A one-day peacebuilding dialogue concluded on early this week in Gbudue area’s Bangasu County, bringing together some one hundred members of the James Diko community and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO).
Organized by the Inter-faith-based Council for Peace with support from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Civil Affairs Division, the dialogue aimed at promoting peace at the local level.
During the dialogue, both the community and SPLA-IO members outlined issues that could spoil their relations and hinder social cohesion, and came up with suggestions to resolve them.
Among the recommendations was a request to the Government of Gbudue and UN agencies to provide basic services, humanitarian assistance and clean water.
Women are dying during child delivery; there’s no clean water � which we are going over five miles to fetch, said Roza Agusto Kasaya, a mother of nine, decrying the high levels of poverty in her area. We need peace and development. We are tired of war, she said.
This is the first time for such dialogue to happen here, said Charles Muye, Acting Chief of the James Diko community, acknowledging the presence of peace in the area. He however expressed concerns that if soldiers failed to find food, they might turn to crime.
Another woman, Joyce Manaseh Dagu, commended the peaceful coexistence with the SPLA-IO in the area, adding that there had been no report of a woman being raped or abused in any other way.
The commander of SPLA-IO in James Diko, Alex Gasi, commended UNMISS for organizing the dialogue in the remote area to bring the community and SPLA-IO forces to discuss the root causes of conflict in the community.
Gasi mentioned that, after his deployment to the area following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, he had ordered his forces to respect the local community, and to stop looting and other atrocities that had plagued the area before.
He said people were now moving freely to Yambio town while others were coming to his territory to see their relatives.
Albert Mugabushaka, a senior UNMISS official, appreciated the peaceful dialogue and promised to forward all their recommendations to the concerned authorities.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan