Juliano told us his story in the city of Malakal, but that’s not his home. Juliano is from Aburoc, a small town in South Sudan, where, as he told us, “life was so good. Life was simple...and people are very cooperative.” There could be challenges in Aburoc, like when you couldn’t use the roads because of flooding or other problems. Or when rival youth gangs would break out into skirmishes. But overall, the community, made up mostly of farmers, had enough food to eat and could depend on themselves.
NP first met Juliano in his hometown of Aburoc where NP and the community were providing unarmed civilian protection. Community members like Juliano were learning about and practicing tools like “early warning early response,” where they could identify the signs of potential violence and prepare themselves and their neighbors to create a plan for safety if conflict escalated to violence.
Juliano had to use the tools he had learned from NP in December 2022, when fighting between rival youth groups dramatically escalated and spread across Aburoc. While the youth groups sometimes would fight amongst themselves, this time they had bigger weapons and were spreading the violence all through the city and to the Aburoc displacement camp where Juliano lived. As Juliano explained, “The sound of guns is everywhere in the camp and villages around, we run together" to flee.
Juliano spent four days in the water surrounding Aburoc – a big swamp – escaping to safety in nearby villages. But Juliano hadn’t been unprepared for this. Rumors had been spreading for days that the conflict between the rival youth gangs was escalating. Knowing that early warning early response was so important, Juliano had gone to the local authorities to advocate for them to increase the protection of people in the internally displaced persons camp in Aburoc; to help camp residents know where to go to find safety when they hear gunfire. His actions meant that more people knew what to do to protect themselves when that horrible time came.
Today, Juliano himself lives in a camp in the city of Malakal. He hasn’t been able to return home since the violence there last year. As he can he continues to advocate for peace and protection of the community. He urges “humanitarian actors to continue supporting and responding on conflict affected areas.” Always full of hope, he told us, “I hope one day people will get back to [my home in Aburoc] and live together as one nation.”
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Juliano works alongside NP part of our project with Solidarités International (SI) to support community resilience and nonviolent conflict management in conflict and flood-affected areas of Upper Nile and Jonglei States, South Sudan, which is funded by the European Union and supporters like you.