Eleven people are reported dead in fresh clashes between Lakes state residents from Yirol West county and Western Equatoria residents from Mvolo County on Tuesday. This despite a meeting at the same time between the governors of the two states in question, to seek an end to the fighting.
Fighting between the farming communities of Western Equatoria’s Mvolo county and Dinka cattle herders from Lakes state, who graze their cattle in the area, has been going on since February.
According to the commissioner of Mvolo County, Paul Tier, the fight started when the local authorities left to attend the peace talks between the governors.
“When we reached in the evening in Mvolo five people were confirmed killed in the morning. And late in the evening six other people were killed, making the total of eleven,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to happen the way we have seen it when we are at the meeting. We in the government of Western Equatoria state are for peace, not for fighting. Fighting is not in our culture but it is being imposed on us.”
The governor of Western Equatoria state, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, condemned the fresh attacks on Mvolo County, which he blamed on the neighboring Dinka Atuot in Lakes state.
The governor said he would continue to work to end the conflict.
After a meeting between the two sides in Lakes state, the two states resolved that forces will be deployed to the border area, and that those displaced by the fighting would be resettled to their original villages by the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.
The governor of Lakes state, Chol Tong Mayai, said that both sides’ politicians are committed to ending the conflict.
“It is our duty as political leaders to see to it that our people live along this border peacefully. It is our duty to see that the services needed are delivered to them. It is our duty to save their lives. And that’s why we made that commitment with Governor Bakosoro to come here as brother and sisters, the whole security of both states came here, we have met and we are going to make sure these resolutions are implemented.”
Governor Bakosoro agreed saying, “we came here to seed peace among ourselves as the sisters states of these region, we need peace among ourselves. We came to Western Equatoria for love and peace among ourselves. For among us killing is bad, we don’t want anybody to die for nothing.”
This is the second time the two governors have met to discuss peaceful solutions to the conflicts between the two communities, yet the fighting continues.