October 31, 2022 (JUBA) – South Sudan commended Sudan and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for supporting local peace initiatives in coordination and cooperation with the traditional leadership from the contested region.
“We are grateful as the government of South Sudan that Sudan and the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei have supported peaceful initiatives in the Abyei area. Peace and security are paramount because if there is no peace and security, services would not be delivered. Humanitarian organizations will not go. Citizens will not move and the humanitarian situation will be dire,” South Sudan’s Humanitarian Affairs minister, Mayen Majongdit said on Saturday.
He was speaking at a peace dialogue between Ngok Dinka Twic communities in Wau.
The initiative, undertaken by various organisations, followed the October 10 incident in which 17 people were killed and several others injured in Aneet market.
Majongdit lauded South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s effort to ensure the final status of the contested oil producing region is settled through peaceful dialogue.
Abyei Paramount chief, Bulabek Deng said traditional leaders, faith-based groups, women, youth, trade unions and medics attended the peace conference.
“Our people want to peacefully coexist. They were peacefully staying together in the past but this conflict has created a situation of hate. There is no trust. People now live in fear and tension. They live in suspicion. It has affected everything. Schools have been closed and now this is where people face challenges and the communities are in dire need of clean drinking water,” he explained.
These two communities, Deng said, peacefully lived together but were caught up by the abrupt eruption of the conflict, which started early this year.
“With these peace talks, communities expect the situation to return to normal,” he noted.
James Thon, a Twic County youth leader, said the peace conference was organised to end hostilities and put the two communities on the path of peace, harmony and dialogue.
“Nobody wants war. Initially, the dialogue was shut by imposed war,” he noted.
The dialogue was supported by UNISFA, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and United Nations and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).