

Communities from Mayom call for nationwide civilian disarmament at joint UNMISS, Ministry of Law Enforcement and Local Government event

Jacob Ruai

UNITY – A three-day community dialogue organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in partnership with the state Ministry of Law Enforcement and Local Government in Mayom, a county in Unity state, saw an overwhelming consensus: A call for widespread disarmament from residents.

“If we are to truly establish an enduring peace, small arms must be removed from the hands of civilians,” stated William Matut Madut, a community leader. “We call on our leaders at the national and state levels to silence and remove guns from among our society,” he added passionately.  

According to Mr. Madut, such disarmament exercises will go a long way in ensuring that the country is able to hold free, fair, and peaceful elections.

“I am certain that the possibility of electoral violence will greatly decrease if no civilian owns a gun,” he stated.

Mr Madut’s views were echoed by women’s representative, Teresa Nyariak Monytuil.

“Women and children in Mayom have suffered greatly with violence. It is time that no civilian has the power to hurt another. We need peace now and those who want to bear arms should officially become uniformed personnel,” she said, adding that the government should do its best to graduate and resource the Necessary Unified Forces.

“Once the Unified Forces are fully deployed, I am confident that we will be protected,” she added.

For his part, William Dak, Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement in Unity State, affirmed that the government is exploring ways to disarm the civil population countrywide and encouraged community members to support local authorities to maintain peace and security.

“Our country and its people have lived through much conflict and disarming civilian populations is a shared responsibility between the national and state governments. It is an issue we take very seriously and are working with national leaders to address,” stated the Minister.

Chika Onah, a Civil Affairs Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission agreed, highlighting that a weapons-free environment would greatly boost South Sudan’s upcoming democratic transition.

"Civilian-held weapons have led to increased insecurities across the country and for durable peace to prevail, there must be a sustained push to disarm civilians.”