Civil-military dialogue reconciles civilian, soldier in Lainya County
September 25, 2023 (LAINYA) – Edward Ladu and South Sudan army (SSPDF) soldier John Maciek did not see eye-to-eye after a bitter fight that occurred years back.
Ladu wounded Maciek and ran away, but the latter vowed to revenge.
The two hailed from Lainya County in Central Equatoria State (CES) of South Sudan.
“I tried to run to a refugee camp in Uganda, but Maciek followed me,” said Ladu.
He added, “He wanted to kill me. That is why kept looking for me everywhere I went”.
Last week, however, Ladu and Maciek reconciled at a civil-military dialogue organized by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in Wuji payam of Lainya.
The event, conducted from September 20-22, took place in Limoru boma of Wuji payam.
The initiative, in partnership with the UN migration agency (IOM) and in collaboration with Lainya County Peace Committee and Lainya County Administration, sought to address issues affecting civilians and the military in order to create a peaceful and conducive environment for refugees and internally displaced persons to return and rebuild their lives.
Joel Yeka, a field officer with CEPO, said the three-day dialogue aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence, bridge the negative perception and stereotype to build trust and confidence through reconciliation to restore peaceful coexistence, acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion between the civilians and the military within the payam.
“Peace comes from among ourselves in the community, not from our leaders,” he said.
Yeka said civil-military dialogues pave way for reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.
The dialogue also resolved, among others, that the Lainya County Peace Committee be mandated to mediate peace talks between the hold-out groups and the government.
Retired Bishop Elioba Luko from the Lainya Peace Committee said the civil-military dialogue urged the chiefs and military commanders to establish effective communication mechanisms to create good relationship between civilian and the army.
“There is a need for total forgiveness and reconciliation between the civilians and the army and to forget the past. This is the importance of conducting a dialogue,” said Luko.
He added, “We appeal to the organizers to ensure that all these resolutions passed in this dialogue should be disseminated to all the chiefs and other concerned authorities”.
The need to enhance good relationship between army and civilians through regular meetings chiefs and army commanders, refraining from making unnecessary allegations and ensuring perpetrators of violence face justice were some resolutions of the dialogue.
A total of 110 participants attended the dialogue organized by a consortium comprising CEPO, Finn Church Aid (FCA), Support for Peace and Education Development Program (SPEDP), Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) led IOM.