Dinka Malual and Rezeigat delegates during a dialogue as part of the Pre-Migration Conference in Nyamlel Town (Photo: UNDP, 2 Feb 2020)

Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal region of South Sudan, and Rezeigat nomads Eastern Darfur region of Sudan successfully ended a pre-migration conference with signing of multiple resolutions in Nyamlel Town of Lol on 1-2 Feb 2020.

This conference, organized by UNDP with support from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), as well as FAO and UNMISS, brought together 65 delegates (5 women) from the two border communities to deliberate over last year’s resolutions. The objective was to make recommendations to ensure not only peaceful movement of herders from Sudan into Lol and Aweil but also the sustainability of the dialogue.

The Precedent for Cooperation

The Northern Bahr el Ghazal region borders Chad to the West and Sudan to the North. The region has vast natural resources that attract many Rezeigat nomads and traders in search for pasture and water for their livestock and market for their commodities.

During the last cattle migration season (January-May 2019), the Joint Border Peace Committee, which is the body tasked with monitoring migration resolutions, reported no major incidents. However, most delegates to the conference stressed the importance of dialogue between the two communities to sustain the current peace in the region.

Dinka Malual delegates in a group discussion, Nyamlel Town (Photo: UNDP, 01 Feb 2020)

“No major problems have been reported between the Rezeigat, Dinka Malual and Luo since January 2019, and so this conference provides an opportunity to review the resolutions of Jan 2019 migration conference,” said the Regional Peace Coordinator William Kolong in his opening remarks at the conference.

The Information Minister from Lol, Hon. Anei Anei, agreed: “No major incidents have been reported to the government – this means the communities of Dinka Malual and Rezeigat have been working very hard to maintain peace in Lol, they have accepted to co-exist peacefully and I am proud of you.”

“The border communities depend on each other and South Sudanese and Sudanese are one people in different countries. We are one people who have had intermarriages,” said Mohamed Benani representing the Rezeigat delegates, suggesting the next dialogue be held in East Darfur, Sudan.

”We have not heard major incidents involving the host communities and the Rezeigat nomads for [some] years now. Next conference should focus on sharing ideas on developmental issues,” said a representative of Aweil, Hon. Zacharia Mayuol.

In his opening remarks, Hon. Roberts Kornelio, the Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies from Lol while representing the State Governor, said: “We have not witnessed or recorded incidents of violent conflicts along the South Sudan-Sudan border partly due to the good leadership of the state and the communities. Our communities need to have a vision and discuss development issues like construction water points for support livelihoods instead of cattle migration conferences,” indicating the need for development interventions in the region.

Deliberations on Way Forward

The conference focused on consultations and group discussions on the key aspects of the January 2019 migration resolutions and recommendations.

The deliberations over the previous resolutions by the participants resulted in assigning additional roles to the Joint border peace committee, including monitoring the duration of the migration season and adherence to the resolutions.

One of key resolutions and recommendations made include Resolution 12: Possession of firearms is strictly prohibited and any member of Rezeigat or Dinka Malual found in possession of firearms, in Sudan or South Sudan respectively, shall be prosecuted according to the laws of each country. This resolution is very important as past incidents were committed using firearms.

The delegates made some recommendations to sustain dialogues between the border communities that include:

1. In the absence of support from the peace partners, eventually Dinka Malual will provide bulls and goats when the conference convenes in the Dinka area and the Rezeigat will provide other food items, and vice versa.

2. Any community hosting the conference shall accommodate the participants, while the transportation to the conference shall be the responsibility for each participant.

As the current cattle migration season will end in the first week of June 2020, under normal circumstances, peace actors in the area would begin planning for the post-migration conference to address any migration- related issues/ incidents and review the resolutions of the Feb 2020 conference.

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Read more about the February 2020 conference from FAO South Sudan

Read about the 2018 conference here

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