Central Equatoria Council of Elders in the United States of America (CECE- USA):
To Whom It May Concern:
The year 2015, marks the bloodiest year in the history of the two sisterly tribes of Northern Bari and Mundari of Terekeka County, in the Bari village of Kworijik–Luri. The tragic violence has resulted in 11 people killed, 10 wounded, and many others are displaced from Kworijik, Dijeri, Mulubur, Jopa and Komiru. The indiscriminate uses of firearms, by the Mundari cattle keepers, against the farmers of Kowrijik-Luri village, have brought about these tragic consequences.
This bloodiest and seemingly unprovoked violence has thrown relations between the two sisterly communities into deep darkness, once again. It is only the wisdom of the political leaders and other authorities that can shine a bright light on justice and resolution of this violent conflict for the good of the two fraternal communities. The Elders of Central Equatoria in North America (CECE-USA) are disturbed by this unfortunate tragedy.
For years the Bari and the Mundari communities have lived side by side in peace. Quite often, they had co-operated to combat foreign enemies who had tried to invade their lands. Unfortunately, after the independence of our young nation, the Republic South Sudan, the Mundari cattle keepers became more aggressive towards the host communities. The Mundari possession of firearms, in particular, while the host communities do not have the same, is at the root of their aggressiveness and intimidation of others. Undoubtedly, all the farmers are not free to cultivate, not free from fear, and not free to live. Instead of growing food for their households, and to supply the urban dwellers in Juba with their surpluses for the market, the Mundari cattle owners have continuously and intentionally prevented the Kworijik-Luri farmers to perform this crucial role. Ugandan and Kenyan farmers instead have become the lifeline for the survival of Juba. We have become dependent on them and we pay exorbitant prices for their low quality agricultural food products. We have also noticed many similar incidents which have been committed, by the Mundari cattle keepers, in other areas of the Central Equatoria State. So far, nothing has been done to resolve and to end these violent activities, peacefully and permanently. To prevent farmers to grow food, in order to feed South Sudanese, whether in Juba or elsewhere, is an unforgivable national scandal for our youngest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.
After lengthy and fruitful contacts, and discussions between CECE-USA and elders of both communities, Mundari and Bari, in Juba, we have received encouraging news, namely that both communities are aware of the consequences of failing to resolve this current and bitter conflict.
We the Council of Elders of Central Equatoria in North America have emphasized and agreed on the following resolutions and recommendations, to be acted upon immediately without any delay:
1. We want to make sure that the perpetrators must be brought before the law and the right procedures must be followed in order to prevent such tragic criminal acts, in the future again, and they must be put into practice. Peace or reconciliation without justice is a recipe (license) for more conflicts.
2. All the Mundari pastoralists, who occupy farming areas in Bari villages, should immediately return to their land (home) with their animals (cattle). The same should apply to the other pastoralists in the Central Equatoria State.
3. As stipulated in the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, Article number 173(6)(b) that the land belongs to the community. Only under the principle of eminent domain (public use), the government of the Republic of South Sudan can request a community’s land for the benefits of the public. We ask the established “SOUTH SUDSN LAND COMMISSION” to exercise its constitutional power to prevent any misconduct and illegal uses and misappropriations of lands that will result in tragic violence, such as in Kworijik, Jebel Ladu and Pojulu and other lands of the Central Equatoria State. Land is the soul, the history, and the cultural roots of an African community. It is in the land that the dead (ancestors) and the living live in harmony and in communion. The Arabs and other colonizers failed to deprive us of this cardinal attachment to land. Those who are tempted, with the power of the gun, must ponder over the lessons of history. As the African proverb says, “the moon moves slowly but it crosses the sky”. It may take sometimes for violent responses to provocations.
4. We call upon the Governor of Central Equatoria, Honorable Clement Wani Konga, to establish a permanent police post in the conflict areas of Kworijik, Dijeri, and Mulubur, which is fully staffed and reinforced. We believed that a permanent police post will provide law and order, and security to these areas.
5. We also call upon the joint committee of Bari and Mundari to continue the established dialogue to promote peaceful coexistence, and to resolve other disputes over the border lines between the counties in the Central Equatoria State.
We the undersigned Executive Committee of CECE-North America (USA) has obtained the consent and approval from the general assembly of the Central Equatoria tribes comprised of Bari, Mundari, Pojulu, Kakwa, kuku, Kaliko, Lugbara, Nyepo and Nymgwara in North America, to pursue and continue the current contacts and communications with the Elders, the government of Central Equatoria State and the other dedicated authorities in the Republic of South Sudan.
1. Mundari Elder: Alphonse Kenyi 2. Bari Elder: Francis Limbe
1. The President of the Republic of the South Sudan, His Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit
2. The Vice President, His Excellency, James Wani Igga
3. Governor of Central Equatoria, His Excellency, Clement Wani Konga
4. Member of the Parliament of the Northern Bari Payam, Honorable Thomas Gore,
5.Member of the Parliament for Legislative Assembly, Central Equatoria State, Honorable Paulino Laku Kedia
Notes: Central Equatoria Council of Elders, USA, is a civil society organization in United States of America. Its purpose and concerns are to support peace and development for the people of the Republic of the South Sudan.
The officers of this organization can be reached at email: email@example.com