Entebbe, Uganda, 17 May 2022 - The Joint Traditional Leaders’ Peace Conference, bringing together thirty leaders from the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities in Abyei, officially opened in Entebbe, Uganda on 17 May 2022. The three-day conference has been convened by UNISFA to facilitate dialogue between the leaders of the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities by providing a platform to find sustainable solutions to peaceful co-existence among the communities in Abyei.
In her opening address, the Special Envoy of Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, called on the wisdom of Misseriya and Ngok Dinka leaders to unlock any stalemate and find a solution towards peaceful coexistence within Abyei. While decrying the spike in insecurity in Abyei and loss of lives on both sides, Ms. Tetteh said that efforts during the three days conference are key to working with governments towards finding a lasting solution to peaceful co-existence.
“The next 3 days will enable you, the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka leaders, to engage in frank discussions which will unravel the root causes to the conflict in Abyei and work for a sustainable solution as well as define the parameters of your togetherness," said UNISFA Acting Head of Office and Force Commander, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr.
Major General Sawyerr pledged the support of UNISFA and partners to the outcome of the meeting, “We stand ready to support you with our advice and facilitation. We will also support the implementation of your solution for peace by the end of this conference”.
In a goodwill message to the conference on behalf of the government of Uganda, Ambassador Julius Joshua Kivune, pledged his government’s willingness and support for the Abyei peace initiative stressing that his government always stands ready to assist
The representatives of the traditional leaders pledged their commitment to the Abyei Peace Process. The Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, Bulabek Deng Kuol expressed commitment to peaceful coexistence and called for respect between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities. On his part, the representative of the Misseriya delegation, El Sadig Hireka Izzral Din, pledged the readiness of the Misseriya to open a new page towards finding solutions for peaceful coexistence between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka.”
The conference comes at a time when Abyei is witnessing spike in intercommunal violence. The violence has cost lives and property as well displacement of thousands of civilians. The conference is expected to identify and address some of the root causes of the conflicts and provide a stronger platform for continuous engagement and peaceful coexistence between the two communities.