An UNMISS peace campaign brings communities in Nimule together
EASTERN EQUATORIA – For years, the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, has been embroiled in bloody civil wars. A 2018 peace deal brought relative stability to the country with the promise of a peaceful democratic transition.
But while politically motivated violence reduced as a transitional government of national unity was sworn in, intercommunal tensions have continued to simmer and, at times, erupt.
In Eastern Equatoria, these conflicts led to a significant number of individuals, especially from Nimule, to seek refuge from fighting across the border in Uganda.
As the country begins drafting its permanent constitution and preparing for its first-ever elections in 2024, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been working with all stakeholders to encourage voluntary returns.
In this context, a day-long campaign by the UN Peacekeeping mission in Nimule sought to boost community confidence and promote social cohesion.
The event was welcomed by local authorities and Nimule residents alike.
“This initiative is a great uniting factor for all communities living in this part of Magwi county,” said David Otto Remson, County Commissioner for Magwi.
As the beat of drums permeated the air, 15 different ethnic groups showcased their unique cultural heritage.
Modern peace songs also added their unique cadence to the event, which was attended by more than 2,000 people.
Rebecca Chunyuwa Adelios, a women’s representative from Nimule, was visibly moved by this show of solidarity.
“As women, our main ask is that our rights are upheld, we get a seat at the table to weigh in on decisions that directly impact us and that our children get to lead a peaceful, prosperous future,” she stated while swaying to the tempo of a popular song.
Her words were echoed by Young Nova Addis, another Nimule resident.
“We are all tired of living away from home. We need our leaders to unite and bring about peace and development,” said Young.
The main aim of this activity, organized jointly with the state government, under the theme, ‘Peace Begins with Me’: Creating a safe environment where displaced persons and refugees can return to their original settlements.
"The impact of the conflict in South Sudan has been deeply felt by people from all walks of life. It has resulted in the loss of loved ones, destruction of property, and severe damage to the economy. It is time that all of us galvanize momentum and energy in the peace process. As UNMISS, we will continue to be your partner for lasting peace," stated Tito Awando, Acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office in the state.
What made this outreach special was the presence of all parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement, the document that charts the way for South Sudan to complete its difficult but necessary journey from war to peace.
"Our priority has always been forging a unified national identity,” stated Mary Alphonse Lodira, Deputy Governor of Eastern Equatoria state.
“I’m aware that we face a lot of challenges but with political will and support from the communities we serve, South Sudan can shine as a beacon of peace across the world.”