Gov’t assures safe evacuation of cattle from Magwi County
The national government has reassured the Eastern Equatoria State–particularly the people of Magwi County, of its commitment to ensuring the safe eviction of the cattle keepers.
Addressing the community in Magwi on Tuesday, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Deng, said the removal of livestock from the affected areas of Magwi would allow the safe return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes to resume farming.
“One of our visits was to reassure and confirm that the administration, as well as the state governments of Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria, had put in place orders for the livestock herders to migrate out of that area as per President Kiir’s directives,” he said.
“Second, the foreign ministry is concerned about how South Sudan’s image has been tarnished outside of the conflict between cattle keepers and farming communities, “Dau added.
He said the letters sent by communities to the national government over human rights violations and abuses in the area prompted them to travel to the area to bring peace and care to the neighbourhood.
“Thirdly, is about the return of Ugandan refugees to the area, which we have observed, and which has been a positive sign in terms of government attempts to restore peace in South Sudan, “Dau stated.
He further said the last item on the agenda was to urge the IDPs and refugees who sought shelter within Magwi town to return home.
“So, basically, we need to assist the communities so that they know the government cares about their plight and that we are working hard to improve people’s lives.”
Following the exit of the cattle keepers from areas of Agoro, Amee and Aru, Dau described the situation in Eastern Equatoria as tranquil and normal.
Heed the orders
He also urged livestock owners to follow government orders and leave the farming area to allow the locals to return to homes.
Dau said the cattle herder must leave Magwi County and there is no negotiation between the cattle keepers and indigenous people over the matter.
However, he urged the community to provide a safe pathway for the cattle keepers to return home.
The deputy minister underscored that the national government had tasked the SSPDF with ensuring the safe return of the pastoralists to their state.
The governor of Eastern Equatoria, Louis Lobong Lojore, spoke on behalf of the state administration and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring livestock herders return to Jonglei State.
He urged the residents of Magwi County to remain peaceful, stating that the government is striving to address their problems.
Lobong appealed to the UN and its allies to support government institutions in their efforts to ensure people’s safety.
“You should help improve the capacity of government institutions to play their role successfully,” Lobong urged the UN and NGOs representatives present at the meeting.
Governor Lobong also called for the passage of rules governing the transportation of cattle in South Sudan.
The conflict between cattle keepers and farmers has claimed the lives of more than 50 people from both sides.
The gathering was attended by the EES governor and his deputy, MPs representing Magwi County in R-TNLA, Magwi County commissioner, executive director of Pageri, and Pageri paramount chief, among others.