Several hundreds of internally displaced persons have recently arrived in Kudo Central from Lowoi, both located in Eastern Equatoria, in the wake of growing tensions between cattle herders and farmers.
Following reports of these renewed clashes in Lowoi, in which some 300 houses were destroyed and large-scale displacements to Kudo occurred, peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) visited the newly displaced to find out how they are faring and what solutions can be identified to help them rebuild their lives.
“We are grateful for your patient engagement with the state government to resolve the crisis. Nevertheless, we caution against youth taking the law into their own hands,” said Tahir Cevik, a representative of the UN Peacekeeping mission. “We will continue to use our capacity for providing technical assistance, as well as convening and connecting communities to reach a peaceful resolution.”
Beyond the disagreements and sporadic violence, however, local authorities in Kudo Central worry that the presence of the displaced, who arrived with only the clothes on their backs, has led to a situation where their community is having to share already-stretched food stocks. They are calling on humanitarian partners to help.
“Our crops did not yield well during last year’s harvest, so there’s severe hunger here. It would be a relief if we are provided with seeds ahead of the next planting season,” said John Loqak, Chief of Kudo Central.
“We urgently need food and non-food items for the displaced and the receiving community,” added Hamis Thomas Okanyi, a traditional leader of the Lowoi who is also displaced.
Other pressing issues were brought to light during discussions with the visiting UNMISS peacekeepers, such as an under-resourced primary healthcare facility and the need for more midwives.
“We need to be part of UNMISS visits to cattle herding communities, so that we can be involved in the dispute resolution process,” asserted Mr. Loqak. “We are not trying to keep cattle herders away, but it is important to be able to arrive at a mutually acceptable way to live together in peace.”
State authorities are liaising intensively with the national government to end farmer-herder tensions in the state and restore calm.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
© Press Release 2021
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