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S. Sudan religious leaders hold talks to end intercommunal fights

January 9, 2020 (YEI) - South Sudan religious leaders and civil society activists held direct peace and reconciliation talks to end intercommunal fights between communities in Central Equatoria state.

The archbishop of the Central Equatoria province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Paul Ygugusuk said inter-communal clashes persist in Terekeka and Lainya counties, due to lack of clear laws on the movement of cattle and justice for victims of cattle raids.

“The problem of Terekeka is that all previous resolutions have not been implemented, stolen cattle have not been returned; as such people take the law into their own hands,” he remarked.

The religious leader urged armed and non-armed actors to reconcile their political differences and work for lasting peace.

Paul Modi, bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Terekeka diocese revealed that over 50 people were killed and hundreds of others were displaced by sectional violence in December last year alone.

“Many people have been affected, displaced and living in hiding and properties lost. In many consultative forums, most of them are ready to reconcile and we call on the people to give room for peace and dialogue so that we can move forward,” he said.

For his part, civil society activist Edmund Yakani urged the government to re-initiate the disarmament campaign aimed at collecting guns among the population to reduce violence in the communities.

“The disarmament did not work effectively and responsively, because there are [not] critical factors like provision of safety and protection for the lives of the communities through police that can adhere to the rule of law. And the state needs to engage in intercommunal mitigation free from political manipulation,” he said.

Yakani says his group and other non-governmental entities are organizing a national peace dialogue that seeks to address the cyclical violence caused by cattle raids and revenge attacks.

According to reports, the routine of inter-communal clashes in many parts of South Sudan prevails due to lack of an efficient justice system in the country.