Wheeler (?). Mundari and Moru Relations
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In 2007, officials in Mundri began to receive complaints from villages that Mundari cattle, originally from Terekeka County to the north east, were destroying crops in larger numbers than ever seen before. The Moru – the main tribe in Mundri West County and Mundri East County – are dependent on agriculture. Their food security has been impacted adversely by this new presence of cattle in their areas, in some cases severely.
The Moru are especially angered by the Mundari cows because their crops have already suffered depletion under the pressure of large numbers of Dinka Bor before their departure from Western Equatoria State in 2005.
The Mundari from Terekeka County in Central Equatoria State lack adequate resources in their home areas for cattle for at least part of the year. Migration with cattle has always been part of their lives. Wartime produced changed the movement of Mundari, most notably into Juba County. Peace since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has not brought all war-scattered cattle camps home. In the last years, facilitated by peacetime changes, Mundari have instead in many cases moved into new grazing areas including in Mundri. In both Mundri and Juba County, plentiful water and mineral rich grass have increased herd sizes. This is extremely valuable to the Mundari. Their economy and cultural revolves around cows.
But because of growing Moru frustration, there is general acceptance on both sides that the Mundari cattle need to leave Moru land and four meetings headed by the commissioners of Terekeka, Mundri West and Mundri East have ended with agreements – followed with strenuous orders - that they will do so. Some camps have left back to Terekeka, but many containing thousands of cattle remain. Some camps have gone deeper into the bush making it even harder than before for Mundri authorities to track their movement. There is a general lack of information about where the camps are and in what numbers.
The last set of official orders that the Mundari must leave were made in late December. Cattle camps were given a week to leave. January LRA attacks and the absence for health reasons of the Terekeka Commissioner may have hampered efforts to follow up with these orders. The Moru are angered by what seems to be another deliberate refusal to go.