21 Jan 2021


Wau State Authority Concerned About Early Cattle Migration

Authorities in Wau State have raised concerns about the early cattle migration by pastoralists looking for pasture for their animals which may lead to destruction of farms particularly in the three Counties of former Jur River County.

Wau State Authority Concerned About Early Cattle Migration
on-going inter-state dialogue on cattle migration in Wau [Gurtong photo|James Dimo]

By James Deng Dimo

WAU 19, December 2018 [Gurtong]
- In a statement during an Inter- State Dialogue on cattle migration that kicked off on Tuesday in Wau, the State Minister for Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies, Hon. Michael Madut Chan said pastoralists from Tonj State have begun moving with their cattle before the agreed period for their migration into farmers areas.

The minister also pointed out that the pastoralists have been seen coming with fire arms which is a violation to the November 2016, Marial - Bai agreement.

The minister called on the participants from Tonj, Gogrial and Wau States taking part in the dialogue to reaffirm their commitments to implement the Marial-Bai agreement.

“Marial-Bai agreement talk of January for cattle keepers to start  movement for pasture but the cattle migration started since October, I can’t agree with this because it has  now caused many problems in the areas particularly in Kwajiena, Roc-Roc Dong and Alur and these cattle is coming from Tonj,” said the minister.

“Now the most important is how we can resolve these problems and when we are solving a problem, we have to put into account that the interest of both sides is considered, but all of us need to restore the Marial-Bai agreement,” he said.

The minister said cattle keepers coming from Tonj are currently armed with heavy weapons which is a threat to the local population in Wau State.

“There was no reason for them to move with heavy weapons but still we with Tonj State government are working closely to find the solution for that and I hope that the outcome of this dialogue will lay a foundation solution to the matter,” he said.

The current on-going Inter-State Dialogue on cattle migration has been organized by UN Civil Affairs Department Wau and Kuajok field offices in collaboration with the three State governments.

The arrangements agreed between farming and cattle herder communities in the three neighbouring States in greater Bahr el Ghazal region in 2016 in Marial-Bai was seen to bring about progress in addressing conflict arising during cattle migration season.

Every year between January and April, cattle herders in the Tonj and Gogrial region move their animals to greener pastures near Wau. This annual migration of hungry cattle and their often armed owners creates tensions with farmers in the area, as cows tend to be happy to munch
away on their crops. They also affect available water sources negatively.

Disagreements caused by such sometimes escalate into violent clashes and the loss of lives, a phenomenon that in November 2016 made pastoralists and farmers sign the so called Marial Bai agreement, later revised in October last year.

The Marial Bai agreement, so baptized after a county with the same name, stipulates rules on how to resolve migration related conflicts, procedures for seeking permission to move cattle and what compensation should be paid for crops eaten and cows killed.

The code of conduct, as demonstrated at a recent evaluation meeting in Wau between County commissioners, chiefs and partners working with communities in the conflict-affected areas of the Bahr El Ghazal region, has had a positive impact.

In 2017, clashes erupted in some parts of Wau State mostly the areas of farmers which was pumped by the problems related to cattle keepers. Many lives and properties were lost.

Posted in: Home, Governance
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19/12/2018, 10:32 AM
 - Posted by Jacob Akol
This is an issue worth discussing and controlling by state governments. Disagreements or conflicts between members of communities should never be allowed to involve violence involving firearms, which they will use if allowed to carry them.
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