Competition over land triggered Magwi unrest

Edmund Yakani – Executive Director of CEPO

By staff reporter

The Community Empowerment Organization (CEPO) Executive Director Edmund Yakani said that the tension between Acholi and Dinka Communities was triggered by competition over the land, especially cattle herders from Dinka and the farmers from Acholi who clashed over land.

In an exclusive interview with Lakes State Media, an online platform, Yakani deliberated on the root cause of Magwi unrest in Eastern Equatoria to be escaping the notorious fact of the land issue.

“I think the competition over the land between cattle herders and farmers in Magwi is the root cause of all this violence. This incident was triggered by Agoro attack which left two boys dead in Acholi Community. The second incident was a group of armed youths who attacked and raided the cattle, claiming 20 lives and scores of injuries from Dinka Community of Jonglei“, Yakani stated.

He cautioned the state government to take the lead in providing protection and safety of the citizens in Magwi and resolved land issues among the clashing communities. Adding that, the government should adopt a strategy to solve sub-national conflicts.

“I know Louis LobongLojore has just visited Magwi prior to the attack by raiders, he was there to reduce tension between cattle herders and farmers. He initiated the culture of peaceful co-existence among communities to live in harmony. I called upon two-state governors especially from Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria to swiftly wade in for peaceful resolutions and avert revenge attack”,

“I wish the government to invent a strategy to solve Sub-national conflicts, there is a need to establish a “Community deterrence force” to respond to Communal violence. These forces should get information from Mechanism of Early warning system on the occurrence of violence”. Yakani concluded.

However, the student union in Uganda sent in a letter of condemnation and condolence to families of the victims in Magwi as it read:

“We the fraternity of the Equatoria Students Union in Kampala Uganda are gravely outraged, appalled, agonized by, and strongly condemn the recent barbaric, brutal and senseless killing by the cattle keepers of host communities in AbaraBoma, IwirePayam of MagwiCounty and internally displaced more than 10,000 members of the community.

The Equatoria Students’ Union join the people Magwi to express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims and express our outrage at such an •abhorrent Cruelty committed by the cattle keepers in Magwi. The invasion by these cattle keepers and the gravity of these attacks marks a worrying escalation of violence. No cause can justify such brutality and senseless killing. Perpetrators should be held to account. We urge the state government and Non-government Organizations to exercise restraint in dealing with the situation above all ensure that innocent civilians are not harmed.

We find it very disturbing that no immediate action plans have been adopted of these crimes against humanity and this could cause negative feedback by the community which may later be called violence when it’s actually in self-defense, we strongly urge all communities and groups to reject violence. After decades of insecurity and instability, it should be clear that violence is not the solution to the challenges facing South Sudan.”, the document reads.

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