History of Clan Warfare Provides Help for South Sudan

(c) Perth & Kinross Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationThis article originally appeared on Deadline News on November 17, 2013.

The top policeman in troubled South Sudan says he can learn from Scotland’s past of clan warfare to help to bring peace to the country. The African nation has been plagued by ethnic and tribal violence since it became independent in 2011.

But General Pieng Deng Kuol, who was a guest at the Scottish International Policing Conference in Edinburgh this month, said Scotland’s past showed people could learn to put the national interest ahead of tribal ties. Sudan’s independence came after a decades-long civil war with the government in Khartoum, with the general fighting for an independent state. The Scottish Policing College has provided leadership and management training to South Sudanese in the past.

The general said: “Long ago in Scotland you had many clans all fighting each other, and that is the case in my country among the tribes. We have many communities, but they are fighting themselves and sometimes you get policemen and women taking sides with their tribe. We need to develop their minds and become conscious of their national duty, and should not look at their tribes but look at the national interest.”

He continued: “Peace in a community is better than fighting, but we have a long way to go. Like what happened in Scotland – it took a long time for people to stop fighting among themselves. But if we can develop this, we will have community police who can be effective.”

He admitted policing in South Sudan suffered from corruption, but said he was putting an “accountability system” in place.

Retired Scottish police officers and former police from other UK forces are working in South Sudan as part of the Safety and Access to Justice project, funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).

A DfID spokesman said: “Britain is helping to train police officers in South Sudan, including by improving their awareness of human rights. Through regular monitoring, we seek to mitigate risk and ensure that those we train are not implicated in human rights abuses.”


About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

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