February 19, 2012 (JUBA) - The vice president of South Sudan Riek Machar together with governor of Lakes, Unity and Warrap states all converged in Lakes state on Saturday morning to discuss cattle rustling and border issues affecting neighbouring counties.
- Vice President Riek Machar with the governors of Lakes, Warrap and Unity State with other officials before leaving in a UN helicopter in Mapel. February 18, 2012 (ST)
In Lakes state, Mapel County, East and Central Rumbek counties all share borders with Panyi-Jiar and Mayiandid Counties of Unity state. In Warrap state, Tonj East County shared a border with Mayom County in Unity State.
The chiefs of Mapel County told Machar that the root causes of the cattle rustling can largely be blamed on the lack of development or peace and roads that would connect communities.
Constructing these roads would encouraged communities of each counties to trade commodities instead of raiding each others’ cattle.
Machar assured people of Mapel that the border counties in the triangle where the cattle raids frequently occurr is now the government’s top priority.
Last year the United Nations (UN) raised the alarm over the escalating violence in South Sudan caused by cattle rustling. The issue is seen by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as a "serious crisis" to the political stability in the newly independent state.
The governors of the different states agree that the lack of infrastructures and roads deprive them from undertaking serious work to stop the raiders or to engage development projects in the concerned provinces.
Juba, on the other hand, failed to disarm the civilians in the different regions where the war and lack of security during several decades has enabled every cattle keeper to hold a gun to protect his cattle.