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Sudan Tribune

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Azande-Dinka reconciliation conference starts in S. Sudan’s Yambio

April 21, 2006 (YAMBIO) — A 4-day interstate peace and reconciliation conference between the Dinka and Azande communities opened yesterday in Yambio, the state capital of Western Equatoria State in southern Sudan.

This is the first peace conference organized by the New Sudan Council of Churches, in conjunction with the NGO Christian Aid, in Western Equatoria State since the communal conflict began late last year.

Western Equatoria Deputy Governor and Minister of Information Joseph Ngere told Sudan Radio Service that the conference aims to discuss security issues in the region and come up with a peaceful solution to the tribal conflict.

Ngere said: “Most of the issues are pertaining to security, security of Western Equatoria State, and particularly the issues pertaining to the security of the Dinka pastoralists, who are encroaching from Tonj, from Cubiet, from Lakes, and from Yirol, who have mostly displaced the areas bordering this state. You know this year it will be difficult for people to cultivate. Another important issue is also the issue of Ambororo herdsmen plus the Uganda rebel LRA and general security of Western Equatoria State. This is what we are going to discuss.”

Meanwhile, Governor of Wau state Mark Nyipoch, who is representing the Government of Southern Sudan at the conference, urged the two communities to forgive each other, forget about the past, and engage in developmental activities so that people can enjoy peace in their areas. He said that peace should be realized soon as there is no history of conflict between the Azande and Dinka from Bahr El-Ghazal.

Nyipoch said: “This is what we are addressing in terms of Western Bahr Al- Ghazal. There has never been problems between the Azande and the citizens of Western Bahr El Ghazal. But what we got now is the problem between the Warap Dinka citizens and Lakes state citizens. One of the problems is that due to the change in the ecology there is shortage of water for the citizens of Warap cattle owners so they have been coming southward to Yambio areas chasing people and those who are cultivators are defiantly able to get into conflict. That is one of the things we have gotten already. The second is the huge presence of firearms in the hands of citizens; this is culture of war that contribute to the conflict.”

(SRS/ST)

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