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Early Signs of Improved Ethnic Relations in Greater Jonglei/Pibor Emerge from Peace Dialogues.

In the ethnically complex Greater Jonglei/Pibor area, cattle raids, revenge killings, child abductions and other forms of intercommunal violence have been ongoing for a long time. Efforts to break this cycle of hostilities have not been successful, but recent interactions between Murle and Lou Nuer offer hope for a more peaceful future.

Last year in December, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and peace partners brought together youth leaders from the two communities in Likuangole County to try to resolve their differences. Although expectations were low, new developments are slowly changing skeptics’ minds and fostering cautious optimism.

Gatdet Gatluak, a member of the Lou Nuer’s White Army, is optimistic about the new peaceful atmosphere. He has made friends with Murle youth and sees flourishing activities like trade, agriculture, fishing, logging, and construction in Burmath, his hometown in Akobo County.

In January, Murle youth visited Burmath with a peace flag, which was reciprocated by the Lou Nuer youth. A follow-up dialogue organized by UNMISS and Peace Canal in Wuno further strengthened intercommunal relations, leading to a joint peace caravan to Akobo.

Chuol Gew from Peace Canal describes the journey as a trust-building exercise where both sides showed generosity and care towards each other. The exchange of previously abducted individuals on 8 February marked a significant step towards peace.

Acheren Nyathiko Gogola, a Murle youth leader, appreciates the improved relations for enabling access to markets for trading cattle in Burmath. He emphasizes the importance of honest communication to prevent future hostilities.

Gatdet Gatluak believes that the Lou Nuer and Murle communities can strengthen their bonds through collaborative projects like markets and road repairs supported by peace partners. While development is desirable, preserving lives remains the top priority.

The cessation of conflict-related deaths is seen as the most crucial improvement, and sustainable peace is deemed fundamental for continued progress.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).


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