Mugwo Residents In Yei Reconcile With Organized Forces, Welcomes Peace Deal

Community residents in Mugwo County of Yei River State have reconciled among themselves, SPLA-IO and SSPDF forces despite all forms of atrocities committed against them since the outbreak of the conflict in 2016.

Mugwo Residents In Yei Reconcile With Organized Forces, Welcomes Peace Deal
Residents in Mugwo County during a community peace event [Gurtong photo by Daniel Friday Martin]

By Daniel Friday Martin

MUGWO, 03 December 2018 [Gurtong]-
The community members said the revitalized peace deal will restore hope, end their suffering and pave way for the return of the civil population to the area.

Mugwo County Paramount Chief, Kamiro Gwolo said since the outbreak of the conflict that led to massive killings, displacements, looting and rape, the local community decided to forgive their perpetrators for the sake of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness so as to re-build the broken relationship in the County.

“We have undergone a series of terrible things happening in our communities, women have been raped, continued to be raped, their properties looted and bloodshed here. Today we have come to say as a community enough is enough and it’s time to see peace and bring the suffering of the remaining population to an end” said Gwolo.

Gwolo said they have also forgiven the worrying parties, the SPLA-IO and the SSPDF forces and urged them not to repeat such mistakes. The paramount chief said some individuals continue to oppress and undermine the rights of the civil population in the rural areas of the County.

“We heard that the peace agreement has been signed but in the rural areas of Yei, more especially in Mugwo County some of us don’t know whether there is peace, some soldiers more especially the SPLA-IO and the SSPDF continue to harass civilians in the rural villages of Mugwo County, they restrict our movement, rape women and loot our cows and goats and also our harvested crops. These are some of the things I can say we are not in peace in some parts of our County” he explained.

He however, thanked the South Sudanese leaders for recommitting themselves for peace building by signing the revitalized peace deal.
“We welcome the signed peace deal but we expect that this peace is implemented and respected because we are tired of this war. We want President Salva Kiir and his brother Riek Machar and other leaders to know that civilians in the rural villages of Yei River State have suffered enough and they need peace not war again” he said.

The highly respected community leader called on the returning population of Mugwo County to begin erecting fire lines in their residential areas so that their houses are not consumed by wild fires.

“I want to call on the civilians of Mugwo to come closer and ensure that they clean up their houses so that they are not consumed by wild fires that will soon start in the coming dry season.  I also need to call on the army here whether SPLA-IO or Government forces not to kill or harass any civilian returning to clean up their buildings” he concluded.

Joel Yeno an elder in Mugwo County said he is happy with the reconciliation and forgiveness prayer initiated by the community to forge a way forward for peaceful co-existence in the area.
“I hope with this prayer, the suffering of our people will come to an end. As elders of this place we have opened up our hearts for reconciliation and forgiveness just because we want peace and an end to human rights violations in Mugwo County in particular and Yei River State in general” he said.

The elderly man said he expects the parties to the revitalized peace deal ensure that all roads are opened and accessible by all for delivery of basic social services such as education, health care and water services.

“As the war has come to an end, we expect clean water, rehabilitation of our schools, good roads, markets and hospitals so that people like us the elders and the children and women in the villages can see a better future” said Yeno.

Mary Jamba a local church worker in Mugwo village said she has been praying for peace and stability in South Sudan throughout the outbreak of the conflict in 2016.

“Today my prayer has come to pass, we have heard about the signed peace and I need to thank God for hearing our prayers. I have sincerely opened my heart and I want to confess to you that we have forgiven ourselves over the wrong things that badly affected us” she added.

Mary expects the people of Mugwo to live in peaceful co-existence with one another. “I am happy and I hope our happiness will continue like this because peace is very important for all of us” she added.

Emmanuel Taban Seme, Commissioner Mugwo County said his administration is working hard to build trust and confidence between the civilians and the organized forces in the area.
Taban said since his appointment into office as the new Commissioner, the government and the opposition forces did not clash in the County but engaged in amicable peace negotiations to allow free movement and protection of civilians.

“ Since I came here as a Commissioner of this area, I told everybody here that I have come for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, the peace has been signed and our civilians need peace so that they can go to their farms, markets and other places freely without fear” he added.
Commissioner Taban applauded efforts made by the government and opposition forces for respecting the revitalized peace agreement and remaining committed to implement all the security arrangements which included protection of civilians and free movement.

“I am very happy that the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement is taking shape in Mugwo County, senior Government and opposition officials met here at Mugwo County and both agreed to implement the security mechanism metrix and vowed to protect and allow freedom of movement in the area” he concluded.

Earlier, the SSPDF military spokesman Brigadier, Lul Rui koang said, the government is working day and night to ensure that civilians are protected including their properties.
Lul said they are now partners in peace with the SPLA-IO and will work together to ensure that the revitalized peace deal is implemented in letter and spirit.

“We are committed to implement the peace agreement. We also need to ensure that there is peaceful co-existence between civilians and the military. We have agreed with the SPLA-IO military leadership in Yei to open all roads, protect civilians and allow humanitarian access to the civil population” he added.

For his part, Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO deputy military spokesman apologized to the people of Yei River State and Mugwo in Particular saying the SPLA-IO is working together with Government forces to end the suffering of the civil population.

“On behalf of the SPLA-IO leadership, I want to say sorry for what might have been committed wrong against the civil population. I also need to say that we have agreed with SSPDF senior military officers in Yei and Kajo-Keji Counties and we have agreed to allow free movement, protect civilians and bring this war to an end through the revitalized peace agreement” said Lam.

Speaking at a reconciliation event in Mugwo County, Yei River State Governor, Emmanuel Adil condemned bad actions carried out by some individuals whether within the SSPDF and SPLA-IO for committing crimes against the civilians after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement.

Adil said the State government has granted free movement and ceased all forms of military hostilities within the State.

“If there is somebody out there mistreating civilians under gun point, time will come when you will be termed as a wizard. You should not take a gun to fight a goat or a cow. We have signed a peace deal as a government with Dr. Riek Machar. My brothers and Sisters President Salva Kiir and I have declared free movement of the civilians without any restriction and who are you hiding and mistreating civilians”? Adil asked.

Adil said the government and signatories to the peace deal are dedicated to ensure that the peace deal is implemented to its fullest.

“We are all working for the full implementation of the revitalized peace and we not here for war again. We want to see the safety and protection of all civilians so that they begin to enjoy the dividends of the peace agreement” said Adil.

Adil called on the community and religious leaders to spread the revitalized peace deal to the rest of the communities.


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