UNMISS funds and hand over police station at the Kayango juncture of cattle migration

unmiss south sudan western bahr el ghazal cattle migration quick impact project police station rule of law protection of civilians

The new and UNMISS-funded police station in Kayango was hailed as a beacon of the rule of law in an area where crimes related to seasonal cattle migration are common. Photos: Roseline Nzelle Nkwelle/UNMISS

28 May 2024

UNMISS funds and hand over police station at the Kayango juncture of cattle migration

Roseline Nzelle Nkwelle

WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL - Kayango in Jur River County is located at the centre of four corridors where seasonal cattle migration activities are particularly intense.

Despite the proven effectiveness of the 2016 Marial Bai Agreement, which regulates disputes resulting from cattle movements, the influx of nomadic herders from neighbouring Warrap State still causes both occasional clashes with farming communities and a spike in crimes.

It is in this context, and as a way of strengthening security and the rule of law at this conflict-prone juncture, that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has funded and recently handed over a newly constructed police post to operate in the area.

This positive development was duly celebrated as residents and key stakeholders alike defied the heat and dashed to the scene of the customary ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We need peace among our people because both cattle keepers and farmers are important for our livelihoods,” said Zacharia Joseph Garang, Deputy Governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal State. “From this strategic location, our law enforcement officers can easily reach the neighbouring villages when there are issues,” he added.

Funded through the Mission’s Quick Impact Projects programme, the new, solar-powered police post features four detention cells - with separate sections for women, men and juvenile offenders - ablution facilities and four fully equipped offices, one of which is reserved for a prosecutor.

While more than 16,000 residents in the area will rejoice in having easy access to the police, traditional chief Peter Akuar may have been the one in attendance smiling the most. In the absence of formal justice institutions, he has had the daunting task of upholding law and order in accordance with traditional law.

“With four detention cells in this police station, I want to tell perpetrators of crime that there is no longer any possibility of not being held accountable for their actions,” Mr. Akuar said, stating that he is looking forward to fruitful cooperation with the uniformed law enforcement agents.

The inauguration was a gratifying moment for everyone present, not least for Leopold Kuassi, Acting Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Wau.

“I want to assure state authorities of our continuous support in restoring peace and stability to communities affected by conflict, and police officers serving with UNMISS will help build the capacity of their South Sudanese counterparts deployed to Kayango,” he stated.

In total, the peacekeeping mission is funding the construction of three police stations in Jur River County.