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Wau, Tonj, Gogril sign peace agreement to end inter-communal conflicts

Participants during the conference (Photo: James Deng Dimo)

By James Deng Dimo

Three-day inter- states peace conference for communities in Wau, Tonj and Gogrial has ended on Sunday with twenty-two recommendations aimed at ending communal conflicts in the region.

The interstate peace conference which brought together nearly 300
participants from the three states was convened after violent clashes between farming communities and cattle keepers rocked parts of the Bahr-el-Ghazal region two months ago.

Out of the resolutions, the conference recommended immediate restrain of both communities from involving in hostilities and revenge attacks.

The conference called for formation of a joint monitoring committee comprising of the three states ministers of local government and other partners to monitor any conflict between communities of cattle keepers and the farmers.

It also directed the cattle keepers and farmers to stick to the provisions of
Marial Bai Agreement- an agreement signed to resolve conflicts between the neighboring communities.

The participants also recommended against appointment of military officers into local government administration given that they may not have skills and experience in public administration and governance.

They also called for prosecution of alleged perpetrators, saying compensation of lives, livestock and properties lost in accordance with tradition should not replace criminal procedures.

A joint fact-finding committee to be formed to establish damages caused to lives and properties during the conflict.

During the closing ceremony, the three state governors reaffirmed their commitments to implementing the resolutions reached.

Mathew Mathiang, Tonj state governor said, “We have to implement all these resolutions because we don’t want useless war. Why are some people putting others in conflict? The Luo and people of Gogrial have been living together since we were not born.”

The governor stated that the conflict started newly. This is a new thing, somebody’s leadership should not kill people,” he said.

Victor Atem Atem, Governor of Gogrial state however said he was not
convinced with the resolutions because the resolutions did not resolve
the root causes of the conflict.

“I am not totally convinced because until now there is no definition of the cause of the conflict here because there was a team formed as peer Marial Bai Agreement to call a sitting whenever a misunderstanding arose,” said Atem.
He also disputed that there were cattle keepers and farmers in Bahr el Ghazal, saying “we are all cattle keepers.”

He however reaffirmed his commitment to implementing the agreement reached.

“Anyway we have made resolutions but there is still a long way to
go. Are we committed to these resolutions or we are making for the
sake of the media? If there is a commitment then right away from here,
any commissioner in the various areas must carry his own cross from
today,” he urged.

He added that the three governors will together kick off implementation of the resolutions of Wau conference.

The governor of Wau state, Angelo Taban also called for swift implementation of the resolutions.

“It is our responsibility for the three states to gather our people here in
order to dig out the root causes and then put the way forward as a
solution. What happened all for no reason, we have to ignore
it, it is good for us to take the responsibility such that we forget the
past in the last few months,” he said.

“I will take responsibility as state governor of Wau to be
responsible in implementing the resolutions. I will take the
responsibility because we need to stop the divisions, why are we not following the vision of our party?” he asked.

The three states of Wau, Tonj and Gogrial in collaboration with UNMISS
and other partners organized the four-day peace conference under the theme: “Yes to Peace and Reconciliation, No to Inter-communal Violence”.

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