September 30, 2019 (MAGWI) – A civil-military dialogue conducted in July by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to reduce tensions in Magwi, Eastern Equatoria recorded success, officials said.
The UN peacekeeping mission reported that did a follow-up visit to the area two months later and found out that relations between villagers and the two military forces had improved significantly after years of violence.
As a result, the mission stated on its website, many Magwi residents have returned home from refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda.
“Civilians in this area are respecting what we agreed on and are no longer moving around with guns and military uniforms,” Gerald Okeny, chief of the Agoro district in Magwi told a team from UNMISS.
UN patrol also said it witnessed a stable security situation in the area.
“Mistrust and tensions between civilians and the military were markedly reduced soon after the resolutions were properly implemented, following the dissemination of the agreement to local communities in the villages,” said Michael Obany Duku, head chief of Owinykibul.
According to UNMISS, the civil-military dialogue in Magwi came up with several measures to improve relations in the area, including trainings of military officers to professionally perform their task to protect civilians, only allowing soldiers on duty to carry weapons and wear uniforms, and disarming of civilians possessing illegal firearms.
The peacekeeping body, in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council, reportedly helped to spread the word by organizing a series of similar dialogues in several places within the nearby locations.
South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused the country’s then former Vice President, Riek Machar of plotting a coup in the capital, Juba.
In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.