Dialogue would curb cattle raids in Upper Nile, officials say
1 July 2013 - Civilian disarmament and inter-communal dialogue would play an important role in curbing cattle raids and inter-communal violence, Baliet County officials in Upper Nile State said today.
The officials, who met with an UNMISS team visiting the county, raised concerns that neighbouring communities from Nyrol and Pibor counties in Jonglei State would use firearms they possessed to raid cattle from Baliet residents.
The integrated UNMISS team, comprised of mission staff from the Justice Advisory, Human Rights and Civil Affairs sections, as well as UN Police and Military Liaison Officers, was concluding a two-day assessment mission following a cattle raid in the area on 21 June. The raid left six people dead and more than 400 displaced.
County Commissioner Chok Mateng Dong said Baliet chiefs and their counterparts from Uror, Nyrol and Akobo counties in Jonglei state had participated in a one-day early warning and early response workshop, organized by Christian Relief Services, following the incident.
"During the workshop, participants agreed to form a Joint Monitoring Team and conduct further preparations and planning on early warning," said Mr. Dong. "This is a step forward for us."
He noted that security forces in the state were able to recover cattle after the workshop from raiders in another incident that took place in Abwong Payam on 26 June.
Baliet County Police Commissioner Ayol Chier Akol said it was difficult to access and patrol areas vulnerable to cattle raiding, particularly during the rainy season when roads were impassable.
"I call upon UNMISS to conduct training for SSNPS (South Sudan National Police Service) in community policing," said Maj. Akol. "I believe this will help."
Youth Chairperson Mading Mayik asked UNMISS and the government to facilitate dialogue with other communities to discuss possible solutions to the cattle raiding problem.
Leading the UNMISS integrated team, UNMISS Civil Affairs Officer Marie Pegie Cauchois pledged the mission's support in efforts to mitigate conflict and protect civilians.
"UNMISS will provide support to form an environment for genuine dialogue with the concerned stakeholders," said Ms. Cauchois.