A two-day cattle pre-migration conference concluded in South Sudan's Warrap State on Saturday.
The conference was organized by the state ministry of peacebuilding with support from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan UNMISS Civil Affairs Division under the theme "strengthening community seasonal cattle migration and social cohesion".
About 90 participants from the nine payams of Tonj South, Tonj North, Gogrial West, and Gogrial East counties took part in the conference aimed at addressing challenges faced during cattle migration in Western Bahr el Ghazal state before January.
The 2020 Marial Baai Agreement was signed by the governments of Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal to regulate cattle movement in Jur/Luo areas in Wau during the dry season.
Joseph Riwongole, UNMISS Civil Affairs Officer, said it was good to identify challenges related to cattle migration before migration begins.
"We are here passing the messages of peace and take the same messages home. What is unique with Africans is the ability to carry books on their heads and pass them on to the next generation. It is good that the Marial-Baai agreement is the benchmark to guide cattle migration and host communities," he said.
Warrap State acting governor Deborah Uduel Okech, thanked UNMISS for supporting the communal grassroots peace initiatives.
"The reason for poverty, malnutrition, and illiteracy in Warrap state is because we have no peace among ourselves as a community and with neighbors. So I appreciate UNMISS and other organizations," she said.
However, the Paramount Chief of Gogrial West County, Kuach North Payam, Luka Wol Mathuc, said some youth who move with arms pose a challenge to the implementation of the Marial-Baai Agreement.
"We have challenges as our youth move their cattle to Wau, Marial Baai agreement prohibited possession of guns in cattle camps and we observe that but our youth lost lives and cows from armed youth in Wau who were said to be SPLA-IO," he said.
Chief Wol adds, "Other problems are hiring of water and grazing areas and we recommended that the two governments should provide police to be deployed in grazing areas. We also proposed that Jur youth from Wau be involved in the next conference which will be held in Wau because they are part of the problem."
A cattle camp leader Mathuc Mangok Arol, said the governments are also to blame for challenges in the implementation of the agreement.
"The government sometimes complicates things because all these times there was no SPLA-IOs and our cattle used to graze in Alel without problems. Another thing we told them is the fixing of the prices of milk and meat, there is conflict in the prices and it has to be discussed," Mangok said.
Warrap state Civil Society organization Alliance (WASCA) secretary of finance Rose Anyang has called both governments to address the issue of armed youth for peace to prevail peace in two states.
"As civil society, we called on the government to disarmed both cattle youth and those who claimed to be SPLA-IO in Wau grazing lands to allow free movement of cattle," she said.
Participants included representatives from the payams, civil society, youth, representatives from the ministries of peacebuilding, local government, among others.
Source: Radio Tamazuj