Jonglei peace to begin soon: South Sudan Archbishop says
March 23, 2012 (BOR) – The leaders of the Jonglei Peace Initiative arrived in Bor on Friday to discuss how to resolve conflict that has erupted in June, August and December last year running into 2012.
From Left: Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Ismail Konyi [in black and white T-shirt], and the rest of the Jonglei Peace Initiative team in Bor. March 23, 2012 (ST)
The committee presented Jonglei governor, Kuol Manyang, with the President of South Sudan’s, plans on how the committee should approach peace in the conflict torn state, where a disarmament campaign is taking place.
Thousands have died in cattle raids and counter attacks, which often involve abducting women and children.
The Jonglei Peace Initiative is led by Archbishop of South Sudan’s Episcopal Church, Daniel Deng Bull, who this week was nominated by the Chatham House think tank in London as their person of the year for his efforts to build peace and reconciliation in the young nation.
Others in the peace initiative include MPs representing Jonglei at the national assembly in Juba: Philip Thon Leek, Ismeal Konyi, Riek Gai, among others. The committee has 23 members.
Speaking to the journalists in Bor, Deng said a comprehensive peace process will soon take place involving all Jonglei’s communities.
He said his committee will attempt to engage the Nuer, Dinka and Murle tribes, who are at the centre of the violence to engage them and convince them that there must be peace before a general peace conference can begin.
The committee has been give three months by the president Salva Kiir to complete their work in Jonglei, according to Deng.
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul speaking to the press in Bor. March 23, 2012 (ST)
“We came to meet the governor, Kuol Manyang. He has promised to work with us and to support the peace initiative. He is going to support the committee”, said Deng.
Deng said that it is time for peace and reconciliation in Jonglei, saying that achieving peace in the state is the task of all the citizens.
“This time, it is important that all of us should work together to see to it that our people are living together in the state”, said Deng.
He said the first conference 2-4 April will bring together community leaders and government officials to introduce them to possible ways forward to end the cycle of violence.
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”
Deng called upon the Jonglei citizens to respond positively to the peace initiative and respect one another.
“Enough is enough, it is time for us to sit down and solve our problems. It is time to respect one another, and to see that we are equal in the state. Let us forget our differences and let us see the way we can build our state”, he said.
Governor Manayng said his government is optimistic that the peace process will be a success alongside the disarmament campaign that began 14 March.
Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, speaking to the press in Bor. March 23, 2012 (ST)
He said that the disarmament campaign would encourage dialogue, however, it has already led to some clashes between communities and the SPLA. The governor said the process going well with little resistance.
ABDUCTED WOMEN RETURNED
The Jonglei governor also announced that the Murle have started releasing abducted children and women. He introduced two women with their children who had been returned from Pibor County so that the peace committee could and them over to their families.
Left to right: Jonglei State Governor Kuol Manyang, the Minister of Legal Affairs Mayen Oka, standing behind newly recovered women Yom Machok and Tibatha Nyakau Chol and State Minister of Local Goverment Diing Akol Diing, in front of the governor’s office in Bor. March 23, 2012 (ST)
“These women, one from Uror county, Pieri Payam [District], and the other from Duk wer brought from Pibor and will be handed over to their families by the peace committee”, said Manyang.
Yom Machok Lual, a women from Duk County, said she spent two years in Pibor villages, searching for her abducted children.
“When I heard about the forces of disarmament, I went to them in Bis-Bis village and asked them to be moving with them so that I may find my children. I went and found one of sons in one. SPLA told me to go back with him and they said they cannot continue searching for a child because they came for disarmament”, she said in Bor.
Machok accused the chief of Bis-Bis village of Pibor of holding and refusing to release most of the abducted children. She said most of the children in Bis-Bis villagee are from Bor, Duk, and Twic East Counties.
Tabitha Nyakau Chol, says she was abducted from Pieri Payam by the Murle in August 2011 to aplace called Ketchou-Katinya village with the rest of the children who were abducted in Pieri.
She said most of the children who were abducted from Pieri Payam are in Ketchou-Katinya, saying she was brought to Bor by the SPLA because she could speak on her own.