A cessation of hostilities agreement between warring ethnic groups in the Jonglei region is a “first step to dialogue and engagement but we now need to build on that and show that there is a real dividend for peace,” the head of UN peacekeeping in South Sudan, UNMISS, has said.
David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, was speaking during a visit to Bor and Pibor in former Jonglei State in the east of South Sudan.
“My hope is that the parties will follow through on their commitments,” Mr Shearer said. “Only through dialogue and engagement can there be any durable peace and then development.”
“From our side, my visit has strengthened my view that we need to step up the patrolling of the key highway between Bor and Pibor. We will also increase our engineering work to improve roads and infrastructure in the Pibor and Bor region.
“Roads are the lifelines of communities in the area. They stimulate trade and economic activity and jobs. Some are closed because of insecurity, others through disrepair. We can help with both.”
Fighting has “disrupted trade, further degraded the economy causing real suffering for the people here,” Mr Shearer said. “I’ve visited markets in the towns of Bor and Pibor, where people told me that prices are high and produce scarce. That won’t help peace to take root.”
The agreement between the Dinka Bor and Murle leadership to end hostilities between the two communities was agreed in May and witnessed by Mr Shearer. It outlined clear next steps; the establishment of an investigations committee and a peace conference to address the many grievances on both sides.
Jonglei region has a long history of fighting between ethnic groups which has centered around cattle raiding and child abductions.by