This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
With sole purpose to realize the ongoing violence is reduced and community security has become improved in the region, the South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control (CSSAC) through the National Interior Ministry in close collaboration with the Government of Eastern Equatoria State spearhead the launch with a call to civilians to submit their illegally possessed arms to the appropriate authorities in the state.
The state Governor Louis Lobong Lojore welcomed the launch by the CSSAC as he assured them that his administration has been waiting for them to start the process.
He called for joint efforts and commitment from all the stakeholders in the state to support the campaign so to realize nonviolent state.
Speakers strongly emphasized on civilians to surrender illegally possessed armaments to the right authorities as efforts to reduce uncalled deaths among South Sudanese communities in the region.
Equally, the state Police Commissioner Major General Henry Dinama Odu highly welcomed the initiative saying he will remain on the forefront on the gun-free campaign.
He appealed for cooperation from the state citizens when undertaking the search for guns.
According to the leader of the National CSSAC from Juba Mr. Abuya Benn, the Caravan team targets all illegally possessed guns by civilians which most of whom concentrate on isolated settlements.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Benn clarified that the United Nations Development (UNDP) is the implementing agency and seeks to expand promotion information to the state authority to persuade civilian communities to discourage possessing small arms.
Speaking also was the state Local Government Minister Charles Ambrose Lokonoi who clarified that his Ministry in collaboration with the National Interior Ministry will be taking the lead on the just launched Caravan.
Also, addressing the gathering was the Torit Mayor his worship Stephen Osfaldo Lobali who underscored the importance of the initiative but insisted on an adoption starting with wider consultations with communities in order to enable them to value the long waited campaign.
The Caravan is a joint initiative by the CSSAC Bureau and UNDP’s Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) project with financial support from the European Union, the Government of Japan, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
Over the next three months, the drama actors of the Caravan will stage 20 lively shows in the first three states, beginning with Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, and Lakes state.
The Caravan will target remote conflict-prone areas to deliver carefully crafted messages designed to promote a gun-free culture in South Sudan.
The Caravan initiative, which was first launched on 22 March, 2013, seeks to complement a series of interactive radio programmes that earlier sought to dissuade civilians from acquiring arms as well as encourage those who already owned arms to peacefully surrender them to the police. Speaking at the official flag-off event held at ‘Zahara Play Ground’ in Juba on Wednesday, 13 November 2013, the acting Head of the CSSAC Bureau, Dr Riak Gok Majok said, “disarming the minds of communities is the responsibility of all of us – government, development partners, traditional authorities, religious leaders, and civil society organisations.”
The Head of the CSSAC Bureau then urged well-wishers and development partners to “invest heavily” in this community sensitisation programme because, he said, “it is the sure way for forging a better future for this country and its people.” Some of the development partners present at the flag-off event whom he appealed to included representatives from the diplomatic missions of the European Union, Japan, Canada, the United States, The Netherlands, as well representatives from international NGOs like Saferworld.
UNDP Deputy Director (Operations), Mr Mulugeta Abebe said as a development agency, “UNDP supports the government’s current emphasis on attaining community peace and security.” He urged the government “to do even more so that the citizens of this country can peacefully engage in agriculture, education, and trade to lift themselves out of poverty.”
The overall goal of the CSAC project is to provide technical assistance to enhance the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to discharge its duty to protect the rights and lives of South Sudan citizens during the process of state formation.
CSAC’s support to the Government of South Sudan in other areas like arms control, support to local governments and rule of law institutions, and general post-war recovery jointly aim to help the Government extend state authority across the country – a move that helps improve the overall security environment and thus contributes to the consolidation of peace in South Sudan.