Farmers and cattle keepers resolve to coexist peacefully in Magwi
The farmers and cattle keepers in Magwi county of Eastern Equatoria State have agreed on justice mechanisms to enhance peaceful coexistence between them.
The Acholi and Dinka Bor community representatives held a three-day dialogue forum organized by the South Sudan Peacebuilding Opportunity Fund (POF) in Obama Village last week. The forum was to resolve tensions between the two communities.
Acholi farmers have accused Dinka Bor cattle keepers of grazing their cattle in their farms hence destroying crops, the disappearance of seven people including a chief, and violent hostilities. On the other hand, the cattle keepers have accused the farmers of stealing and killing their animals.
In their resolutions, the communities placed penalties for cattle thieves and killers as well as penalties for cattle found destroying farms.
Ochola Emmanuel Lino, the chairperson of the Acholi community in Magwi spelled out the resolutions.
“We have come with a resolution that these stubborn people who are stealing or killing the animals of these people, must pay the animal. If you kill one animal, you must pay two animals because they do it purposely. On the issue of farms, we have formed a committee where they shall be following these cases. For an animal found destroying the farms the charges are 35,000 SSP per cattle. When 100 cattle are found, they will be charged 100 times. The same applies to any number like 50 cattle,” he said.
Maluk Gai, the representative of cattle keepers in Magwi County observed that the resolutions will guarantee peaceful coexistence between the estranged communities.
“There was a problem between farmers and cattle keepers and this is what brought us to Obama Village here because the two groups had disagreed until they even don’t want to understand one another, very big misunderstanding. But now we have all agreed on some laws that we are going to work with it," Maluk said.
“In case cattle entered a farm it will not be killed but will be arrested and charged, the owner will be responsible. All of us agreed on this issue," he reiterated.
Hakim Paride Mamur, the advisor for POF appreciated the two communities for resolving their differences and promised to offer support where necessary.
“These laws if it is not helping both of you in the long run they will be amended to resolve all your issues. This is not the last meeting, we will continue meeting to resolve issues and for the committee formed we will support your activities," he assured.
Magwi County Executive Director David Ocheng Tukwaro urged the local leaders of the two communities to build relations and benefit from local services equally.
Over 93 participants from both communities including organized forces and county government representatives attended the forum.