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ACHOLI-MADI REJECTED PLAN TO DIOLAGUE WITH HERDERS , DEMANDED EXIT OF CATTLE FROM MAGWI

Nimule, 20 April 2022; The peace dialogue meeting organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, being facilitated by UNMISS for inhabitants of Magwi County (Acholi/Madi) with brutal cattle herders ended without achieving meaningful results. 

The attempted meeting aimed to bring peace and reconciliation, and coexistence between the natives of Magwi County and Dinka Bor cattle herders/ illegal IDPs in Magwi and Nimule on 19th April 2022 ended with no result as the people of Magwi county people both Acholi, and Madi unanimously rejected the planned idea to negotiate for the Dinka Bor who have been brutalizing the host communities from Acholi and Madi respectively to extend their illegal staying in Magwi County. 

The initiative was said to have involved United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and other international organizations so that refugees from Magwi County currently living in refugee camps in Uganda can return to their homes. 

However, the host community from Magwi county has rejected the plan to negotiate with the cattle herders citing the latter have been brutal, they have also rejected the initiative because it was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affair and international cooperation Hon Deng Dau Deng, who hails from Dinka Bor, and some of the cows grazing in farmlands in Magwi County are believed to have belonged to him. 

Both Madi and Acholi outlined six strong points of rejection to dialogue with the cattle herders/ illegal Internal Displaced persons/IDPs.  

They cited that it is wrong that the committee is headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and International Cooperation, who hails from Bor, hence he is not neutral because the incident was done by the Bor people and Deng Daw Deng may have his hands in the atrocities committed against the people of Magwi County by Dinka Bor.  

The host communities further said, there is the National Peace Commission in Juba and the parliamentary committee for peace and reconciliation in the National Assembly in Juba who should conduct this initiative not the ministry for foreign affairs.  

The host communities further said, there is nothing for Magwi or EES to negotiate with Dinka Bor because since they are not neighbors, Magwi County people and Bor people have no common customaries and traditional laws the Bor are pastoralists whilst Magwi people are farmers, hence the two cannot coexist, therefore, the host communities demanded immediate expedition of the herders. 

The host communities firmly said the people of Bor used forceful means and the power of the guns to settle in Magwi and Nimule, they also killed indigenous landowners with impunity, the heavily armed herders resorted to intimidating everybody including the chiefs, taking indigenous girls by force to become their wives without the consent of the girls or the parents, destroying the people's heritage and cultures.  The Dinka refused to pay any bride price, contrary to what they paid to their Dinka girls.  

The host community doubted the silence of the national government when people were brutally killed execution-style with the heavily armed Dinka Bor, and there were no words of condemnation or any government officials visited the scene of the atrocity committed against the people of Magwi by Bor herders. 

They accused the committee led by the Foreign Affairs Minister of bias because they were no members of parliament from Magwi County constituencies, instead, the committee came with national members of parliament from Kapoeta.  

The host communities from Acholi-Madi demanded the Dinka Bor compensate Magwi County people for those who were killed by the herders, property demolition, etc. They called for the immediate exit of Dinka Bor/ cattle herders from any soil in Magwi County and Eastern Equatoria State. 

Andrew Olweny 

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