Protecting cattle-raising communities in South Sudan

22 Apr 2011

imageCattle raising community in Kolnyang payam, Jonglei State, South Sudan © UNDP

The post-conflict period should be a time of peace and increased security for the people of South Sudan. Ensuring the safety of communities is a key goal for government, and it will demonstrate the benefits of peace while building confidence among the population.

However, some areas of South Sudan have a long tradition of cattle raiding between tribes, which has grown increasingly violent with weapons that have been widely available due to the long, recent war. Also, a limited police presence in rural areas has hampered efforts to tackle the problem.

Faced with these challenges, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the South Sudan Police Service have come up with a new initiative to develop livestock patrol units, focused in areas where cattle raiding is common. The first unit, in Kolnyang payam in Jonglei State, was launched with the support of UNDP and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Police from specialised units in Kenya and Uganda were brought in to assist in training 50 personnel to pursue and deter cattle raiders. This included instruction in community policing techniques, such as hosting community meetings and setting up local early warning systems. UNDP financed the construction of the unit and provided equipment so it could carry out long range patrols in remote areas.

“This project intends three things: to combat cattle rustling, increase communication with the community and enhance partnership with the government,” said Major General Daniel Deng Lual, head of the South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control.

One Kolnyang Chief praised the initiative, saying it is “very important to the community, so many instances of insecurity will be solved by this.” He added that the creation of the unit by the government “is a sign that they are committed to fighting cattle raiding.”

Joe Feeney, UNDP’s Head of Office, said the establishment of the Livestock Patrol Unit is “particularly important because it represents the State and community working together.”

The extension of police services into rural areas is a significant contribution to community security. When communities feel safer there is greater room for development, leading to a better standard of living for families.

Along with the establishment of the new unit, UNDP is also supporting the construction of more than 60 rural police posts and stations. “On 9 July South Sudan will be the 193rd country in the world and this unit is part of building that country,” said Joe Feeney, “Without a strong state you cannot have a strong country.”