Participants listen attentively during the Gwalla-Koro peace and reconciliation dialogue
The neighbouring clans of Gwalla and Koro living in Bor-Gok county have for generations been strained by the weight of disputes over limited grazing and fishing resources.
Following an upsurge in violence in 2017, which resulted in the death of one person, in addition to destruction of properties on both sides, the two have done everything in their power to avoid crossing paths under any circumstances.
Legal intervention did little to resolve the ensuing bad blood between the two communities, as they failed to agree on how best to implement a verdict issued by a Bor court.
But following a three-day reconciliation dialogue initiated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) this week, it seems the tides have started to turn for the once sworn enemies.
“As you can see, we are sitting and eating at the same table, like brothers. We are even sleeping in the same hotel and discussing our problems,” said Gwalla’s Bior Kur and Koro’s Laut Maluack.
Upon the conclusion of the dialogue, which brought together chiefs, religious leaders, civil society representatives, men, women, and youth from both clans together, the two communities committed to honouring and implementing the Bor court ruling in order to foster peaceful coexistence and free movement.
“Without peace in our communities, we cannot flourish or receive the support we need from development partners,” agreed Bior Kur and Laut Maluack, who both appreciated the role UNMISS had played in bringing them together.
The UNMISS Civil Affairs Division has been convening such rapprochement forums in the country, as a part its work with the people of South Sudan to engender peace and reconciliation. A similar meeting in recent days in the Boma area promises to bring an amicable resolution to a long-standing rift between communities inhabiting areas around Maruwa Hills, stemming cattle raiding and killings of cattle keepers.