Rumbek Central communities reconcile and merge cattle camps after 8 years of conflict
South Sudan's Lakes State officials say that in a show of reconciliation and unity, the communities of Rup and Kuei sections of Panyon and Amothnhom of Rumbek Central County merged their cattle in Wun-yar cattle camp on Tuesday for the first time in nearly eight years.
The two clans have been engaged in years of inter-communal and intersectional clashes. However, in a recent Agar internal cattle migration conference held in Rumbek, they accepted peace and peaceful coexistence.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, Lakes State's caretaker minister of information and communication, William Koji Kirjok, said the communities are now united.
"The sections of Panyon and Amothnhom of Rup and Kuei communities have been merged in Wun-yar cattle camp and such amalgamation of cattle camps will continue to happen because the communities of Lakes State are together and they will continue to be together, move together and they will camp together and they will continue to share other things," he said.
Koji stated that the main grazing wetlands of Lol-Manyiel need to be regulated by the state government.
The Paramount Chief of the Panyon section of the Rup community Sabit Kuac Manyiel affirmed their unity.
"We are here reconciled, united and we have merged cattle camps in Wun-yar cattle camp together as Panyon and Amothnhom sections of Rumbek Central county," he said.
Chief Kuac explains that the call for peace was reached by the two communities after realizing that clashes only destroyed lives and properties.
“This peace comes through our initiative to voluntarily unite as a community of Rumbek Central County. The government selected a committee headed by myself as a Chief of Panyon section and Ding Anyuon as a gelwong leader of the Amothnhom section. This is what we have agreed to reconcile and have peace between us before we merged our cattle camp in Wun-yar," he noted.
He adds, "We have first of all removed the fear of the unknown between us, whenever we see each other as Panyon and Amothnhom. Another thing is the identification of beautiful girls on both sides for those who wanted to intermarry. Everyone is moving and performing traditional dances and others are singing traditional songs of their bulls freely in the cattle camp.".
The Gelwong youth leader of the Amothnhom section, Matur Mawut said the two communities have already spent three peaceful days at the Wun-yar cattle camp.
"It is about eight years without sharing one cattle camp or sharing food. But now we are in Wun-yar cattle camp together, and we share food. When we came to Wun-yar, the chief of Panyon Chief Sabit Kuac slaughtered for a cow to welcome us, and we are eating the meat together," Mawut said.
He hopes the peace will last as both communities were fully involved in the peace process.
Another Gelwong leader, Manyang Dhel Manyiel said, "We are now in peace and we want Agar generally to have peace. We have gained nothing from killing each other. It is better to live a normal life and cultivate our farms."