NSCC Dinka-Nuer Press Release #4
13 March 1999
MORE THAN 300 DINKA AND NUER LEADERS SIGN A COVENANT OF PEACE WITH FAR REACHING
NAIROBI: The Dinka-Nuer West Bank Peace and Reconciliation Conference held in Bahr el Ghazal in southern Sudan has resulted in a bold commitment for peace that could have national implications. The Conference, facilitated by the New Sudan Council of Churches, resulted in a peace agreement called the Wunlit Dinka-Nuer Covenant. The Covenant and its Resolutions were signed by more than 300 Dinka and Nuer chiefs, community and church leaders, women and youth. It boldly promises an end to seven and half years of conflict between the Dinka and Nuer people on the West Bank of the Nile and declares a permanent ceasefire with immediate effect. Amnesty is granted for offences prior to 1/1/99, freedom of movement across the lines of conflict is affirmed, and resolutions with far-reaching effects were adopted in a consensus style of decision making. The Conference was opened with the sacrificing of a large White Bull, traditional spiritual leaders of both peoples calling for an end to the conflict, and the warning that any who violate this Covenant will go the way of the White Bull. Christian church leaders conducted daily prayers and the final Covenant was sealed both in Christian worship and in traditional sacrifice of another bull, dancing and festivities.
Resolutions address is detail issues such as:
** Missing persons and Marriages of Abductees: including the identification of people who are missing or were abducted, the issue of marriages, and the return of persons to their families and home areas;
** Reclaiming the Land and Rebuilding Relationships: including a provisional list of more than 400 villages and settlements that have been abandoned, an encouragement for people to move back home, and the development of shared activities between Dinka and Nuer such as schools, livestock markets, healthcare, etc.
**Institutional Arrangements and Monitoring the Border: including police stations, border courts, appeal processes, radio stations to build communications across the borders, joint policing of the grazing and fishing areas during the dry season, and forming a Peace Council to implement the Resolutions.
**Dealing with those Outside the Peace Process: including invitations to commanders who have continued to fight and must be brought into the peace process; and
**Extending the Peace: including Dinka-Nuer peace on the East Bank of the Nile and spreading the peace to other Nilotic peoples, the peoples of Equatoria, and all the people of South Sudan.
A Rapporteur Team of six members continued after the Wunlit conference to meet in Loki, Kenya to gather the documentation together. A publication of the basic documents is now available in hard copy through NSCC in Nairobi. Within a few days the same documents will be available through Sudan Infonet on its Internet
Web Site. The address is:
William O. Lowrey, Ph.D.
NSCC Dinka-Nuer Peace Facilitator