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South Sudan: WES’s Mvolo and Lake’s state Yirol West reconciliation

September 19, 2011 (JUBA) - The communities of Yirol West county, Lakes state and Mvolo county, Western Equatoria state signed a memorandum of understanding in Mopourdit payam [district] on the 17 September 2011 after a two-day reconciliation conference facilitated by the Mundri Relief Development Association (MRDA).

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WES deputy governor Sapana [C], Lakes speaker of assembly John [R], and WES speaker, Bukulu [L] upon arrival in Mopourdit, September 15, 2011 (ST)

Over 400 participants from both states converged in Mapourdit, Yirol West to resolve the conflict between the two communities which has been escalating over the past five years, leading to a significant loss of life and thousands of displaced people.

The two communities agreed that there shall be “free movement of people between the two states and the tribal conflict be stopped with effect from 17 September 2011”.

Based upon the ongoing disarmament the two parties agreed that “cattle movements from Lakes into Western Equatoria and vice versa are restricted and cattle traders between Lakes and WES obtain legal documents from county commissioner or payam [district] administrator indicating the number of cattle to be traded.”

They also signed memos encouraging a spirit of peaceful coexistence and promoting environmental conservation.

During his closing remarks, Daniel Ayual, the deputy governor of Lakes state who headed the delegation to the conference hailed the efforts of the two states and MRDA to ensure that peace and unity are restored between the two commissioners.

He said security remains a stumbling block to development and urged authorities attending the conference to work together in the disarmament exercise.

Tthe deputy governor of Western Equatoria state, Sapana Abuyi said that the communities have close ties and that “they were here from the beginning and will continue and that is their life, they must have reconcile and forget the past.”

He said progress on the issue needed acceptance that there is a problem.

Rebecca Agak, a resident of Yirol West attributed the conflict to people from the Dinka Agar community in Rumbek East county stealing cattle from Mvolo county but was hopeful that there would be peace between the them and the Jur ethnic group.

Jacob Achom, a resident of Mvolo, suggested that if the arms in the region are collected, peace can prevail.

Early July the president of the South Sudan, Salva Kiir formed a community to look into the causes of the conflict.

MRDA and the Nonviolent Peaceforce stepped in to face the challenge of mediating between the two conflicting communities in order to restore peace and unity.

(ST)