Dec 2, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Warrap and Western Bahr el-Ghazal states have agreed on ways to solve their conflict which will include setting up a mobile court to address cases that cannot be solved amicably.
Most representatives of farmers and pastoralists acknowledged that a mobile court will help increase accountability and deter potential violators of the resolutions agreed upon.
In 2017, the farmers in the two states had come up with an agreement which was signed by cattle herders from Gogrial and the farming community in Western Bahr el-Ghazal State to regulate the movement of cows and their herders in search of pasture and water.
Among other provisions, the agreement stipulates that farmers are entitled to compensation for any crops that are eaten or destroyed by cattle, and for pastoralists to be recompensed whenever farmers resort to killing intruding animals.
The agreement was later reviewed in 2019 although the implementation was not effective.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan last week organized a five-day conference for cattle keepers and farmers from the neighbouring states of Western Bahr el-Ghazal and Warrap to review the Marial-bai agreement a second time and discuss recurring thorny issues and how to settle disputes that may still arise.
While cattle herders had signed the agreement, a group of landowners in Western Bahr el-Ghazal chose not to sign the revised agreement, claiming that cows had already arrived in the district of Mapel.
The Governor of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State said that the outcome of the conference was not as good as they had hoped for.
“The outcome may not be exactly what we hoped for, but the result is still good. We have shared our thoughts with each other, and the way forward will require that we work together to enjoy a peaceful cattle migration season,” commented Sara Cleto, Governor of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State.
Most of the farmers were happy that the agreement was reviewed and hoped it would be implemented.
“I am happy with the reviewed agreement and hope that it will be respected and implemented,” said John Tona, a farmer from Wau.
Augustino Akoc, an elder from Warrap State, urged both parties to honour the provisions of the reviewed agreement.
“At this moment, we have a lot of water in the areas of the cattle herders, so hopefully there will be no more early arrivals of migrating animals in Western Bahr el-Ghazal State,” he said.
UNMISS will assist in the deployment of joint integrated police forces in particularly conflict-prone areas and setting up a mobile court.