September 13, 2012 (BOR) - A woman with her two children from the Murle ethnic group, has decided to marry the Luo Nuer man who abducted her in December last year and live with him in Jonglei’s State Uror County.
- Commissioner of Uror County, Simon H. Duoth with a group of children and women brought from Yuai in Uror County at Bor Airport, September 13, 2012 (ST)
The woman, who has not been identified, was one of the hundreds of women and children abducted during the cycle of violence between Lou Nuer of Uror County and Murle of Pibor County between December 2011 and February 2012.
The woman is believed to already been married to a Murle man, with whom she had the two children.
The commissioner of Uror County, Simon H. Duoth, who received 11 children and five Murle women who had been abducted from Pibor and held in his county, said that the woman has decided to stay with her abductor rather than return to her husband.
“This woman was abducted with her two children in December 2011 and she has now loved her abductor. They have decided to live as husband and a wife”, said Duoth
Duoth said there was no "law to force her” to return to Pibor.
Inter-marriages between Murle, Nuer and Dinka Bor are not common. The rival ethnic groups, who have a long history of raiding each others cattle, often preach bad things against another one to discourage intermarriage. Abducting women and children is also common practice during raids.
The raids over the New Year were in response to violence earlier in the year which killed over 1,000 people.
In December 2011, around 6,000 youth of Lou Nuer, calling themselves the “White Army” organized themselves and attacked the areas inhabited by Murle ethnic tribes. In January the Murle began launching retaliatory attacks on the Lou Nuer and Dinka, a fight which continued till February.
Hundreds of people were either killed or injured and tens of thousands others were displaced and many others including children and women were abducted.The UN estimate that over 100,000 people were displaced in the Luo Nuer attack on Pibor and the subsequent reprisal attacks.
Following the fighting a disarmament campaign was launched and 15,000 extra police and soldiers deployed to the area. Over 10,000 weapons have so far been collected but the Army has been accused over human rights abuses in process and some groups have avoided handing over their weapons.
Despite a rebellion in led by David Yauyau - a disaffected Murle politician - security in Jonglei, in terms of clashes between ethnic groups, has improved since the campaign began in April. Commissioner Duoth said that the collection and return of the women and children was the "fruits" of the relative peace in the trouble state.
- The commissioner of Uror County, Simon H. Duoth, speaking to the press at Bor Airport, September 13, 2012 (ST)
The eleven abductees were abducted from Pibor County during the turmoil between Murle and Lou Nuer Between December 2011 and February 2012.
The peace recommended that the children abducted by the tribes should be collected and returned to their parents without any conditions.
The minister of Social Welfaare, Rachael Anok Omot Obal, said they were able to trace the abductees from both Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic tribes who abducted children both children and women from each other in the course of retaliatory attacks.
Obal said that they had worked with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to reunite the children with their parents. In Pibor County 24 abducted children have been discovered. Of the 24, 19 of the children were from the Lou Nuer tribe.
According to Obal, the children will be hosted at Jonglei states “child care centre until they are flown to Pibor to be reunited with the parents”.
Over ten other children believed to be from Central and Eastern Equartoria states, who were also recovered in the hands of abductors in Pibor in June, are still under government care at the child care center, while their parents are traced according to the minister.
The commissioner of Uror County, Simon H. Duoth said they have set up what he called “a special body” to secretly trace those who are keeping abducted children and women.
He said his county is working hard with the police to observe the recommendations presented in the Jonglei peace accord, signed earlier this year between the state’s many ethnic groups.
The children and women recently returned to their communities brought called up on their parents and chiefs to collect and return abducted children still in Murle custody. Some of them broke into uncontrollable laughter after arriving at Bor airport where they meet some of their relatives.
One boy is said to have sneaked away at Uror Yuai airstrip when the abductees boarded the UNMISS Helicopter on Thursday. The commissioner pledged that they will do their best to find and bring him back to Bor to join the rest before they are flown to Pibor County.
“The County executive director is tracing where he went and we will arrange for another flight to bring him back soon”, the commissioner acknowledged.