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BENTIU - 23 May 2013

Border tribes hold migration talks in Unity State

Border tribes are holding talks in Unity State over migration of cattle within the northern parts of the state. The conference attracted participants from Mayom, Abiemnhom, Rubkona and Pariang on the one hand, and from the Sudanese Fallata and Misseriya tribes on the other hand.

The three-day Unity State Migration Stakeholders conference was organized by state and local governments with support from the United States Government.

During the opening remarks, the Deputy Governor of Unity State Michael Chiangiok Geay praised the conference organizers and assured the tribal leaders of the support of the governments of the two Sudans.

“This is the beginning of good neighborliness. We would like to assure you that the state government will implement any resolutions you will come up with,” said the deputy governor.

He further asserted that the Misseriya and Fellata tribes will be protected by the state government, but he warned them to stay away from “people who want to exploit them for their own interest.”

“Do not join those criminals who want you for the sake of their interest and destroy the peaceful coexistence between you and the tribes bordering Unity State,” he said.

He praised the Misseriya for not listening to Khartoum’s calls for hostility with Unity State but rather choosing a good relationship with South Sudan. “Our brothers the Misseriya did not listen to Khartoum’s negative attitude but rather preferred to have a good relationship with the people of Unity State,” he said.

In further remarks he also blamed the people of Pariang for raiding cows of the Fallata nomads after they came to ask the authorities for permission to migrate their cows into the country. Referring to this incident, he tried to reassure the Misseriya of good security in the future, pointing out that SAF has pulled back from the border and SPLA has also withdrawn into South Sudan.

“Next year your cows will be protected, we are not going to have any problem because the people causing problems are now a part of us,” he said.

The deputy governor urged the tribal leaders to avoid criminals who want to destroy the good relationship between with Unity State. “Why should you allow criminals to destroy your peace for their own interest?” he said.

Adam Buam Fadlala from Liri said that he is very happy to represent his people and to assure the people of Unity State of their willingness to have good relations with the state: “We are their brothers and all our life is in South Sudan – we have stayed with one another since our grandparents.”

Mustafa Mohamed, paramount chief of the nomads in the border area of Mayom County said that they are concerned whether there is peace or conflict among them: “We will be the ones to pay the price of what we do good or bad – we need to have peace and stability of our place.”

The leader said that it is time for tribal leaders to support peaceful coexistence. “It is time for our brothers in Unity State to promote peace and security for all of us – we should report correct accounts of events that happens among us,” he said.

For his part, the chief of Pariang called on the government of the state to provide more support and security to avoid any criminal hiding among the tribes.

Chol from Mayom said, “There is hope in the near future of having good security in the area, because those who were attacking us have come home and now are part of our society.” He pointed out that they together with their neighbours the Misseriya visited Northern Bahr Al Ghazal State to acquaint themselves with the way in which leaders there deal with cross-border relationship.