“Inter-communal violence requires urgent state response’-CEPO

Edmund Yakani, the executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), has called on the government to immediately mitigate inter-communal violence and resultant deaths in South Sudan saying 2,450 were killed last year alone.
CEPO said in a statement Sunday they closely tracked and monitored, through their conflict early warning system across the country the loss of human lives and properties due to the on-going deadly inter-communal violence, armed criminal acts, and cattle raiding.
“The country has lost over 2,450 lives registered due to deadly inter-communal violence, armed criminal and armed cattle raiding in 2020. 80% of the 2,450 human lives lost was due to inter-communal violence (revenge attacks) and armed cattle raiding. The region of Bahr el Ghazal, mainly Lakes State and Warrap states, took the lead with 43% and Upper Nile Region, mainly Jonglei State with 37% and Equatoria region, namely Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria states, with 20%,” Yakani said.
He said this is data from documented cases only and that there are many undocumented cases. From the CEPO narrative, the trend of inter-communal violence from 2017 to 2020 has turned deadly, fueled by political motivation and lack of youth access to livelihoods.
According to Yakani, the inter-communal violence and armed cattle raiding and other armed criminal incidents across the country constituted serious human rights violations but the unfortunate situation is that the government has no clear plan for mitigating the violence.
“The state’s attempts at disarmament of civilians is not responsive and effective. If the state does not take serious and practical steps in providing safety and protection through police forces that adhere to the principle of human rights and rule of law, including serious inter-communal violence mediation, that is free from political manipulation from the political elites, then the killings will continue.” Yakani said.
He said numerous accurate data are available in-country but no state entity is taking the data seriously for designing genuine responses for preventing the deadly inter-communal violence across the country.
“If the state continues to fail in mitigating these pockets of deadly inter-communal violence, the chance of communities resorting to building militia groups is potential besides the existing community militia groups,” Yakani warned.
According to Yakani, CEPO is planning to organize a national roundtable on 29th January 2021 in collaboration with the national ministry of peacebuilding and the peace and reconciliation commission. The roundtable intends to adopt a national conflict resolution mechanism for addressing the on-going deadly inter-communal violence.
“Finally, CEPO is urging the leadership of the country at this beginning of 2021 that it is essential to dedicate attention and resources for mitigation of this on-going deadly and politically motivated inter-communal violence in its various forms across the country. Maybe enacting specific legislation for criminalizing individuals fueling inter-communal can be a long term option,” he advised.

Source: Radio Tamazuj