“The peace mission which we are now launching will start after the process of the disarmament and this is the right thing to do because the government can’t discuss peace process when others are raiding each other,” Dr. Machar said in his opening remarks.
“…and by the way the first peace process attempt led by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul failed because the civilians were raiding each other,” the Vice President (VP) narrated.
Machar said that they visited 11 counties accompanied by the state government officials to sensitize the communities to put down their arms in peacefully. “The participation leading to the launch of this peace committee shall give way for the rest of the work to be done by the local government,” he added.
“The peace committee shall have their county branches because the national government wants to keep the momentum going. “It is important that the momentum is maintained so that people may know that at the end this process we are targeting peace, reconciliation and tolerance and that’s why we are spending so much money in the disarmament,” the VP said.
He said all South Sudanese are aware that about 15,000 troops were deployed together with the 2,000 policemen in the state. “The South Sudanese government should have deployed the 15,000 troops to the Upper Nile, Unity, Warrap, Norther Bhar el Gazal, and western Bhar el Gazal states where we have difficulties, but the government has given this function a top priority because without internal stability you cannot protect yourselves and we need everyone to take this as a mission,” Machar stressed.
“The incidences of raiding have subsided a little although the government was informed yesterday about the raiding in Uror county but good enough the army acted promptly and retrieved the
raided cattle. This is the fourth time that the army have acted safely and retrieved cattle from raiders. This is going to discourage criminals from raiding sprees in the state,” Machar said.
When the SPLA disarm a Payam they leave a contingent behind to protect the civil population and then they move on. “We have seen this in Duk county when the army disarming the civilians left units in 5 places on the ground to deal with any raiders ambush from anywhere,” he explained
The SPLA will now move to Northern Gaweer, greater Fangak in order to build more confidence among the conflicting communities.
The VP said if the arms are confiscated from the people, the remaining army will strife to create good relations with the population to simply identify who is still holding the a firearm illegally. The
police and the chiefs will continue assisting the civilians to shun firearms from their culture.
Machar also blamed some members of parliamentarians from Jonglei state who are ignorant of their counties and constituents yet they claim to be presenting their communities in the state assembly.
“I say this because in some of my visits with the members of parliament I discovered some who don’t know other counties of the state,” the Vice President was startled.
“Let people forgive each other because reconciliation is very important and I know this is a very difficult task that’s been handed to you in this conference where the committee shall emanate from,” Dr. Machar said.
He said, “if the Lou, Gaweer do not leave the dead which have been created by the sprits it will be difficult for you to reconcile with your neighbouring Dinka Bor community. But if we as leaders take charge over it we will facilitate the reconciliation then peace and tolerance will prevail.”
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul said that the reason for holding the workshop is to ensure that activities for peace are well coordinated for desired results. He said that they shall also recommend ways by which peace is to be sustained in the state.
Deng said as the disarmament continues NGOs need to provide humanitarian assistance to the most affected communities. “We shall hear from the state, South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Sudan council of Churches and other actors what they have been doing and plan to do so that we harmonize efforts for better results,” the Archbishop recommended.