December 14, 2012 (BOR) - A seven-year-old girl who was abducted five years ago was reunited with her parents and other relatives Pochalla County on Wednesday by Jonglei State’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Rachael Anok Omot Obal.
- Jonglei State’s Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Rachael Anok, addressing the media in Bor (ST file)
The girl was kidnapped aged two while traveling to Ajuara, a Pochalla village bordering Pibor County by criminals from the Murle tribe in 2007
arents from Pochalla.
“We reunited a child with her biological mother, the child was abducted between Ajuara [in Pochalla] and Pibor in 2007 while the child was two years old,” Anok, who declined to mention the child’s name, explained to the press on Thursday.
“The mother was an Ethiopian Anyuak from Gambella” added Anok.
The ministry had traced the mother through the Red Cross, United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS) and United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF). The mother was flown by UNMISS from Pochalla to Bor to be reunited with her child.
Traditional chiefs, police and commissioners in the counties, as part of implementation of Jonglei the inter-communal peace deal signed in May this year, have recovered over 100 children and women after years of abduction between the state’s ethnic groups.
Over the last two years around 2,000 people have died in cattle raids and revenge attacks between Jonglei’s ethnic groups. Women and children are often kidnapped in the raids which peaked a year ago when thousands of armed Luo Nuer youth entered Pibor County in order to retrieve stolen cattle those who had been abducted in previous raids.
Many Murle women and children were abducted by Lou Nuer youth men in the attacks a year ago. But after the peace deal in May many have been recovered from Uror and Akobo counties and returned to their families by the state government and local chiefs.
Murle chiefs, through the pressure from the Pibor County Commissioner, Joshua Konyi, collected a number of children and women abducted from Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer villages and handed them over to the state government to be reunited with their parents.
The children were handed over to ministry of gender and child and social services to and are kept in the state’s child care center until their biological parents could be found.
So far this year Jonglei’s ministry of gender and child welfare has reunified over 50, with more waiting for their families to be found.
Anok urged women in Jonglei State to help reduce violence in both the within families and between communities by allowing young girls to get an education.
“Children are over loaded by women. The women give all the work to the girls, instead of encouraging them to go to schools, girls are the first persons to be given more work at home, why?” Anok said.
“If you educate a woman, you educate the nation because the women are the back bone of the nation,” she said.
Violence between men, often caused by drunkenness, was also a problem in Jonglei, she said. The minister appealed to the women who make the local alcohol to stop as it was causing violence in their communities.