SRSG Johnson attends Jonglei Peace Talks

21 Oct 2011

SRSG Johnson attends Jonglei Peace Talks

20 October 2011 – The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Hilde F. Johnson took part in a two-day peace building and reconciliation effort between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities of troubled Jonglei State.

"The purpose of the trip basically is to show my own personal support and to have a direct dialogue with the communities," Ms. Johnson said.

Alongside UNMISS Force Commander Major General Moses Bisung Obi and the United States Charge d' Affairs Christopher J. Datta, the SRSG visited Wuror County and Pibor County where she held talks with the Lou Nuer and Murle communities respectively.

She met with government officials, local chiefs, women and children.
"What we observed on the ground basically was the consequences of the attacks. We also heard from the communities," she said. "This cycle of violence should stop now."

The peace and reconciliation efforts are led by the South Sudan Council of Churches and began in early October after a consultative workshop between the council, UN and government officials in the state capital, Bor.

Casualties of the retaliatory attacks between the two communities reached a record high in August when clashes between them caused 600 deaths.

UNMISS responded immediately by deploying troops to the two counties to deter a counter attack and have been working with local police forces and the military to boost security in the area.

"We have air surveillance over the territory daily to monitor the situation on the ground (and) we have deployed a team to engage with the communities," Ms. Johnson said. "We managed collectively ... to hold back retaliation. Now we have to make sure that the peace and reconciliation process we supported comes to a successful completion."

Ms. Johnson also met with State Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, who promised that his administration would support the peace building process.