Life in the Duk Padiet area of South Sudan has not been easy lately. The county, located in Jonglei State, has witnessed regular tribal clashes between Nuer, Dinka and Murle, including ambushes to steal cattle, attacks on civilians, and instances of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). While the region has partially stabilized, underlying the current peaceful co-existence between the Dinka and Nuer communities in the Duk Padiet area are deep rifts and painful grievances caused by previous episodes of violent conflicts.
Despite these challenges, the communities are taking steps to build bridges. In a move to reinforce their new-found peace, a series of dialogue meetings were convened, first between Dinka and Nuer chiefs in May 2017, and then among the community leaders and governors from the larger former Jonglei State in November 2017. The objective of both meetings has been to resolve conflict and insecurity issues, with a view to finding ways of transcending the past and charting a better future.
Many people from the Dinka and Nuer communities in Duk Padiet speak both tribal languages. As an outcome of the previous meetings, the communities have created joint cattle camps in an attempt to move towards sustainable peace. UNDP supports the local peace initiatives through its Peace and Community Cohesion project.
The most recent Duk Padiet peace dialogue included over 100 youth from Gawaar, Lou, Hol and Nyarweng communities who are residing in cattle camps and looking after their cattle at the Toich Swamp area. They agreed to resolutions to stop cattle thefts and ambushes, share pastures and water points, and create a Joint Peace Committee.