Residents of Anyidi town and internally displaced persons in Bor reconcile after years of conflict
After years of tensions, residents of Anyidi and the community of internally displaced persons staying at the UN protection site in Bor have agreed to put their differences aside and coexist peacefully.
This breakthrough in the previously strained relations was achieved at a two-day peace dialogue, organized by the UN peacekeeping mission’s Civil Affairs Division and the local Inter-Church Committee and attended by chiefs, women and youth leaders from both communities.
“We may be coming from Anyidi or from Bor, but we are the same; we are all South Sudanese,” said Akul Nyuol, a woman staying at the protection site. “It is good to sit down and talk.”
Frictions between the two communities have been caused by cattle wandering off into the gardens cultivated inside the UN protection site by those seeking refuge. Incidents of harassment have also been reported.
To improve relations, participants in the dialogue agreed that representatives from both communities will monitor the movements of cattle coming near the threatened gardens.
Anyidi chiefs have also pledged to sanction rule-breaking cattle keepers and voice messages of peace and reconciliation on local radio stations.
“A lot of incidents, misunderstandings and allegations can be addressed if we talk among ourselves, and iron out the issues,” one person attending the dialogue said, sagely adding that this was a better alternative than fighting.
A youth leader from Anyidi echoed such sentiments, adding that managing conflicts peacefully will mean that “vulnerable groups such as women and children, who are already at risk, can be protected.”
Isidore Boutchue, a representative from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, explained that dialogues such as the one held in Bor was part of a nationwide strategy to bring conflict-ridden communities together.