23 Nov 2019

 

Farmers & Herders Agree To Cooperate In Bahr el Ghazal

‘’I expect the cattle keepers to come to Kuejane without guns,’’ argued Elario Deng, a farmer’s representative from Kuajena County. ‘’The chief will show them where to graze their cattle far away from farms and control their cattle from destroying crops and farms.’’

By Alahayi Nemaya

With shortage of grazing land and limited water points for cattle and goats, the dry season brings misery to the cattle keeping community of Tonj and Gogrial areas. Thousand of animals always move into Wau areas to seek for pasture and water. As a routine seasonal movement of cattle, this practice always turns into confrontation between cattle keepers and farmers.

So many efforts were tried to stop the confrontation but in vain until ‘Marialbai Peace Agreement was reached. But some communities were not happy with some the clues of the agreement during the tristate conference which asked for the review of the Marialbai Agreement.

‘’One of the resolutions of the tristate peace agreement held this year stipulated that the Marialbai seasonal cattle movement agreement has to be reviewed every 3 years,’’ said Abdulbaqi Ibishomi, Civil Affair Officer of the UNMISS Wau field office. ‘’The first and immediate demand was cessation of all form of hostilities; no looting, no killing, no raping and that has help,’’ he continued.

‘’We hope to achieve and clarify all the green areas and to strengthen security in those areas that seem weak and once we have done that, the seasonal cattle movement will be peaceful as anticipated,’’ added Abdulbaqi.

The peace conference has reached an agreement that the cattle keepers be disarmed before entering the farmer’s areas.

‘’I expect the cattle keepers to come to Kuejane without guns,’’ argued Elario Deng, a farmer’s representative from Kuajena County. ‘’The chief will show them where to graze their cattle far away from farms and control their cattle from destroying crops and farms.’’
Elario said his community will continue to stay peaceful with the cattle keepers if they are disarmed in Kuejena.

The farmers argued that carrying guns is a threat to their security which the cattle keepers maintained that they need the guns to protect their cattle from raiders.

‘’I have to be sincere, if cattle destroy farms and crops, we are ready to compensate the farmers, because crops are as important as the cattle,’’ emphasised Deng Akec Achuil, Head of a cattle camp. ‘’If we don’t compensate a farmer, he won’t be happy, and we fear that he can do anything on our cattle.’’


‘’Now this conference has taught us to co-exist peacefully as herders and farmers,’’ added Achuil.

‘’I would like to tell the farmers that what had happened between us was not good,’’ Achuil acknowledged. ‘’We will keep our cattle from entering any farm,’’ he added.

The conference in its resolutions stipulated that farmers whose farmlands are destroyed by the cattle will be compensated according to committee formed to asses the quantity of crops destroyed.

Destruction of farmlands by cattle resulted in fighting between farmers and cattle keepers, leading to loss of human lives and displacement of people. Most of the internal displaced persons ended-up living in UN Protection of Civilian Cites in Wau.

 

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