Longochuk County now calm, official says

24 May 2012

Longochuk County now calm, official says

22 May 2012 - Upper Nile State's Longochuk County was calm following recent cattle raiding and disputes, but armed pastoralists had been seen in the area, a local official said today.

"The security situation in Longochuk County in general is normal now," County Executive Director Choul Koang Thok told an UNMISS team visiting the area.

"But recently we got a report from the local population of Pamach that they have seen about 6o armed Fallata nomads heading towards Chotbor and Chotlual (districts) and we have sent some police ... to find out," Mr. Thok added.

As of last January, nomads from neighbouring Sudan are only permitted to enter Longochuk if they come without weapons and cut down no trees.

Despite the alleged weapons, relations between the local community and nomads was congenial, the executive director said. "The (yearly) migration process went smoothly. Some of the nomads have started to go back to the north (Sudan)."

Nomads from Sudan journey south in search of grazing land for their cattle during the dry season from November to May.

On living conditions in the county, the Executive Director said it was experiencing shortages of food and non- food items, as the road to Ethiopia was no longer accessible with the onset of the rainy season.

"Since the rainy season started ... the trucks which used to come from Ethiopia cannot reach here," he said. "They get stuck on the way."

But he added that Longochuk farmers had been cultivating since earlier in May, after receiving seeds from CARE International.

The executive director also noted that the county lacked judges, adding that paramount chiefs and traditional leaders were settling legal cases.

UNMISS Judicial Affairs Officer Cecilia Tillada pledged the mission's support in building up the capacity of legal agencies and traditional leaders.

"We will cooperate with the legal administration in Malakal to conduct training for judges as well as traditional leaders on civil law," she said.

During the visit, UNMISS Child Protection delivered the revised action plan between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the UN to release all children associated with the SPLA in South Sudan.