By Ijoo Bosco
February 28, 2014 (JUBA) - The governments of Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states, as well as community leaders from the Madi and Dinka Bor ethnic groups, held a consultative meeting on Friday over the fate of those internally displaced in Magwi county’s Nimule payam (district).
- Internally displaced persons from the conflict in South Sudan who are living makeshift structures and under trees in Melijo 19 km South of Nimule on Friday 14 February 2014. (Photo ST)
The conflict in South Sudan has forced over 800,000 people to flee their homes. Eastern Equatoria currently hosts over 65,000 people, many of whom are from Jonglei, which witnessed one of the worst fighting in the aftermath of the conflict that began late last year.
The consultation forum discussed the Madi community’s refusal to allow internally displaced people from the Dinka Bor community settle in areas that they use for farming. The Madi expressed concerns that cattle owned by the displaced would destroy their crops.
The two-state consultative forum, Eastern Equatoria state Governor said, was to decide on modalities of how to assist the IDPs hesitating to be moved to another location within the state.
"We are here to dialogue with my counterpart government of Jonglei to help replocates or seek for alternatives way in order to help the resisting IDPs who are denied land for settlement by the Madi community of Nimule," said Louis Lobong Lojore.
The governor said they had agreed to visit the IDPs within the coming weeks. The displaced in Nimule claimed that Eastern Equatoria government had allegedly ordered humanitarian agencies not to provide assistance to them until they relocated.
Meanwhile, the acting governor of Jonglei state, John Koang Nyuon, hailed Eastern Equatorian government for hosting thousands of the displaced people from his state.
"Jonglei’s government will join efforts to resolve the tension regarding the presence of the IDPs in Nimule," Governor Koang said, adding that his government needed time to discuss issues that should urgently be addressed.
The governor asked that humanitarian agencies be allowed to provide relief to the internally displaced people in Eastern Equatoria state.
"This issue of relocating the IDPs cannot be decided overnight by [the] Madi community, we need it to be referred to national crisis committee and the presidency to decide on the fate of those hundreds of our greater Jonglei IDPs", Koang said.
Several government officials and community elders also attended the the bi-state meeting.