Pibor county is focus of Jonglei disarmament programme
June 15, 2012 (JUBA) – The director of operations for brigade one of Jonglei state’s auxiliary forces, Matthew Mathiang Magordit told reporters that Pibor county has become the focus of the state-wide disarmament programme.
He revealed that 6,352 guns had been collected from across the state since the programme began in February but called upon the national government to deal with the continuing problem in Pibor with military force if peaceful dialogue proves unsuccessful.
Those citizens who do not comply with the disarmament order will have property confiscated, according to Magordit.
He also accused the leader of the Murle ethnic group in the region, Ismail Konyi, of hampering the disarmament programme. Magordit therefore suggested that Konyi be appointed to the position of state parliament speaker or deputy governor, in order for him to be better engaged in the political process and to more clearly understand the ramifications of having an armed civil population.
Much of the insecurity in Pibor has been as a result of inter-ethnic violence.
There has been a long-running cattle-raiding/child-abduction feud between the Luo-Nuer and Murle ethnic groups which has escalated with the advent of readily available small arms. The proliferation of which is due, in part, to two decades of Sudanese civil war, which ended in 2005.
In January the UN estimated that 120,000 people in Jonglei “may need relief assistance” due to the conflict in Jonglei.
There has been scant information from the Murle Diaspora and the Murle in South Sudan on their perspective of the conflict, unlike the vocal Luo-Nuer who claim that the Murle have been driven to abducting their children as they are suffering from an infertility endemic; a view shared by the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.
According to the UN Environmental Program the Murle were in Ethiopia until the 19th century. Some remained their until the 1990s while others were driven west by local Nilotes. They established a homeland in Pibor county, Jonglei state in the 1930s, since which, environmental pressures have impinged upon their pastoralist lifestyle.
Little evidence can be found to support the infertility claim. However, the motivation to rationalise the denigration of one of South Sudan’s pariah ethnic groups, in order to legitimise the attribution of blame, is self-evident.
“There is no report of raping, no death, nobody is killed wrongly, there is no robbery and there was good discipline in both Army and our forces – so there are people who wish to say thing of which they are not sure of,” said Magordit.
President Kiir, began the Jonglei disarmament programme, as part of a series throughout the country, in a ceremony in the state capital, Bor, in March.
Over 15,000 SPLA forces and more then 2,000 Axuiliary forces were been deployed by South Sudan government in February to carry out the Jonglei disarmament.