Conversation will pave the road to peace: open dialogue held in Lui Payam, Western Equatoria
Community members and government officials gathered by the hundreds under the shade of an ancient tree in Lui Payam, Western Equatoria to discuss peace-building measures and air grievances during a day-long dialogue.
One of the speakers, elder Habat Mureni Kainuwa, said insecurity was pervasive in the area and has led to the killing of innocent people, looting of vehicles, sexual violence, and other obstacles to achieving peace.
“This is a message to the perpetrators: Let us stop these acts so that we may live without fear,” he said.
Another participant, Tabitha Ezibon, expressed her wishes for parties to the conflict to implement the revitalised peace agreement to enable families in Lui and other areas to reunite.
“Women are suffering here. They are left without protection because their husbands are in the bush, fighting,” she said. “Many of us have been raped.”
Reverend Richard Thomas of the inter-faith organisation Council for Peace in Western Equatoria Region, which helped facilitate the dialogue, called upon locals and church leaders alike to stand united in continuing to identify tangible solutions.
“Church leaders should encourage those fighting to come together with government counterparts to find amicable solutions,” he said.
Jackson Kambale, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, underlined the importance of upholding the ceasefire in ensuring the freedom of movement for all.
“Events like these are key to voicing your concerns to the authorities and all those who have come today to listen,” he said.