Portsix bakuony Patai

By Portsix bakuony Patai 

In this article ,I will only concentrate on cattle raiding and insecurity improvement.

Cattle raiding, a longstanding practice among pastoralists in South Sudan, was historically governed by cultural authorities and ritual prohibitions. However, after decades of on-and-off integration into armed forces, raiders are now heavily armed, and military-style attacks claim dozens if not hundreds of lives at a time.

Base on the  synthesize perspectives from anthropology, regional history, and conflict studies to offer an analysis of the interplay between local conflict and state violence in South Sudan. We highlight opportunities for conflict de-escalation, concluding with policy recommendations focused on justice and enforcement in the rural areas of South Sudan.

On March 15, 2017, Ethiopian officials reported that Murle gunmen from the Pibor region of South Sudan had mounted a cross-border raid resulting in 28 deaths and the abduction of 43 children from Nuer villages in Gambella, The attack recapitulated a similar, even deadlier, incident last year in which 200 were killed, 160 children abducted, and over 2000 cattle driven off as spoils , These raids are outliers not because they are rare occurrences but because they made it into the news at all. Cattle raiding is a fact of life for pastoralists in the region, but these attacks occur in remote areas with little infrastructure and are rarely reported outside of local news outlets. On the South Sudanese side of the border, vicious cycles of raiding between the Murle and Lou Nuer result in casualties on a relatively routine basis, claiming dozens if not hundreds of lives at a time .

Cattle raiding is a longstanding feature in South Sudanese pastoralist societies. However, the ready availability of arms and the incorporation of this practice into the larger political conflict in South Sudan have intensified the violence to unprecedentedly deadly levels. Raiders who once mounted attacks with spears are now armed with AK-47s in their hands.

The following year, a single incident on February 8, 2013, resulted in almost half the loss of life incurred during these 6 weeks, when Murle raiders attacked a group of Lou Nuer civilians as they migrated to seasonal grazing grounds, killing over 100. Many of the dead were women, children, and elderly. Reports of stolen cattle are often inflated in hopes of compensation: for example, local authorities and Lou Nuer youth claimed a wildly implausible 60,000 cattle raided during this incident. However, the County Commissioner reported up to 4000 heads of cattle stolen, approximately half of which were recovered by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). These numbers still represent a significant blow to the livelihood of the victims, who depend on their herds for subsistence .

The root causes of the current conflict in South Sudan are notoriously complex and long standing. Most peace efforts have, appropriately, focused on national-level agreements such as implementation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) (IGAD, Intergovernmental Authority on Development 2015), the role of UNMISS peacekeeping operations, and  Undoubtedly, intervention at all levels will be required for any kind of long-standing peace. But local-level dynamics are neglected at a significant cost.

For some communities, their ongoing experiences with ethnic and inter-communal violence is so intense and localized that the end of the North-South war and the independence of South Sudan may have little meaning for them in terms of their day-today security. Many communities say that independence has only ended a certain kind of war, but has left sources of insecurity most relevant to them unmitigated - the “mini-wars” that continued to occur between rival ethnic groups and communities.

The context-specific features of any crisis have significant implications for policies that seek to mitigate violence. In the case of South Sudan, endemic cattle raiding creates dynamics that are easily co opted by the military and political objectives of those in power and quickly mobilized along ethnic lines. Analyses that treat cattle raiding as a primarily cultural phenomenon rather than part of the history of war in the region risk overlooking a central component of the current conflict.

The central components of the current conflict are mainly three factors ,cattle raiding ,the long deep cultured rooted ,child abduction and lack of law enforcement and Rebellion , National government had tried so many attempts and to stop these tragic components ,for example ,last year the president of  the republic ,HE Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit had declared state emergency in former lake and Warrap state ,another to disarm youth and remove weapons from their hands , the same scenario had been done by Northern Corridor bloc to make disarmament , perhaps there was little security improvement ,but still more needs to be done for the stability to prevail among our societies .

The recent Mankien peace conference have recommended good numbers of issues ,which need only implementation ,but if you look critically on the recommendations ,still there are missing issues that need to be addressed .

The recommendations are thesis below,

  1. Deployment of strong  security forces .
  2. Compensation of victims

  3 .Recollection of cattle .

These recommendations are primarily solutions to the conflict and cattle raiding ,but if we really need  fundamental solutions to the conflict and cattle raiding ,we must go back to the root cause of these senseless killing among pastoralists ,first the issue of cattle has nothing to do with the tribalism as many people trying to termed as tribalism cause ,that is a misdefinition of South Sudan problem ,the issue of cattle raiding,the  long cultured believe in our societies ,the culture of violence was the really backbone of South Sudanese crisis ,for instance ,if one community fight among themselves and kill hundreds ,raid their own cattle and burn their houses ,it's also the same cycle to other ,one has to take an analysis on that ,there is no basis of proving it as the tribalism issue in regard of cattle raiding .

To de- escalates the tension between pastoralists ,we must make sure that ,youth engagement in all aspects of their daily activities, socially , culturally, politically and economically view .

Social view , inter marriage and social  interaction among youths must be complemented in school , universities, churches and sports activities ,inter marriage among Nilotic tribes has been existing for so many years ,but due to the culture of violence ,it does not change their way of life ,the social interaction in other fields hadn't been practice due to the inter_communal  conflict and wars.

Cultural view, behind the success of any society is the culture preservation , South Sudan have diverse cultures ,our Diversity bring us together ,according to Dr John Garang quote , Arabism cannot unite us ,Islamism cannot unite us and Christianity cannot unite us ,but Sudanism can unite us .likewise our ethnicities names cannot also unite us .

Political view, due to this senseless war in the country ,many youths had joined tribal political parties ,which has no mission and vision .

Youth must join political parties based on Ideology , vision and mission ,but not ethnicities background of political parties and that should be the only way to change our geopolitical system in the country .

Economically view ,it's also agreeable for any transformation in every society must involves socio-economic development interaction. the government of South Sudan must empower youth in business entrepreneurship and innovation creativeness ,so youth can generate their own income without dependent from government officials .

In conclusion,

I would like to urge the government of national unity to prioritize the issue of youth employment and to prevent them from criminals activities ,inter- communal conflict and cattle raiding and child abduction .

Law enforcement must also be taken as the only solution to imitate and deter the on going random killing among the youths .

( Next article will be child abduction )


By Portsix Bakuony Patai,

Former chairman of Splm students league ,

Juba university.

And can be reached through ,

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