The Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron
There have been tensions between the Toposa and a neighboring Murle community since 57 cows was raided in August last year. Thanks to great work from our Peacebuilding and Development program, the cows are now being recovered.
Text and photo: Miriam Hagen
After months of hard work, Field Officer in Peacebuilding and Development Program, Eliah Lokee, can tell the story of
recovering of 49 of the 57 cows which were raided from the Murle tribe in August last year.
During a Peace meeting HTPVK held in Boma in Jonglei state in August last year, we learned that some Toposa’s had just raided 57 cows and killed one man from the Murle tribe.
“The Murle said that they had not been fighting with the Toposa’s for a long time, so to retain the peace they had to return the cows,” said Eliah Lokee, Field Officer in the Peacebuilding and Development program in HTPVK. The program contacted the Commissioner of Kapoeta East County, which asked them to go and talk to the people who raided the cows. The raiders were from Nabwelangakinei 45 kilometer west of Kuron, and our peace program went there together with the Chiefs and the Security Committee.
«We met opposition there. They said ‘We are still having tensions with the Murle.’ They said that they were not going to return the cows,” Lokee explained and added that they would not give in even after more than 10 visits to their village.
“They gave back five cows, but that cannot be enough,” Lokee said. He only knew that there were five men who raided, but they were not identified to them.
“We told them that if they did not return the cows, we would bring in the government.”
Lokee told that those discussions could become pretty heated, as the Toposa’s turned their anger towards the mediators. They still had to continue the negotiations because this incident was jeopardizing the peace in the whole area. It could now turn the Murle’s to become enemies of the Toposa’s.
“Usually the Toposa’s go to that side during the dry season to get water for the cows, but the Murle said that they would take their cows and threaten them. Because of that, nobody has gone there for the whole season,” Lokee explained.
Commissioner Titos Lokwachuma of Kapoeta East County came to Nabwelangakinei 27th of December and asked the raiders to return the cows peacefully.
“Most of them got scared and ran away. They refused to bring the cows,” Lokee said.
The Commissioner went back 14th of January together with 30 soldiers.
“When they saw that, they knew that we were serious. They handed over 15 cows, but 37 were still remaining and we had a lot of negotiations. We found a man who had 28 of the cows. He ran away and we took them by force,” the Field Officer told.
Recovered this week
The police collected 60 cows and brought them to Kuron, but 11 had to be sent back because they were not among the raided cows. 8 cows are still missing. Bishop Emmeritus Taban Paride of Dioses of Torit negotiated with the Commissioner of Boma, and they agreed that the 49 cows can be recovered and the remaining 8 the Commissioner of Eastern Kapoeta County and the Commissioner of Boma will agree on later.
The 49 cows left Kuron on Wednesday this week, and hopefully they will have reached Boma by Friday or Saturday. Bishop Taban Paride does not believe that this conflict has been about the whole tribes.
“This has been an issue between Boma County and Eastern Kapoeta county. Any community can cause problems. Unfortunately in South Sudan when two people from two tribes are fighting, they say that the tribes are fighting, not the two men,” he said and added on saying.
“To hide their own mistake, they say that the Murle is against the Toposa. When I see that my brother has done something wrong, I should tell him.”
“How important is the recovery of the cows?”
“This is a lesson for the whole area. Many times action is not taken. The chiefs are afraid, there are too many guns. It is good that the government has intervened. People see that if we do this, we are not going to escape,” the Bishop said. He also highlights the importance of the community police in solving this case.