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JUR RIVER COUNTY - 27 Sep 2023

Legislator urges peace between Wau and Jur River counties

Hon. Justin Makuac Guar addressing the peace meeting in Marial-Bai Payam, Jur River County.  (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)
Hon. Justin Makuac Guar addressing the peace meeting in Marial-Bai Payam, Jur River County. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

A Member of the Western Bahr el Ghazal State Legislative Assembly representing Marial-Bai payam in Jur River County has made a plea for enduring peace between his community and neighboring Wau County.

The two communities have suffered  strained relations and lack of interaction since 2013 due to conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.

Speaking at a peace awareness event organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday in Marial-Bai Payam, Hon. Justin Makuac Guar, who represents the payam in the State Legislative Assembly on the SPLM ticket, emphasized the need for lasting peace through dialogue.

“UNMISS is talking about peace, but why are you leaving out those who are spoiling peace and coming here alone? You must bring our neighbors. If people are interested in peace, I need the people of Bessilia to be present here because these are the people we share a border with,” he said. “I need the people of Baggari and also the people of Bazia because we border them so that we talk about peace. Bring the tribes that have borders with Dinka because peace needs to be brought nearer to the hearts of the people.”

“I want to travel to Baggari to go and express my voice freely as a man and return in peace,” Makuac added.

In response, Jur River County Commissioner James Ernest Makuei welcomed the UNMISS-organized event, emphasizing the importance of individuals initiating peace.

“We have come on a program of peace and we thank the Ministry of Peace Building and UNMISS. This is the peace that we came for peace begins with you. If you do not stand for peace, this is what brings death,” he said. “Makuac is asking why we brought these people like the Yulu tribe from Raja rather than bringing the people of Bessilia, Baggari, and Bazia. Hon. Makuac, this is a symbol of peace. On 27 September, the Ministry of Peace Building and UNMISS will go to Baggari, and I will tell the director general that if they can send a car, let them pick up Hon. Makuac to go and speak to the people of Baggari and make peace there.”

“We need Makuac to go and tell the people of Baggari that we, the people of Marail-bai, are for peace, and I come to Baggari to bring peace,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Angelina Anthony, the Director General in the state’s peacebuilding ministry, emphasized the importance of mutual support in promoting peace and coexistence.

“We need to support one another because peace begins with me and you,” she said. “If we coexist, peace will reach others and our nation will get development,” she said. “The whole state needs peaceful coexistence and we hope that shortly, people will be able to visit each other.”

The UNMISS peace initiative, led by the Public Information Office under the theme “Peace begins with me” will continue with similar events in Baggari in Wau County and Mapel in Jur River County this week.

In the past, such dialogues have brought together various communities alongside local artistes and senior government officials to advocate for peace and stability. In May, UNMISS conducted a similar event in Deimzuber Payam and Raja town in Raja County.