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‘We want peace so our children can return home,’ residents of Mugali tell top UNMISS Torit official

Residents of Mugali in Eastern Equatoria’s Pageri County have expressed their desire for durable peace so they can rebuild their lives.

“We want peace so that our children can return home,” said Mary Keji. “We have been suffering in wars for many years, this time around we are calling on our leaders to talk among themselves and work for peace,” said Ms. Keji, a women’s group leader in Mugali, who would like leaders to be held more accountable.

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Mary and her peers in the remote town were speaking to Caroline Waudo, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Head of Field Office in Torit, who encouraged them to live in peace, citing the Mission’s commitment to encouraging parties to the revitalized peace agreement to collectively work for its robust implementation.

“This is my first visit here in Mugali,” said Ms. Waudo. “On the way we saw a lot of farming activities taking place. This shows that there is relative peace. Be confident; when the revitalized transitional government of national unity is formed, many of you will work hard to rebuild your families,” she noted encouragingly.

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Although relatively free from insecurity, Mugali residents are wary of the presence of cattle, a potential source of conflict between returnees, who are predominantly farmers, and herders who were internally displaced from Jonglei region during the civil war.

“For us to return to our land and embark on proper rebuilding, there is need to set strong by-laws to safeguard crops from cattle,” said Bullen Pellegrino, a village leader who expressed the challenges returnees are facing.

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The signing of the revitalized peace agreement and subsequent steps undertaken by the parties have renewed citizens’ hopes for peace in South Sudan, but there is still more work to be done before full implementation of the agreement is realized.

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