Central Equatoria communities condemn cattle raiding, appeal to Kiir and Adil
Representatives from Juba, Terekeka and Kajokeji counties have written a paper denouncing pastoralist cattle raids in their areas, calling for greater Presidential support in restoring peace to Central Equatoria.
Making reference to the movement of cattle herders into Central Equatoria from 2008, the paper notes the 'gruesome and scandalous incursion' of herders from Bor, Terekeka and Yirol. It claims that over 5,000 cattle have been stolen from camps in the state, accompanied by high rates of extrajudicial killing, robbery, rape and torture.
More broadly, the letter notes that the sudden movement of large numbers of cattle into county villages causes food insecurity, desertification and overgrazing which they say will lead to 'a looming ecological disaster'.
Outlining their joint position, the citizens from Juba, Terekeka and Kajokeji have called for the swift implementation of republican order No. 29/2017 and gubernatorial order No. 17/2020. Both orders mandate the expulsion of pastoralist herders from traditional community lands, introduced as a way to defuse rising cattle conflict in South Sudan.
By demanding the immediate withdrawal of herders from the 3 counties, the letter's signatories hope that it would 'permit the voluntary return of our people currently and
painfully squatting in refugee camps in Uganda, and the IDPs within South Sudan, into their ancestral lands, and engage in cultivation since the rainy season has started.'
If the republican and gubernatorial orders are not enforced, the communities assert it would stand to undermine the person and authority of the President. In the case of this happening, they have pledged to 'continue to explore other means that would enable our people to recuperate and enjoy their right of livelihood and live peacefully'.