Peace, reconciliation workshop kicks off in Pibor

Peace, reconciliation workshop kicks off in Pibor

A three-day political, peace, and reconciliation retreat workshop for Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) has kicked off at Kabarthe Women’s Peace Centre in Pibor on Tuesday. 

The retreat that brought together top political and community leaders is intended to discuss the political differences, and issues facing the local community in the area.

The leaders will use the opportunity to come out with strategies to address matters related to cattle raiding, youth-led violence, and child abduction.

Chief Administrator of the Pibor Administrative Area Lokoli Amee Bullen said it was time for the local people to stop all negative activities and unite for the betterment of its community.

“We are gathered here to have peace, unity, and reconciliation in Pibor, and to stop the fighting. We need these to be the outcome of this retreat,” he said.

“If we become one, we will move out of this retreat with one voice and ask the people (community) and especially the youth to stop raiding our neighbor’s cattle or abduct children,” Lokoli added.

The Chief Administrator emphasized the need to provide alternative livelihood for youth, through adult learning opportunities and agriculture.

“We also need to get out and dialogue with the youth in different counties to understand why they engage in these vices and how we can help them,” Lokoli said.

UNMISS Head of Civil Affairs, Hazel De Wet, said the narrative of the Greater Pibor area has for too long been negative and had to be changed.

“I am extremely encouraged to hear that over the next three days there will be discussions on how to cement peace in the interest of the entire community,” he revealed.

UNDP, with support from the Government of Sweden, constructed the Women Peace Centre to further solidify the impact of the Kabarthe women on community cohesion and peacebuilding in Pibor.

Since its launch in June 2021, the center has become an important community gathering point.

Time for stability

Speaking at the event, Baba Medan Konyi, South Sudan Deputy Minister of Information, appealed to the senior leadership of Greater Pibor to implement the recommendations that will from the retreat.

“Greater Pibor is very rich [in resources] but we are not seeing these resources because of the crisis and the conflict between Murle, Nuer, Dinka, and so forth. We need peace to see the fruits of our resources in Pibor,” he said.

“We need to focus on the agenda and let us commit ourselves to whatever we discuss. Let us take forth the agreements of this conference,” Konyi added.

The delegates are expected to discuss early marriage, violence, child abductions, and cattle raids and find sustainable solutions to enhance social cohesion with neighboring communities.

“A society will not thrive without peace. If we can give all that we have towards peace, then we build a foundation for development,” Konyi assured.

The political retreat was supported by the UNMISS Civil Affairs Division and UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion project with funding from the Government of Sweden.