Lopit and Lotuko Communities Vow to End Conflict

TORIT, January 21 (Gurtong) – The two warring communities of Lopit and Lotuko in Eastern Equatoria State have resolved to end their decades-long conflict.

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The two communities held a two- day conference in Lopa/Lafon community to find a lasting solution to their persistent and often deadly disagreements.

The conference, an initiative of the government of South Sudan, provided the two pastoralist communities with a platform to iron out their differences in a bid to attain peace and gain meaningful development in their respective communities.

The conference also provided a stage to allow all the communities to express their genuine desire for peace and to call upon their Government and other stakeholders to support their efforts in the peace processes.

The communities also expressed their disappointments over child-abductions being perpetrated by the Murle community in Jonglei State, claiming that hundreds of children have been missing and their disappearance traced to Jonglei State, several miles away.

They also cited a report in which an abducted child belonging to the Larim/Buya ethnic community of Budi County was said to have returned from Jonglei State.

The conference was attended by a number of government officials among them the Deputy Speaker of National Legislative Assembly, Honourable Remy Oler, United Nations representatives and all the pastoralist ethnic communities of Eastern Equatoria such as the Ileu, Tohubak and Lotuko.

The two communities came up with a number of resolutions to end their hostility and promised to keep the covenant.

They agreed to hold constant dialogue and peace meetings in order to enhance mutual co-existence in which local leaders would take the lead as well as strengthening joint peace committees among all the communities and reaching out to warriors in the interior and bringing them on board.

It was also agreed that security will be enhanced while at the same time promoting community policing in all the communities of the state which will among other things involve identifying any perpetrators of conflicts, apprehending and handing them over to the authorities as well as tracking any stolen animals.

The meeting further resolved to work out on ways of changing the warriors’ attitudes towards their preference to raiding activities into productive thinking like encouraging them to get involved in activities like farming and engaging in small-scale businesses.

It was also resolved that inter-community cooperation will be promoted through organising exchange visits, encouraging inter-community marriages and holding sports activities among the communities as a bonding medium for the pastoralist youth warriors.

The peace meeting further resolved to recommend to the Government of South Sudan to deploy the police along the communities’ borders to monitor the security situation and to maintain law and order and stop activities such as cattle rustling and killings.

It was recommended that traditional rights, for instance boundaries, be recognised and respected by both communities besides the establishment of courts in both counties to arbitrate on rising cases.

Additionally, it was agreed that there be a harmonised force disarmament by the state government as well as instituting the use of legal permits to accompany the movement of people and their property in the state. However, there will be restrictions on movement of illegally acquired guns.

The two communities appealed to the Government to follow up on the abduction of children by the Murle in a bid to recover them.

 

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