Tensions between farmers and herders in Western Bahr al Ghazal
Pastoralists and farmers in Mamoi area near Wau in Western Bhar El Ghazal State have witnessed rising tensions between their communities, with some reports of violence.
In one recent incident, a woman was reportedly killed and another raped in a dispute that started over resources. The incident took place when cattle entered onto cultivated land and caused damage to crops, a matter which angered the local farmers, according to sources in Wau.
In an interview with Radio Tamazuj, the Western Bahr El Ghazal State deputy governor, Zachariah Joseph Garang said the incident was immediately contained by the authorities, saying the security situation is now calm and stable.
He said the incident of Mamoi area was very limited and it has been controlled. The pastoralists and the farmers are now living together happily, according to the official.
He noted that the rupture between the herders and the farmers started when cows entered into a farm and ate the crops, so the farmers for their part revenged and killed two cows.
“A sick woman died later in the hospital during the conflict and another woman also was raped from the farmers’ side,” says the deputy governor.
Herders and farmers from the state and neighbouring Warrap State held a peace conference on 15 October last year in Busseri area in which both sides agreed to regulate the grazing sites so as to avoid possible disputes in the future.
Garang also emphasized the agreements reached at that peace conference are being implemented in good faith. “The recommendations of the conference are being put in place, now the pasture sites have been shifted from west side to the east,” he revealed.
He said the pastoralist who lost two cows during the recent incident will be compensated, and the rape and killing cases will be dealt with according to the law.
Asked about media reports of defections to the rebels, the official denied any forces in the state defected: “It is fabricated news and nothing happened as such in the state.”
“The Governor Rizig Zachariah has been touring the various counties, for instance, yesterday he went to Baggari County,” he explained, arguing that the governor would not have been able to go to these areas if there was a rebellion, concluding, “these are baseless claims.”