High-level conference in divided Kapoeta again pledge to implement agreed-on actions to restore peace

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UNMISS and the state government of Eastern Equatoria organized a high-level conference in Kapoeta to address the reasons behind the delay in implementing resolutions agreed-on at previous peace dialogues. Photos by Moses Yakudu/UNMISS.

20 Feb 2024

High-level conference in divided Kapoeta again pledge to implement agreed-on actions to restore peace

Moses Yakudu

EASTERN EQUATORIA – For almost a decade, ethnically divided residents in Greater Kapoeta region have been engaged in intermittent cattle raiding, child abductions, and revenge killings, thus creating unrest and insecurity for themselves. At numerous peace dialogues, community representatives have agreed on how to resolve their issues, but the actions needed have not been taken.

To find out why that is and, most importantly, finally turn promises into action, the government of Eastern Equatoria State, supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), recently organized a high-level conference.

Important state and national politicians, the Commissioners of the four counties where the violence take place, civil society representatives, women’s leaders and youth activists were all present – and they both delivered and signed a new peace accord.

“The success of this initiative depends on the collective will to make what you have agreed on reality. Peace is a process and today’s activity is a good starting point to achieve it,” said Guy Griffin, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Torit.

Among the action points generated at the conference: confiscate illegal firearms, stop hate speech, hold perpetrators of crimes accountable, and send additional security forces to particularly insecure areas to assist the recently deployed Necessary Unified Forces already present in the state.

“Having more uniformed personnel on the ground, will result in less reports about ambushes or stolen cattle. It will give us trust that eventually we can put an end to such violence,” predicted Louis Lobong Lojore, Governor of Eastern Equatoria State.

Mary Natabu, representing both women and youth in Kapoeta, is determined to do her part, and to urge her peers to follow suit.

“As young people, we have a serious role to play in stopping the bloodshed and end the suffering so that we’ll be able to cherish durable peace,” she said.