At a discussion called ‘The Road to Peace in Jonglei’ held two weeks ago in Bor, students from Jonglei drawn from different ethnic groups of the state, including the Dinka, Anuak, Nuer and Jie, explored possible solutions to the bloodshed.
Samuel Chuor Alier, a panelist from the Dinka community and a student of Alliance High School, pointed out that high dowries, a lack of inter-communal interactions, unemployment, and the practices of body marking are major causes of divisions and communal violence in the state.
Intermarriage among the tribes [...] can cement confidence and trust among all communities of the state.”
Intermarriage among the tribes, avoiding body markings, forgiveness for any past mistakes, free and timely movements of people within themselves and among different tribes, can cement confidence and trust among all communities of the state,” Samuel said.
Organised by the Communication and Public Information Office of UNMISS in collaboration with the State Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage and the State Peace Commission, the event was attended by over 100 participants including senior state officials, traditional and religious leaders, intellectuals, civil society groups, students, prominent figures and media.
South Sudan’s Jonglei State is the flashpoint of ongoing violence, affecting tens of thousands of people, many of them displaced, who remain in need of humanitarian assistance.
An estimated 74,000 residents of the state’s Pibor County -- around half of its entire population -- have been registered to receive aid, especially food.
The Nuer community panelists said a lack of equitable development in all counties, illiteracy, and the practices of abduction, presence of arms in the hands of civilian and lack of road accessibility were the major causes of inter-communal violence among residents of the state.
They also called for widespread disarmament in the state.
The Anuak community’s Mary Akwey said building schools and health centres, expanding agricultural activities, community inter-marriage, and deployment of security forces in Boma would all contribute to stability in the region.
We ourselves caused all the conflicts and mess across the state.”
The Jie community, meanwhile, underlined the need for Jonglei’s various communities to consider themselves as one nation.
We ourselves caused all the conflicts and mess across the state,” a Jie panelist said. We need to be together, work together and live in peace and stability in order to achieve a bright and sustainable future.”
Acting Governor Gabriel Gai Riem told Jonglei’s students and youth to uphold peace, describing the talks as timely and significant discussions”.
UNMISS staff told participants that the protection of civilians is the primary responsibility of the government of South Sudan, although UNMISS offers its support.