JUBA – Warring communities of Azande and Balanda have initiated peace and reconciliation dialogue in Tombura County of Western Equatoria State, a senior government official said.
The peace initiative came following last year’s deadly communal violence in which more than 200 people dead and 80,000 were displaced.
The conflict involved local groups aligned with fighters linked to South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO).
Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, Minister of Public Services said engaging in peaceful dialogue will restore peace in Tombura County.
“There is an initiative in Tombura where the communities of Azande and Balanda come together to begin talking about peace among themselves,” Bakosoro told reporters after launching the registration of Azande people in Juba on Saturday.
“Because the more you wait for external forces or people from outside to come to bring to us peace, I think, they can’t bring the best peace.”
Bakosoro said community-to-community dialogue is the only best solution to resolve conflict.
“Peace begins us in the house, when you quarrel with your wife, don’t expect a neighbor to come and solve your problems. If you have a good will, social will, or political will then begin to talk among yourself,” Bakosor said.
Bakosoro sounded hopeful that community-led dialogue will restore lasting peace among warring communities.
“The initiative is a very encouraging one, let our communities who went into war or conflict come together and begin to talk to bring lasting peace among themselves,” he said.
“We (politicians) are the very far way to bring peace to Tombura but if the people of Tombura can initiate talking among themselves, and forget the past and make reconciliation that is the best approach.”
“If we succeed in Tombura to being peace among ourselves, I will appeal to South Sudanese to emulate the same that when people fight, you don’t expect other people to come and stop the fight.”