Warrap, W. Bahr el Ghazal governors unite for peace amid communal conflicts

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Warrap, W. Bahr el Ghazal governors unite for peace amid communal conflicts
Warrap, W. Bahr el Ghazal governors unite for peace amid communal conflicts

Africa-Press – South-Sudan. The governors of Warrap State and Western Bahr El Ghazal State jointly organized a peace and security rally in Kuajok, the capital of Warrap State, on Friday. The primary objective of this rally is to foster complete peace and security between the Gogrial East community of Warrap State and the Marial Waau community of Western Bahr El Ghazal State.

During the event, Kuol Muor Muor, the governor of Warrap State, emphasized the importance of both states working together to ensure peace and road safety, particularly between the Apuk community in Gogrial East County and the Marial Waau community in Jur River County of Western Bahr El Ghazal State.

“I welcome you to Kuajok, the capital of Warrap State. Feel at home. As you said, this is your second home, but in South Sudan, there is no second home. Wherever you go is your home, as long as you’re South Sudanese. Let us seize this opportunity to bring peace to our sisterly communities, namely Apuk and Marial Waau, which are currently in conflict,” he expressed.

Muor proposed that achieving total peace and security between the two states should involve adhering to six key action points.

“There are six crucial issues that we must implement to attain peace. Let’s focus on implementing the presidential order, facilitating dialogue between the two communities, apprehending suspected perpetrators from both sides, conducting comprehensive civilian disarmament, ensuring road safety for the unobstructed movement of people and goods along the Warrap-Wau road, and regularly and jointly visiting the areas where conflicts arise as governors,” emphasized Governor Muor.

In her response, Sarah Cleto Rial, the Governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, expressed gratitude to Governor Kuol for the invitation to address the civilian population regarding the significance of peace. She pledged to play her part in ensuring peace along the borders.

“I thank God for bringing us together, and I extend special thanks to my colleague Governor Kuol and his cabinet for inviting me to share ideas about peace. This day should be recorded in history for generations to come as the day dedicated to peace between Warrap and Western Bahr El Ghazal State,” she stated.

Cleto emphasized that Wau and Warrap states are expected to be the examples of peaceful coexistence for the entire region and the nation as a whole. She noted that Western Bahr El Ghazal State serves as the state capital of the region, while Warrap is the home state of President Kiir.

She elaborated, “If Warrap and Western Bahr El Ghazal states achieve peace, it should resonate across the entire Bahr El Ghazal region and the nation as a whole. I come here as your sister because my maternal uncles hail from Tonj South, and I resided in Akon while working for an organization implementing education projects in collaboration with international organizations.”

“I view the people of Warrap state as my children, and similarly, Kuol is like a father due to our shared responsibilities. That’s why I bring the message of peace to the people of Warrap, anticipating stability on our borders. Wau holds a special place in the Bahr El Ghazal region, and any conflict there affects all four states in Bahr El Ghazal, along with Abyei,” Cleto emphasized.

The Governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal stated that the ongoing conflicts in the Bahr El Ghazal regions disrespect President Kiir, as he is a native son leading the nation and other nations. She urged all the people of the greater Bahr El Ghazal region to prioritize peace and stability, allowing governments to focus on development rather than border disputes.

“We don’t share a border with Warrap state. When we were one region, our neighbouring areas were limited to Gogrial, Tonj, Aweil, and so on. Now, neighbouring countries are encroaching on our borders, annexing parts of South Sudan. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves, let’s unite to protect our country, South Sudan, from being annexed by neighbouring countries,” she asserted.

Major General Kongor Bashir, the Division 11 commander in Warrap state, emphasized that the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) maintains a neutral stance in communal conflicts and urged the conflicting communities to peacefully resolve their issues.

“I take this opportunity to appeal to our two sisterly communities to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Apuk and Marial Wau, which erupted in late August last year. There have been accusations that Division 11 sided with the Apuk community, and similar accusations have been directed at Division 5 in Western Bahr El Ghazal State for supporting the Waau community. As commanders of SSPDF, we have not lost any heroes or heroines due to involvement in communal conflicts,” he stated.

Commander Bashir highlighted that the recently initiated and passed green book by the Warrap state Assembly aligns with the mandate of SSPDF, which is to protect civilian lives and properties. He clarified that the SSPDF does not support or favour one community over another, emphasizing that the people of Marial Waau and Apuk are citizens of South Sudan entitled to equal protection wherever they are. He reiterated that the SSPDF, as the national army, remains neutral in communal conflicts.

Major General Dau Aturjong, the Division 5 infantry commander responsible for Western Bahr El Ghazal State, expressed gratitude to Governor Kuol for the invitation and urged politicians to respect President Kiir’s orders, emphasizing the need to implement them for the unrestricted movement of civilians between the two states.

“I appreciate Kuol Muor for inviting us to Kuajok. I believe in the power of dialogue because everything concludes when people sit down and talk. To the people of Apuk and Waau, be calm, as the government belongs to you and your community. You’ve heard the president’s order, with a significant role given to the army. If we implement it, don’t lament that SSPDF is causing harm or destroying homes,” he cautioned.

Commander Aturjong held politicians responsible for instigating the conflict, leaving civilians to bear the consequences. He urged that politicians should be held accountable for inciting communities to fight.

“What I want to emphasize is this: we have received orders to protect ourselves. Criminals are not known by governments; they are known by chiefs because they belong to the community. The presidential order was issued on October 16, and on the 17th and 18th, fighting resumed. What does this mean?” he questioned.

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