SAMIRA Y SALIFU
The people living in the Torit and Kapoeta regions have signed an agreement to advance peaceful coexistence and to regulate, control and manage cattle movements between the counties of Kidepo Valley, Riwoto, Ikotos, Chukudum, Torit East, Kimotong and Lopa.
The deal was struck at a three-day conference held in Chorokol, Kideo Valley, and attended by more than a thousand people, including governors, county commissioners, chiefs and community leaders.
“This is the last time we will convene a conference to solve such issues. We will be meeting during market days to buy goats for festivities, and no longer for discussions over these matters,” said Tobiolo Alberio Oromo, the Torit Governor, while advising women in the counties to work towards consolidating peace.
Participants at the gathering agreed on constructing dams in hotspots, enforcing applicable laws and maintaining internal borders as per the colonial demarcations made in 1956. The conference and its many promising outcomes come as a great relief, particularly to users of the Torit-Kapoeta road.
unmiss south sudan protection of civilians inter-communal fighting peace agreement cattle migration regulation management torit kapoeta eastern equatoria“Because our people were at loggerheads with the people of Torit, we always travelled in fear of being robbed or killed on that stretch of the road. However, all that is now a thing of the past, because now we know that we will arrive at our destination in peace!” exclaimed Joseph Lomiang, a student at the Saint Augustine secondary school in Kidepo Valley.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan and its partners coordinated efforts to organize the peace-brokering event, which culminated in the signing of the agreement and the establishment of an ad hoc Joint Migration Border Committee.
“We want the resolutions to be strictly implemented to allow all seven counties to enjoy peace. The government and the international community are here to support you, but the responsibility [to implement the deal] lies with you,” stated Mr Abdul Kamara, a representative of the UN Mission, adding that peacekeepers will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure that this takes place.
Four years ago, relations between communities living in the Torit and Kapoeta regions were marred by a plethora of tension-inducing issues. Border encroachments, cattle raiding, scrambles over water points and grazing fields, illegal possession of small arms, revenge killings, high way robberies and child abductions were all on a long list of recurring spoilers of peaceful coexistence.