November 21, 2017 (BOR) – Murle leaders in South Sudan have welcomed calls for reconciliation and signed a declaration resolving to work towards peace and development beyond ethnic and political divisions.

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Gen Ismael Konyi, the leader of Murle community committee for peace, in Bor, 11 June 2013 (ST)

The peace declaration, according to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was signed at the conclusion of an historic peace and reconciliation conference supported by the UN mission in Jonglei state region.

The leaders vowed to improve the dire situation in the southeast region, resolving to address corruption and nepotism, the marginalization of minorities, cattle raiding and to improve relations with neighbouring communities.

It was agreed that dialogue between different tribes should take place on a grassroots level to prevent future conflicts.

The UNMISS head of field office in the Greater Jonglei region, Deborah Schein, urged the leaders to pursue a path of peace within their communities and with neighbouring states so that development can return to the region.

“We are very pleased with what we saw and what we heard,” said Schein.

“As we have said before, peace is not an event, it is a process and we are looking forward to this going forward. We will continue to stand by the Murle community as they seek lasting peace among their people and their neighbours,” she stressed.

Participants at the conference acknowledged the importance of previous peace meetings held in Kuron between key Murle leaders as the beginning of a wider peace process that should be held in the Murle area and beyond.

The deputy minister of labor and public service, General David Yau Yau, who attended the Kuron meetings, assured participants that the Jonglei region was moving towards peace, amidst speculations of a looming power struggle for the governor’s seat.

“I call upon all political leaders, military officers and traditional leaders to resolve all differences and work towards the progress and development of the Murle people,” he said.

The state governor, Sultan Ismail Konyi, emphasized the need for continued dialogue and “to clean the face of the Murle people from being regarded as abductors and killers”.

“We leaders must sensitize our people to change their way of life. We have to change the common narrative that the Murle are child abductors, cattle thieves, killers and violent people,” he said.

The peace declaration was signed by all county commissioners including four key Murle leaders who attended the Kuron meeting

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