By Gatkuoth P R.
South Sudan had witnessed a failed system of governance and the rise of dictatorship system at an alarming speed. This failed system of governance has promotes tribal conflicts, political sycophancy, tribalism and the leadership system uses divide and rule tactics to hold on to the power. The very known concept of governance in Africa and partially, the South Sudan is most likely to be “an exercise of authority by the institutions, created by the people for their set goals and their interest which permeates every level of society to participate strongly in the governing activities.”
It most likely meant that power is not simply held by the State and wielded over the people. This power is exercised often ‘subtly at all levels of society and all people collude and participate strongly in its exercise and practices.’ The African system of managing community affairs is known culturally across many societies; and few leaders within the Africa-wide had displayed such a leadership orientations and qualities. Instantly, this African lifestyle of governing and settling of disputes peacefully has been fading away as the rise of dictatorship is replacing what we call “the African system of governing.” The rapid development of dictatorship or authoritarian form of regime in East Africa, particularly the Uganda and the Republic of South Sudan sent an alarming signal that the future of these countries is rather dark or colored with too many spot of the blood.
In South Sudan, the elite groups that governing the people had been undergoing a severe clash of ideologies over the leadership directions in the country for so long, even before the independent. It has been known that some fragmented elite groups were preaching for total communist system of governance, where political appointees are appointed through decree. Few among these Fragmented elite groups that had preached an unwanted system of governance were mainly taught in Cuba, China and Russia.
The other elite politicians are western and African educated groups who thought that South Sudan would be a peaceful society, only if it’s 64 tribes are governed through a democracy principle of governance or through the Federalism arrangement. Democracy system of governance should be the only gift to the society that had a searing experience of violence, political turmoil and political patronage, which resulted into current chaos and instability in the country.
Reference to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, I myself can only imagine what it has been like to find myself as an enemy to my fellow countrymen and sisters, whom I had known and see like brothers in the country. It must be true practically that the success we had falls into the wrong hand of one tribe at the time where the public is calling for inclusivity and national reconciliation. It was unbelievable when my fellow comrades and colleagues turned their sharp knives, Pagas and anti-tank weapons against their own brothers and sisters on the Dark day of December 16 until December 19/2013. Witnessing the death and suffering of my fellow comrades, sisters and brothers has been a painful experience, I may never forget in my life. Words of expression could never tell my feeling and anger against the fellow Dinka who had committed genocide, human right abuse and atrocities against the nation’s siblings who were slaughtered publicly on the streets of Juba.
On Sunday December 15/2013, the Lou Nuer youth Association had attempted to conduct “the Lou Nuer Youth Election” in Royal Garden Hotel in which I was tasked as “an Electoral Committee Chairperson.” It was also a day for “the SPLM National Liberation Council’s” meeting that has taken place since Saturday 14/2013. While we were busy conducting, rescheduling and talking about the shortfalls and the postponement of the Youth election, the government top officials (SPLM party member in particular) were busy conducting their National Liberation Council’s meeting in Nyakuoran Centre.
The meeting was off great interest to some of us because of the rumors of differences that had happened between the top three officials on Saturday. It was said that “there were irregularities on Saturday discussion of “National Liberation Council” because Dr. Riek Machar was insulted by two leaders: Hon. Wani Igga and The President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Wani Igga came out openly against Dr. Riek Machar, insulting him while explaining his grievances that “Riek Machar were lucky because I gave him my seat when he came back in 2002” and then seconded by the President that “the 1991 will never repeat itself.” The statement was not new to few of us because the Minister of Defense, Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk had spoken about the war, that the public knew nothing about it on December 11/2012 on Eye Radio. Former Gov. Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk put it straightforward that “the current war will never last three days.”
When the public heard of such National Liberation Council’s discussion and negative rumors of confrontations, they were so worried of what will be the outcomes and the result of the next National Liberation Council’s meeting on Sunday, December 15/2013. Few of us kept calling especially myself to check the outcomes of the final National Liberation Council’s conference from the others who may have been informed; hoping that the SPLM party top officials will finally come to their sense and united themselves as a ruling party. It didn’t happened the way we thought as some of the SPLM members had already scheduled the dark days to eliminated the Nuer tribe on the streets and through the invisible hands radically.
As the sun goes down, we soon left the Royal Garden Hotel in groups and then proceed to the Paris Hotel with the candidates of “the Lou Nuer Youth Association” to discuss the shortfalls and short-coming of our failed election and what should be done for the next rescheduling election on the other weekend. Meanwhile we were in Paris Hotel, I was so worried, and have an unusual feeling. I was trying to dictate the meeting so that we go home as quick but the officials in the meeting disputed my suggestions and then we proceed, as they wanted.
Mr. S G. Chol, and P K Malual entertained the officials in the meeting by exchanging their campaign propaganda agendas and the slogans after the election failed. The two officials caught our tension and then we forgotten the worries and what seem to be an unusual day. We quickly went over the issue of the meeting and closed it up. We said good night to each other and rushed to different areas. As soon as we arrived, we began to check on the news and asked people about the National Liberation Council’s meeting.
We were told that Dr. Riek Machar, Nyadeng De Mabior; Pagan Amun, Taban Deng, Dr. Majak Agot, John Luk Jock, Sirino Iteng, Oyai Deng Ajaak, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and many others failed to show up or they boycotted the meeting. We were informed that “the security officers rushed to Dr. Riek Machar and informed him of the fishy tactic that all of the SPLM discontented members will be arrested if they attempt to attend the meeting again.”
I reacted internally and I knew that Dr. Riek Machar, and his groups were finally deceived. The allegation of the arrest might not be the true picture behind the reality. The security officer might have played a tit for tat theory, which was an organized plan to keep Dr. Riek Machar and his group behind the curtains or out from the main hall of Nyakuoran Centre. The SPLM group (pro-Salva) got an opportunity to create a disastrous plan in absent of Dr. Riek Machar with his groups. This became a big chance for the President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit with his aide to put the plan forward of overthrowing the dust on the eyes of all the SPLM discontented members and accused them as if they really rebelled or make an attempted coup.
While many people were eating and organizing their stuffs as usual for Evening dinner, big confrontations happened in both garrisons. Many questions were asked without answers that night about the cause of the clashes and how it happened. Few people who were closed to Gen. James Hoth Mai and other SPLA Army Generals indicated “Maj. Gen. Marial Channoung and Gov. Paul Malong Awan attempted to disarm the Tiger Task forces without permission from Chief of Staffs.” It was reported, “they disarmed the Nuer who served in the SPLA army and after awhile decided to re-issue weapons and ammunitions to all Dinka in particular, who were serving in Tiger Task forces.” The news circulated that “after they finished disarming the Tiger Task forces, one store-keepers opened the store and called all Dinka tribe-men to re-issue them weapons.”
Tension quickly amounted to boiling points as Nuer and other ethnic groups were watching in an isolated mood while asking themselves why Dinka alone, are issuing guns and ammunition? One of the officers (believed to be from the Nuer Tribe) ran to the storekeeper and forced him to get gun and ammunition. The storekeeper refused him to get ammunitions and gun while Dinka fellows are arming themselves quickly to the teeth. Then the officer took gun and the other fellow fired at him; then the battle of Jebel Gaida began. It happened in Gaida and in Pilpham, seconded around Gumba and Bulok (Police Headquarter), as it seems to be a coordinated plan of assassinating and murdering the SPLM discontented members.
It seems like it will be contained sooner but it doesn’t happened the way we thought. Anti-tanks started to shell the civilian residences of Jebels, Koor William, Manga and New Site; and suddenly at around 12:30PM at night, they stopped firing. We heard that Tiger Task Force took Jebel Gaida and chased the Pro-Salva forces toward University of Juba. However, we can still hear the noisy movement of anti-tanks vehicles and military trucks everywhere in the city. This movement of the military vehicles was meant for the replacement of the regular forces and the preparation of “The Dark December Day (DD-Day)” that resulted as one of the worst and unexpected genocidal killing spree of the Nuer community members in the history of South Sudan.
Early in the morning of December 16/2013, the thirteen thousands (13000) Gelwang Private Army Militia Forces occupied the town. All streets were occupied, all the roads closed, and it is impossible for the civilian to move. We were informed that “Gen. James Hoth Mai is going to recapture the Gaida that was occupied by the Tiger Task forces from 9:30PM-10:00AM.” Soon around 10:30AM, the battle for retaking the Gaida took place and Gen. James Hoth Mai with his troops retake the Garrison. After the Garrison fall over to the hand of the pro-government forces, Gelwang Private Militia surrounded the residents of Jebel, Kor William, Checkpoints, Nyakuoran West; and launched an aggressive ethnic cleansing, firing anti-tanks to the areas in order to kill the Nuer civilians who attempted to escape; and then they began to collect all Nuer who remain indoor regardless of gender or ages.
Meanwhile the biggest confrontation of Gaida in Jebel is almost to the end, the fierce fighting in Mangaten, New Site, 107 and Gudele continues as (13,000) Gelwang Private Army Militia Force indiscriminately firing artillery weapons and anti-tanks weapons to the areas. The residents of the Mangateen, New Site, 107 and Gudele were mostly military families and the populations dwelling in the area were mostly the Nuer. This made it impossible for the (13000) Gelwang Private Army Militia forces to round up the targeted Nuer majority easily because the dominant Nuer members in the areas tried their best to resist and confront any incoming forces that wanted to slaughter their families.
The confrontation took the whole days as Nuer men and women were trying to protect their families while evacuating them to UNMISS Compound. At around 4:30PM, the Gelwang Private Army Forces, and the government troops outnumbered the residents of Mangateen, New Site and 107 as they came through so many directions with anti-tanks and many military trucks. Thousands remain behind and many of them were forced to surrender and then the collection of the Nuer began from the house to houses. The Dark December Day (DD-Day) began badly for the Nuer and the Night Angels evils’ killing, burning of the house and looting of the individuals’ properties began.
At the worst, President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was seen on the TV, gave a serious instruction of ethnic cleansing to Gelwang Private Army forces to collect all the Nuer people in their residents. “He informed them that the leadership of this country is in your hand and it is for you. The people who wanted to take it from you must take it by forces.” The Gelwang Private Army Forces Militia had then taken a serious warning of not to let the leadership be spoiled and get ruined. They took over the night Angels’ duty as most of all soldiers (suspicious) were suspended from active duty at that night and replaced them with Gelwang Militia. Gen. Paul Malong Awan, Marial Channoung, led the Gelwang Militia Army forces. Few of the Bor Militia led by the Police (lady) who speak the Nuer language and works with the Minister of Information and broadcasting, joined the search for the collection of the Nuer people.
At this day, the Nuer were collected and were placed in three big camps. The Nuer that were collected from Kor William, Jebel, Checkpoints, Atlabara, University of Juba and the Nyakuoran West were taken Southward behind Kor William, Jebel and got killed in that area. The Nuer that were collected in Mangateen, New Site, 107, Guuree, Jebel Dinka, Gudele and Rock City were taken to the Police station behind the Lou Clinic or across the road to Rock City. The other camp that many of the Nuer were placed was between the passport office in Juba town, and the River bank. These people were mainly collected from Thongpiny, Juba town, Malakia, Konykonye, Gumba and on streets. They were slaughtered and thrown to the river. Few were buried in between the river and the passport office and we were told that the burial place remained open for the incoming Nuer to be killed.
Hundreds of the Nuer that were placed in the Police Station were killed early at around 3:30AM behind the Lou Clinic in Gudele. The Police Station is just 13 minutes walk from the house that we were living. The gun shooting and firing last almost for 30 minutes. They stopped and then they fire again and again without encountering. We knew that this must be them; the Gelwang Private Army Militia Forces murdering those whom they had found and collected since Monday morning. As the sunrise, the news spread around from the Equatoria families and neighbors that almost 1,000 Nuer were assassinated last night in the Police Station here behind the Lou Clinic. The number of the assassinated Nuer could exceed 1000 because they were residents of Jebel Dinka, Guurei, 107, Gudele, Mangateen, Munuki and New Site and those whom they caught behind the UNMISS gate. It was hard to imagines that the Nuer community members should perish like birds in the country they fought so much during the struggle.
One of the worst cases scenarios is that they left all the dead bodies on the ground in the Police Station behind the Lou Clinic. They left the dead bodies and continue searching for the one that still alive, the money, the materials and the Vehicles in different areas. One of those victims who was shot in his chest survived the shot and got to the UNMISS compound at night in the Airport. The Gelwang Private Army Militia Forces deserted the Police Station, and refused to burry dead bodies. As the sun goes down, the dead bodies began to smell and decay. The area became worst and the smells chase people who live in the close proximity of the area. The smells of the dead bodies was known even by the children that the smelled bodies, were the Nuer community members who were killed by the Dinka Gelwang Private Army Militia Forces yesterday at night.
My tears kept coming unknowingly as I smelled my Nuer community dead bodies. The bodies stayed there for almost three days. As the situation deteriorated, it was reported I believe to the head of Gelwang Private Army Forces Operation or to the South Sudan Red Cross Society that the Nuer dead bodies are decomposed, decayed and badly smelled in the Police Station. They suddenly came to the area and purred gas on the dead bodies and burn them to ashes as to neutralize the smelling. In the town, the dead bodies were littered everywhere as the fierce fighting is still spreading to the peripheries and the suburb of the town.
The area of Atlabara, Nyakuoran West, Jebel, Kor William and Checkpoints is almost empty as the residents are all collected, escaped and/or got killed in the Southward suburb area. Few made it to the UNMISS compound around the Checkpoints and got rescued by the UN forces. The other groups collected in Juba town were mainly composed of intellectuals who were either caught driving Vehicles or collected in the hotels. They were all slaughtered by the Gelwang Private Army Forces and their bodies were either thrown to the river or were buried somewhere between the Passport office, the Police Station and the River bank.
It worth mentioning that during the battle, many families had trapped in their houses and could not know where to run for safety especially around the Jebel area. One of the brave men (WB Chuol, the former Vice President of “The Lou Nuer Youth Association”) volunteered, by coming out daily in the UNMISS Checkpoint compound to rescued families that are incapable to escape because of the family size or because they do not know where to go. The gentleman deserved an appreciation from the Nuer community at large for the effort he has made during this critical crisis.
As the days went by, we began to have feeling and attitude that is associated with psychological reaction. We were disconnected from each other, began to distant ourselves, and then the news of disappearance began to surface. We began to learn that Mr. Lam Chuol (Ex-US Marine), Koang Toang, and Mrs. X and the other fellows have been killed and the other escaped to bush. It was critical time for us those who remained behind in the city because there are no exit routes as Gelwang Militia forces closed all exits and they are still continuing searching for the Materials, Money, Vehicles and the Nuer tribal men and women.
Soon as the news surfaced, we were informed that driving vehicles or small cars is one of the worst things; one could not attempt to do so. Many people who drive vehicles those days had die and their bodies were not discovered until today. It was said, “the Bhar El Ghazal Gelwang Private Militia are more interested in vehicles, the materials and the money.” We soon circulated the message as the hunting of the people and the materials by the Gelwang Militia forces, were heard so loud by the Nuer and the Equatoria communities. Meanwhile they were collecting people and the vehicles in the suburb areas, they were also raping the old women and mothers from the Equatoria communities who left in their homes and in their house especially in Atlabara, Kor William, Jebel and Nyakuoran West.
In our compound, we began to have symptoms of hatred, uneasiness and discontented from uncle Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie because he seems to support the government of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit strongly without hesitation. He doesn’t mind or worried of the death of the Nuer people who were slaughtered in the town. We were discontented from each others but at night, we recruited ourselves against the common enemy, waiting for them to knock the door. One day, the Gelwang Private Army Force found uncle Nyang Dak Deith in his house behind our compound. The three soldiers entered the house and began to collect his cellphones. Nyang Dak narrated to us that “one of them wanted to kill him and the other kept arguing.”
The third argued, “that the old man is sick. We cannot kill somebody who is sick.” They took his belonging and left him behind in the house as if they will return back soon. Uncle Nyang Dak came to us and informed us about the near miss scenario he has just gone through in few minutes. Our numbers increased while killing continue in the area. We just keep on guard and ready to encounter. While waiting on guard, the Gelwang Private Militia came close one day and fired bullets to us until they hit the branch of the trees. Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie told us not to fire back until they knock the door and then we could fire and encounter strongly against them.
One evening, Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie informed us that we should go to Hotel and get hosted there by Gov. Gen. Paul Malong Awan. The approach was received negatively as the four of us are discontented theoretically and no one is willing to stay close to anyone who speaks the Dinka language at that movement. In the morning, he went downtown and informed us on phone that he got some soldiers from Gov. Paul Malong Awan. Gov. Paul Malong Awan gave him three rooms in the hotel. One room will be for him, one will be for his daughter and the other one for the rest of the other people. While he was speaking and informing us about the new move, he mistakenly said “if the government troops are defeated, we could go with these soldiers (Dinka) to Bhar El Ghazal.” We all reacted and call a short meeting before he came back. I told the two fellows that I would rather go to the compound of other Nuer Generals for survival or UNMISS compound.
We sat down waiting for him impatiently and unhappy. Few minutes later, he entered the compound and call us quickly that “let us discuss something.” We knew it very well that it is all about the hotel given to him by Gov. Paul Malong Awan and the new Dinka soldiers. The General told us “he wanted our decision quickly because he has no time to waste.” I started to speak that “I am not going to stay in that Hotel. I would rather stay home or find another option appropriate for my safety.”
2nd Lt. James (his cousin) declined and said he is not going there as well. Sargent Deng Gony also declined and discontented himself from his boss. Then Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie decided to pack up his belongings with his new Dinka bodyguards, and head downtown in the evening. He is not happy and he knew that we are not supporting the government regardless of his active mobilization and participation in the government. Three of us left and organized our stuffs for the wrong night and unexpected attack. We organized our stand in case they come to attack us. We divided the night into three phases. One has his take to stand guards until the next morning.
Early in the Morning, Gen. Negro Charlie called the two gentlemen again, and “told them that you must come by order, and live with me in the hotel with the other Dinka SPLA soldiers.” 2nd Lt. James quarreled with him on the phone and declared to the old man that “he is going to UNMISS compound until the fighting subside down.” Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie shouted and order the 2nd Lt. James that, wait for me in my compound and I will show you.” As they are nearing to end the conversation, Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie called his Dinka bodyguards that “there are three people in my compound that wanted to join Dr. Riek Machar forces. Get ready and let go to bring them.” 2nd Lt. James told us the message quickly after they hanged up the phone. I quickly told the gentlemen that I am getting out of this compound sooner before the Maj. Gen. Negro knock the door.
If you are willing to wait for him is up to you. I don’t trust the man for sure when it comes to the issue of the SPLA and the Nuer nationalism. He has shown his radical support so far before the war, and he can easily kill someone when he loses his temper. I left quickly on foot and walk miles through the town, rushing to the area of Kator. As I reached few miles, Sargent Deng Gony from Nasir called me that “the Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie came and ordered 2nd Lt. James Hoth with his New Dinka soldiers to go with him.” I asked him “where he is heading with him?” He said, “they are going toward downtown.” I quickly walk to reach the house of the other uncle so that I can inform him about the issue of this 2nd Lt. James taken by his Cousin.
As I reached the house, I found Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie and the 2nd. Lt. James was in the house already. I got in the house and then the other uncle called me to join the discussion. Both the discontented folks began to explain their grievances. The discussion could not reach its end. Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie jumped and slapped the 2nd. Lt. James and James reacted negatively against his Cousin by insulting him in front of the others. The elders and the other people heard the drama outside. Both relatives remained ready, tense and unhappy to each other. The issue was stopped as they exchanged insults that are not appropriate for the others to hear.
Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie left to his Hotel and I returned back to the Rock City with 2nd Lt. James. We asked ourselves “who told Maj. Gen. Negro Charlie that we are leaving for the UNMISS before we leave the house?” The two gentlemen admitted their mistake and we let it flows while the night is coming. Sargent Deng Gony declared to us that “he will join the compound of other uncle tomorrow morning and then 2nd Lt. James decided to leave for Kenya.” I informed them that I am not going anywhere. I left home alone in the compound and Nyang Dak Deith was also home alone few block from the house I live. The Gelwang and criminal Militia were killing and killing the people in the area but something prevented them not to knock my door.
I then began to be known in the area by the Equatoria families, neighbors and sometimes, they informed me about the movement of the Dinka Gelwang Private Militia who were searching for the Nuer people, the money and the Vehicles. I was in full dilemma to leave the people behind this killing, thinking that it will be indeed an insult to the Nuer traditions. In the Nuer traditions, you cannot leave the people when someone is seriously sick or when the people are in danger and in desperate need of help. I decided not to leave the people and try to endure the situation, thinking that, the fighting will subside and people will go back to blaming games and regular activities.
I organized my stuffs; guns and its bullets, waiting calm for anyone that can fire to me in the compound everyday. In the daytime, I let it flows and think of good stuffs as if there is nothing wrong in the town but one thing reminded me sometimes. The smells of the dead people whom I had smelled back in the days cannot go away. It seem like I have an allergy to the winds that follows in the town. The town was okay to the people who won the war against the Nuer.
Despite the fact that there are dead bodies littered everywhere in the town and people are mourning the death of the loved ones including the chief of staffs; the music in Dinka Language was put on loud in radio and on Vehicles. All people like to listen to Dinka Music these days in all shops including the Equatoria shops’ owners. I walk tall sometimes without fearing and hiding anything in my face from the people. Duol and little Both live in Kator and they are the only friends I got. Duol is the only one from North America who left in town with me. The rest had escaped to Nairobi and America for safety. He lives in distant with our relatives in Kator.
I usually walk from Rock City to Kator, mostly on weekend. It was okay as I took things easiest and easiest. I have no money, no transport mean and nothing I could rely on at the movement except my guns and bullets in the house. As thing subsided down, we use to go to the office to access emails and see what is going on in the world. One day, I found a serious warning on my Facebook from James Monyluak Mijok Thon (Canadian and Panaaru Dinka long time friend) that “you must either leave the town or face the consequences.”
I ignored the message and let it goes, but James Monyluak Mijok Thon continued to call me in the evening and text me sometimes. I knew that he wanted to know the location I live. I blocked him from my Facebook quickly, and I declined to answer any calls coming from him. Few days later, Simon Mayik De Nyok came from Canada and I found him by chance in the Nile Petroleum with Dhieu Dok Minyang, chatting in the compound. I joined the gentlemen and we took few minutes talking about the messes happened during the war. It was one of the good and amusing days to meet Simon Mayik De-Nyok and lectured to him the fighting in Juba that had taken lives of thousands of the people. We call it a day and headed toward his office by car.
Few days later, I went to the Ministry and meet with Skye Wheeler (Human Right Watch Staff). We exchanged greeting and then the Minister of Health called her into the office. They sat down and introduced each other. I was also in the office sitting quietly to witness the discussion and watch their eyes how they may approach the killing of the Nuer in Juba. Wheeler explained why she came to the office and began to approach the minister with questions. She informed the minister that she is working with the Human Right Watch, and they are making a research in regard of the human Right abuse and the atrocities committed in Juba, Unity State and in the Jonglei States as well.
Wheeler asked the Minister whether he is aware of the human right violations and atrocities committed in Juba against the Nuer tribe or not. Before wheeler has finished talking, I looked at the eye of the minister and I can see that he is not comfortable. He can move from side to side on chair, waiting for wheeler to finish. Wheeler continued talking and finally approached the minister with the question that “who gave order to the soldiers to collect and kill the Nuer community members here? And are you aware that many Nuer people were killed in Juba?” Dr. Riek Gai Kok reacted negatively, aggressively and briefed the Human Right Watch experts that “the killing of the people was started in Akobo, Waat, Maiwut, Uror, Nasir, Bentiu and then the people in Juba seconded the killing as to avenge the killing of their relatives.”
Wheeler put her pen down and watched the eye of the Minister. She asked the minister if he was aware of the day the conflict started. The Minister said, “off course he is very well aware of the day.” Wheeler said, “Okay, the fight happened on Sunday, December 15/2013. On Monday, which is December 16/2013, the Nuer community members were collected and got kill in mass numbers. As soon as the relatives of the deceased persons heard the message of killings and the collection of the Nuer house to houses, they started to fight and kill few Dinka in the States, particular in Akobo on December 18/2013 (which is Wednesday).” The Minister and his undersecretary insisted on, that the fighting had happened in greater Akobo first and then seconded in Juba. We became confused and cannot reverse the discussion as they were blaming Wheeler that “you always sided with rebels.”
The discussion could not go anywhere. I was trying to said something but the Minister asked me to shut-up. Again, Wheeler brought up the discussion of the Nuer wounded patients in Juba Teaching Hospital. She asked the Minister “who killed the patients in Juba Teaching hospital” because she thought that the Minister would have follow up with the government agent about who killed the Nuer patients in Hospital. Dr. Riek Gai reacted again aggressively and denied the killing of more than twenty Nuer patients in Juba Teaching Hospital. He lectured to the girl that “he was the one who was almost shot by unknown gunmen in Juba Teaching Hospital.”
Wheeler began to wonder and knew by then that she will never get any fruitful comments from the Minister of Health since he could not accept the reality that had been known internationally and in Juba; including the present of the SPLA troops in Juba Teaching Hospital for many days. I knew that there is nothing productive about this discussion and I asked if it is okay for me to leave. I was told to go and I went to the Office Manager’s room and sat down there. Wheeler quickly followed me, and we soon exchanged the phone numbers for further conversation and connection with other UN agencies.
We left the Ministry unhappy and soon I informed Wheeler about the character of the Minister who always talk in the public about his Dinkaism routes as if there was a constituent owned by the Dinka in greater Akobo. The Minister got back to his obvious drama activities of insulting the Nuer community elder particularly Dr. Riek Machar while busy receiving bunch of envelops full of blood money and invitation cards to speak in the public places as if he could change the mind-set of the Nuer who were discontented from the grass root-community against the leadership in Juba.
I left and walked through the areas, trying to recapture what I knew any ways about Dr. Riek Gai Kok in the past. The memories of the letter I saw came back to my mind and I began to connect the dots with the current episode. On 15 July/2013, I came across the draft letter that demanded the removal of Dr. Riek Machar in the hand of Hon. Riek Gai Kok in Juba Regency hotel. The letter was entitled “Nuer Community leaders and intellectuals call for the removal of Dr. Riek Machar.” As I read through, I began to recognized the reasoning and the style of the writer. I knew very well that this was Gordon Buay Malek Chol before Riek Gai informed me about the background of the letter. I soon finished reading the letter but I could not say anything to dispute the message. He took the letter in my hand again and started to call Gordon Buay’s number in Ottawa, and spoke with him in Anyuak language that “wuop nyie.” He authorized Gordon Buay to send the letter to the media for public consumption. By then I began to realize that, Hon. Riek Gai kok is behind the organized plan against the SPLM discontented members and behind the assassination of Dr. Riek Machar’s character through the media and through an invisible hands.
The Drama and the Blood Money
The conflict in South Sudan is caused by nothing else than the continuation of the political differences within the circle of the SPLM party. The party is deformed and it is impossible for the people to reform it due to the fact that the Dinka fragmented elite leaders, and the majority within the Dinka community had taken the name of the institution as a part of their family organization. They are seeing themselves superior within the party to all tribes, living in the territories of South Sudan. What I meant by the above phrases, for example is that the Dinka people called the SPLM (Dinka blood institution) as theirs. It meant that the party is the community and they are the party; and this attachment of the superiority and the perception of being the liberators, affected the whole system within the South Sudan. They have not and they are not willing to separate the party from the family/community, thinking, it is them that have the organization without seeing it as a public domain/institution.
Therefore, there is no separation of the institution (SPLM) from the selves (community). They see the other people who are the members of the SPLM from the different tribes as the subordinate (followers) in the party system regardless of the uniform struggle we had made together. This view within the Dinka community (superior community) brought down the tall house we had built so far institutionally, governmentally and it will be hard to fix it as long as the Dinka are the one leading the country. Leading the country needs charismatic thinker that generally refrains himself not to be lured into community favoritisms. Act of favoritism, corruptions and nepotism are usually an abuse of discretion, and therefore, it worth to mention that our Superior Dinka elite leaders turn the public property as the sources of feeding and empowering their own community members. Many people including the foreigners in the country had witnessed and saw this act of superiority, nepotism, corruption and favoritism as one of the greatest setback in the government system that need an urgent reverse mechanism.
The drama of corruption, favoritism, nepotism and the empowering of individuals within the Dinka community had been seen for so long in the system; and after the fighting had subsided down in Juba. Just after December 15, the leadership created an organizational framework that they called “The Crisis Management Team.” The Crisis Management Team (CM) was created to mobilize the public against Dr. Riek Machar, and to tour the regions affected by war and war related issues. It also works, practically as a board to guide the leadership for the mobilization of the public and how they can address the shortfalls and shortcoming during the crisis.
As soon as it was created, all government resources/budgets were handed over to the team and all people within the system began to fight over, and struggled to be enlisted in the organization as the team members. The drama for enlisting names for participation started to kick off and most importantly the officials and ministers in Juba got something worthy to talk about. They cannot sleep, waiting to whose names will appear in the delegations’ lists; delegated to States by the right authority of “the Crisis Management Team.” This became an opportunity for individuals that thought they overstay long in the SPLA historical struggle worth more to win for an enlisting. Few Nuer officials then blast their loyalty and their stands in the movement (SPLA) since the onset of the struggle, and then began to betray the others Nuer who may have a weak link in the SPLA military system. It became very tense and full drama began before they are enlisted and send for the right duty of the mobilization of the public opinions against Dr. Riek Machar and his SPLM discontented members.
The officials of the Nuer began the drama and the search for the right wealth kick off. Few amongst the Nuer revealed their popularity on the ground (Nuer homeland) and ask to be recognized by the right leadership in Juba so that they could mobilize their own constituencies’ members to discontent themselves from Dr. Riek Machar’s forces on the ground. As soon, the Crisis Management team were dispatched to the States for the mobilization of the public to distant themselves from Dr. Riek Machar whom they called “the prophet of doom.” While the city officials were busy, giving names to Dr. Riek Machar, and trying to rally the people behind the President, the Crisis Management Team seems to be worried about greater Equatoria States and the greater Bhar El Ghazal States. The government wanted to hold the two greater States behind the leaders and promised them with some developmental projects while the fierce fighting is going on in the great Upper Nile.
The move to mobilize the Great Bhar El Ghazal and Great Equatoria States was to isolated Dr. Riek Machar and his supporters out of the two Regions. However, there is something wrong in great Bhar El Ghazal region according to what we have seen in the eye of the fragmented Dinka elite groups. The present of 17,500 Nuer services men in the SPLA army in Mile 14, Wau, Aweil, Mapel and other areas within the great Bhar El Ghazal is more disturbing. They were wondering and searching to find the right formula through an honest individual who should approach the 17,500 troops in Bhar El Ghazal, politely and influence them not to listen to the rumors of tribal issue.
The Crisis Management team began to design “the policy of appeasement and then generalize the conflict to convince the Nuer army personnel, serving in the SPLA of Bhar El Ghazal that it was not a Nuer-Dinka conflict.” It was “an attempted coup by Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Majak Agot, Oyai Deng, Taban Deng and so forth.” It seems like the groups had managed to execute the programs of propaganda, and then success to launch the mobilization to convince the brave elements of the Nuer that had almost wanted to cause chaos and instability in great Bhar El Ghazal region.
Few Nuer were watching with keen interest in Juba and the peripheries of the town, watching the official launch of the mobilization in South Sudan Television. It couldn’t take more days for the officials not to branch from the main topic of the mobilization. The agenda of the mobilizing the public to stay calm isn’t the only things some Nuer officials wanted to talk about. They have internal expressions to please the fragmented Dinka leadership so that they will be considered in the next ministerial decree or may be considered as good people in the eye of the Dinka.
The Nuer officials soon changed the topic on the ground and brought up the death of Hon. Samuel Gai Tut. It caught the Nuer public with great surprise why one among the few within the Nuer community brought up the death of Hon. Samuel Gai Tut in the current fighting. The statement that “Hon. Samuel Gai Tut was killed by the Nuer” disturbed the Nuer majority and left them with many questions to who actually commanded the platoon that killed Hon. Samuel Gai Tut (pending for research)? It goes down for the record and, for the future research especially for those who may be interested in digging the reality behind the death of Hon. Samuel Gai Tut.
The campaign kicks off in different areas, and within Juba town; few officials were searching for ideas of how to fill their pockets with the blood money. They began regrouping and regrouping, talking and brainstorming for the better ideas that can please the President Gen. Salva Kiir with his aide in the Presidential Palace. One of the officials went and pick up Mayian Toang in the UNMISS compound and introduced him to the President that “he lives with him and he is a brother of Dak Kueth” (the magician who seems to mobilize the Lou Nuer Youth in greater Akobo). The President thought it worth good ideas to get hold of the Dak Kueth and keeps him close. It became very wonderful ideas for the President to be in touch with Dak Kueth.
As soon as Mayian Toang was introduced, the President decided to release a pick up truck and almost 300,000 South Sudanese Pounds to be sent to Dak Kueth and convince him not to rebel against the system. However, the minister pocketed the money and stayed with Mayian Toang in the hotel for few days; and then kicked Mayian Toang out after one week from the hotel’s premises. Mayian Toang left to the UNMISS compound unhappy and look for the protection and safety. The pick up truck and the money had gone to the minister’s pocket, and the searches for the better idea to steal the public money through the hands of the president continue while the Nuer majority are in desperate need of help, living in very ill-crowded UNMISS compound.
As the battle for gaining the blood wealth continue, few among the Crisis Management team “coined” the ideas of accommodating the top Nuer officials to stay in hotels. The Crisis Management team began the accommodation process and started to list the names of the ministers, MPs, elders and other important Nuer youth in the UNMISS camps to come and get accommodated for few weeks or perhaps months. Instantly, there was something wrong behind these accommodation saga scandals. The accommodations became a business to list as much as many Nuer names; and convinced the hotel owners to bring the money out from the Crisis Management office as if the ghost names, listed in the lists are an existing human being in the hotels.
The money was taken to the hotels with saga bags to pay the hotel owners; hence they always remain in the pockets of the few officials who do the trick. There is no auditing and no one care for the misuse of the public funds. The rich began to be the richest and smuggled thousands of dollars into their foreign accounts. They continue buying an expensive properties and materials in foreign nations for investment. Who should be blamed for the failure in the system? The citizens and the working families knew the answer, as they are the testimonial witness of the failed system. Although there are some who argued that it was not a failure but a greedy designed policy of corruption, favoritism and nepotism, little or less indicated that our fellow fragmented Dinka Elite leaders lack something in their leadership. And they had finally proved by messing up the public money in the country. Public money are usually belong to the public and mismanaging them always kick back at the latest; for the public always record any missing funds appropriately until come the times.
There are several occasions that the public noted the rampant corruption on the public funds. One of the significant remarks/evident was seen when the government decided to pay all employees in Juba and in all ten States by using “cash payment” as to avoid the wire payment or online payment. The reasons to use “cash payment” was a designed tactic to avoid paying online the Nuer people who ran to the UNMISS for safety and protection. The government formed a team of “Financial Crisis Management” and mostly the financial members were from Dinka Bhar El Ghazal with few ladies from Equatoria community. We knew very well that these people were empowered and favored as just to get the remaining money and put them to their own accounts.
After the delegated team got orientated, they started by launching the cash payment process in Jonglei State. They paid those whom they had found in the Mading Bor city including the Dinka Bor members who were in the UNMISS compound; but one of the interesting cases was that the Nuer in the UNMISS camp in Mading Bor were not pay while their colleagues were issued their salaries in front of them. The Financial team rejected the Nuer and instead followed those Dinka members who went to Awerial County to pay them their salaries. It was reported that “half of the employees were not there, simply because they are Nuer and they are rejected and considered as defectors although some were there physically in the UNMISS camp for protection and safety.”
The money remained with the financial team. They brought them back with the saga sacks of maize to the delegated leaders. This was obvious that the financial committee that is not diverse or not mixed could do anything possible to smuggling the funds to their own accounts since there is no any auditing mechanism in place to keep the red lights on the assigned staffs. It could be argued that the reasons why they were assigned without mixing them with other tribal men or women is to give them an opportunity of gaining blood wealth in less time. The scandals and smuggling of the public funds became another huge scandals to make the public worried about, while the fierce fighting is coming close to Juba.
In Juba, soldiers were issued their salaries by lining up and sometimes, the Nuer soldiers are allowed to receive their salaries first and then got attack and forced by the Dinka officers to give the money back in the corners. Few were denied to receive their money. They were asked “where were you on December 16/2013?” If they insisted arguing, they may likely risk their lives. If they kept quite, they are being looked at as the returnees from Dr. Riek Machar’s forces. It became so complicated. The Nuer minority chose to remain hiding by not risking their lives and leave the money to the Dinka members in the garrisons.
However, one thing rings the bell in the ears of the military leaders; the mass movement of the white army toward Juba and the victories of Dr. Riek Machar’s forces in greater Upper Nile. The search for powerful foreign magical weapons that can kill and burn the Nuer to ashes continued in the defend and veterans affairs department as promised by the former Jonglei’s Governor, Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk in the Eye Radio earliest.
Killing the Nuer through the hands of foreigners
The history of the struggle had been marked with too many spot of the bloods. Foreigners had been used in South-South conflict repeatedly to kill the South Sudanese national for many years. This tactic of killing brothers and sisters through the hand of the foreigners had repeated itself twice or perhaps more. When Hon. Samuel Gai Tut and his forces had an issue with the rest of the SPLA/SPLM members in Philpam, Dr. John Garang De Mabior brought the Ethiopia forces to kill Hon. Samuel Gai Tut and Akot Atem.
The foreign forces entered Gureluak and other many villages in the far Eastern Upper Nile, searching for Hon. Samuel Gai Tut and Akot Atem. Hon. Samuel Gai Tut escaped and made his death 20km away from Kaaboo and 6km across Thiajaak village in April 1984. The death of Hon. Samuel Gai Tut is almost connected with the foreign forces. When he arrived in Kaaboo, he tried to ask the Ethiopia troops in Kaboo to use their satellite phone in order to reach Dr. John Garang De Mabior. The Ethiopia troops in Kaaboo refused to give him the phone and instead they informed Lt. Col. William Nyuon Bany and his forces in Thiajaak that “Hon. Samuel Gai Tut and his forces are going toward Thiajaak or Luolmookni.”
On the other hand, the regime in Juba has repeated itself and it has been seen, making deals with foreign nations as if they are advocating for the development projects and military training opportunities. It is in the records that thousands of troops entered the sovereignty of South Sudan without the knowledge of chief of Staffs or the public at large. The present of the troops send an alarming worry to all citizens. The worried because Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk seem to have an organized plan beyond the military cooperation, and this has been proven true recently. It has been proven true because the Uganda forces have involved radically in the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer people in Juba on December 15-19/2013.
When Dr. Riek Machar left the town unexpectedly for safety and for the protection, the gunships followed Dr. Riek Machar and bombarded the roads, the forests and even the Mundari villages, thinking that they will eventually get rid of him. This incident has almost connected itself to how Hon. Samuel Gai Tut die in Kaaboo-Thiajak road. As soon as they arrived in Bor town, the SPLM discontented leaders were received by division 8 commander of the forces and got protected from the threat coming after them. As soon as they arrived, Dr. Riek and Taban Deng organized the SPLM in opposition forces in Bor town to defend themselves, and resisted the repeatedly Air and ground attack from the Uganda Mechanize Air forces and the SPLA forces.
Fierce fighting continued until the SPLM in opposition forces were stopped in the Sudan Safari by Dr. Riek Machar to return back to Bor town for further preparations. This withdrawal of the SPLM in opposition forces from Sudan Safari and Gutmakur gave the Uganda air forces, mechanize/artillery brigade and the SPLA forces an opportunity to launch a successful counter attack against Dr. Riek Machar’s forces in Mading Bor. They started by launching the air strife, by bombarding the town, and finally used the cluster ammunitions that were banned internationally.
Hence, it supposed to be the end of Dr. Riek Machar and the white army forces in Jonglei. They were defeated back to their territories with lot of casualties and then came the celebration and remarks to praise the Ugandan and SPLA commanders for their fantastic and citizenry task in Juba. We thought it was the end of the operation but wait a minutes. Major Gen. Gatdet and few commanders reorganized their forces and came back with great speed. As soon as the Juba government intercepts and heard their coming, they increased and double the number of Ugandan and SPLA troops with lot of anti-tanks and gunships, operated by Ugandan personnel. Hence, it didn’t work the way the Defend Minister Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk thought of it.
The two forces confronted themselves for almost 12 hours, and Gatdet forces took advantage of the fight. They chased the SPLA troops into the river and caught many of Uganda soldiers. It was reported, “that the white Army played with Uganda army personnel who remained behind or get caught.” Tails of war were heard, as the Ugandan are very new in the environment of South Sudan territories. Few of them who ran to the forest got lost and came back to the same forces that defeated them, thinking “they are SPLA pro-Salva forces.”
The defeat of the SPLA forces became heart-shocks to all Bor citizens, particular former Gov. Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk who had advocated for war on December 11/2013 on Eye Radio. It was terrible news for the Bor community because they lost few famous individuals in the attacks. We then heard the rumors that most citizens of Bor in the SPLA army in Bilpham volunteered, and led the forces to re-capture the Mading Bor County headquarter again.
Major Gen. Malual Ayom Dor and Brig. Gen. Abraham Jongror Deng took the led and commanded the forces toward Jonglei territories. Before the government and Uganda Mechanize brigade forces started moving from Juba to reclaim the Bor Town, the SPLA commanders, particular Gen. Malual Ayom Dor and Brig. Gen. Abraham Jongror refused to allow many Nuer soldiers to the battlefields. They only accepted few selected officers that were serving under their command in the launching.
It seems like the Bor County citizens knocked their heart deeply that Maj. Gen. Gatdet’s forces cannot stay in Bor-town, when they are the one commanding the country’s forces. The forces were tasked with all military ammunitions, and beside them, were Uganda Mechanize brigade that operated the Ugandan military defend vehicles and gunships. As soon as their movements were intercepted by Gatdet’s force, they prepared themselves and advanced forward from the main areas they had captured.
Fierce fighting happened through many directions. The white Army seems to have keen interest when they heard that the Bor citizens led the operation. It did not take so long for the government forces led by Gen. Malual Ayom Dor to resist the confrontation. The government forces, with well organized mechanize brigade of Uganda easily got defeated and got back toward Sudan Safari. We heard the rumors that Brig. Gen. Abraham Jongror left behind and then many officers were also considered dead from Uganda Mechanize Brigade forces.
The good number of the SPLA pro-Salva and Uganda forces that can actually outnumber the forces of Gatdet got defeated and ran disorganized toward Sudan Safari. When the rumors for the defeat of the government forces reached Juba, the public was so alarmed, worried and all the bus stations became full with families, leaving the town in mass numbers toward Nimule and Yei River County. It seems like the SPLM opposition forces will soon capture Magri and advance toward the main town of Juba. In this junction, the Uganda air defend engaged the rebels on air and bombarded anything moving on the Juba-Bor road to disengage the rebels on their positions.
The defeat of the SPLA and the Uganda Mechanize brigade forces became another headache particularly to the Nuer minorities in Juba, as the troops occupied the town and were moving frequently in the city. This caused another threat and insecurity to the few Nuer members who remained in the UNMISS compound and in their private places. It did not take few days in Juba without murdering high ranking Nuer officers as the pro-Salva soldiers got depressed and frustrated after the battle.
One night, Brig. Gen. Tharjiath Thot, Gatdooor Kiech and many other Nuer homes were attacked, forcing the known SPLA officers to run for safety and protection. Gen. Tharjiak defended himself aggressively at that night. He managed to kill two of them and captured one alive. The situation began to deteriorate because all the Gelwang Militia forces that were brought from Bhar El Ghazal region scattered all around the town, looking for anything valuable they can take. The town became a crime city as these soldiers were threatening the lives of the people.
Instantly, the public at large thought that the high command units in Philpam would have attempted to discipline the soldiers that had violated the SPLA military regulation or Manifesto. However, something fishy is still at the menu. The good numbers of the forces that threat the lives of the people in town have no names in the damn record while their numbers exceed the number of registered army soldiers that have not defected. These abusive rogue forces were randomly brought to rescue the President and protect the leadership of Bhar El Ghazal against the powerless SPLM members who were discontented. As the time of salary came closer, commanders in the units began to wonder how they can convince “the crisis management groups” to issue the salary to the army groups that were not registered. The tension, within the army garrisons, amounted to the boiling points and it remains unappeasable.
The March 05/2013 Commando confrontations
When the war of eliminating the SPLM discontented members escalated to the peripheries and the suburb of the town, Gen. Salva Kiir with his aide ran to seven States and mobilized the civilians on demand that they will be paid first before the regular army. These newly recruited troops joined the national army and exceeded the number of regular forces in Juba because 75% of the regular forces had defected to the rebel camp. As the days of salaries became nearest, question on how to pay “unknown forces” without names in the system became an issue, and hatred against the regular commanders particular from other ethnic groups developed into something big.
The Gelwang Militia Private Army forces, and the newly recruited elements began to accuse few commanders that they are not willing to pay them as promised by the President during the campaigns. This was not only the true complaint behind the big picture. The issues was that the newly recruited troops wanted their money and their tribal men to lead the brigades/commando so that their present in the army, and the demands that was offered to them by the president, should be acknowledged sooner and not later than a months. On the other hand, there were few typical errors that were made during the mobilization of the newly recruited troops by the presidential aides. They had recruited new members and send them to commando units as if the commando forces are just people who were trained in less than five weeks/months. This caused a great confusion, and differences began to emerge within the commando units and the current integrated propaganda commando forces.
When “the Crisis Management financial team” took the money to the commando units, Brig. Gen. Gatwech Gai has ordered the financial crisis management team to pay the regular army forces first while he is working on registration of “the newly recruited army forces” that have no names in the damn records. It was the normal procedures to register them first, and then give them their money after; for it would be difficult to pay an individuals who have guns in their hands by lining them up in the field. Contrast to the normal procedures, the newly recruited Army forces wanted the commanders to pay them first and as soon. It became an issue that needs an immediate military leadership intervention to resolve the misunderstanding in the Gaida, Jebel Barrack. However, the newly recruited groups did not give time to their commando commander to generate a workable option.
The Gelwang Private Militia groups forced their ways into the office of the Brig. Gen. Gatwech Gai and began to shoot them, thinking that it is an easy way for them to get their money. Fighting soon erupted and Brig. Gen. Gatwech Gai, with his bodyguards, were outnumbered. It was reported, “that all the bodyguard were killed and many members of the financials team remained on the ground.” It became another episode of the day as the people still have the memories of the conflict. It almost took the whole day, firing and burning the ammunitions stores as if war will remains in the Gaida, Jebel Barracks only.
As the fighting subsided down in Jebel Barrack, we were told that all Nuer who were in the commando units were killed and few of them who surrendered were collected and put under arrest. The issues turned to be a Nuer members verse the government/SPLA forces. They rounded up all those who surrendered to load 160 dead bodies into the Operation trucks. The loading and unloading of the dead bodies then brought a biggest problem to the Nuer minorities who were trying to get their passports in the passport office in Juba. The commando units turned their search to the public places, looking for the Nuer elements to load and unload the dead bodies. Many people who were in the passport office disappeared that day and those who were driving vehicles also disappeared.
Earliest in the morning, we were told that a young man from the Nuer community survived among all Nuer people who were killed yesterday in the commando units. We went to the man and start investigating him how he survived in the war. The man informed us that “one of the Nuer men who work with the national security saved his life. “He narrated that after the security (Nuer) noticed that the dead bodies finished in the truck, he pushed the young man in the hole with the gun and fired after.” It was a real near miss because the commando forces had killed all people including the one that loaded and unloaded the dead bodies from the trucks. He said, “when they finish unloading the dead bodies, the Commando private Army shoot all the one loading and unloading the trucks and push them into the hole again.” We urged the man to stay in the UNMISS camp until further change come into effect.
The implications of Genocide/Massacre in Juba
The extent to which this conflict has reached in term of human lost and destruction of the properties in accordance to “the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)” would never go without ICJ/ICC implications. History will never fail to documents these atrocities committed against one tribe; and unlike any other conflicts in the history of the struggle, the December 15/2013 conflict presented unavoidable international questions to those who organized and planned the genocidal act or international crimes against humanity.
The concepts of international criminal law (crime Jure gentuim) “centred on set of substantives rules that define the various categories of the international crimes. International crimes cover a wider range of offences, with the spectrum running from drugs tracking, massacre against any groups of the people, act of terrorism, war of aggression and genocide.” This description of international crimes indicated that the conflict in South Sudan, presents an unavoidable international questions in accordance to the aforementioned definition of the international crime; simply because the conflict was organized intentionally and planned for many months prior to the start of the conflict.
The plans or preparation of the war was seen when the President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and his defend Minister (Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk) organized the tribal youth in greater Bhar El Ghazal region for military training without the knowledge of the Chief of Staffs and the public at large. As soon as the youth of the Aweil and Warrap graduated from the military orientation and training, they were given a clear instructions that “you were trained to protect the leadership of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit from any one that attempts to take the presidency of the republic of South Sudan, whether through military or through democratic election.” The organized and trained Bhar El Ghazal youth by then took the instructions seriously and remain inline with the order, knowing that their main enemy should be Dr. Riek Machar who has declared his intentions to run against the President, Gen. Salava Kiir Mayardit comes 2015.
International community and particularly the UNMISS, Human Right Watch and UN agencies had indicated that “the conflict had almost resulted as one of the worst genocide in Africa, had it not been the resistance made by the victims against the join forces.” This intentional killing was abundantly clear from the onset of the fighting that the Gelwang Private Army Militia were targeting the Nuer among the other ethnic groups. They were given a clear instruction by the president of the country to collect all the Nuer from the house to houses until they finish in Juba. However, if this is an intended plan to target ethnic groups in Juba, is there any implication in the international standard or is there any examples of such a case in the international community, awaiting for the planners?
Off course “the substantive rules of international criminal law, concerning what constitutes a serious international crimes is most likely influenced by the Law of Armed Conflict or by the international Humanitarian Law” and the definition of genocide in accordance to the international Humanitarian Law indicated that “a genocide is an act of intentional killing, causing serious harm, physical destruction with the intent to destroy in whole or in partial the national, ethnic, racial or religious groups.” This meant that the main element of the offence in this case is the special intention (dolus specialis) of the perpetrator to destroy the Nuer ethnic group in whole.
The aforementioned description indicated that any intentional or planned killing is most likely to be named genocide if it has been organized intentionally to destroy certain groups. Therefore, the genocide against the Nuer ethnic group in Juba must have an international implication against those who organized and planned for the Nuer ethnic cleansing, according to the International criminal Law and the Law of armed conflict (LOAC). For instant, the Rwanda genocide planners and those who mobilized public opinion against one tribe were brought to justice and until today, the search for those who had hand in the conflict is still continuing globally.
On hand one, during the WWII, “some of the officials and military personnel that had initially contributed in Austrian, German and Turkey in the torturing, deportation of the civilian, massacre, and raping of the women were prosecuted for the offence they had made against the law of humanity.” If the ICJ/ICC could prosecute individuals who had contributed by mobilization the public opinions against certain individuals or community, then it worth to mention that something big is awaiting the planners and those who initiated the ideas of eliminating the Nuer tribe through gun barrels in Juba.
In short, this series political miscalculation, tribal hatred and ideological differences within the SPLM party is caused by fear and lack of clear roadmap, simply because Gen. Salva Kiir has been under heavy influence from individuals that have different interests. He has once again “shot his two legs” like the mistakes that he has made in the SPLM convention in 2008. A bunch of lairs and lonely Nuer politicians were known blindfolding the President once again in the third time, that Dr. Riek Machar has no people and no civilians that can stand firm behind him.
The removal of Dr. Riek Machar in power revealed Dr. Machar’s true character. He has struggled painfully to calm down the situation in Juba; telling the public in the churches and on streets to remain calm and rally behind Salva Kiir regardless of bias and unconstitutional removal. This move from Dr. Riek Machar convinced the public in Juba that Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon is preaching for peace and stability in the country. Shortly after few months of calm, a planned fight broke out in Gaida and then spread to the other Military units in Juba.
At this time, the people had much trust that the SPLM discontented members would not cause any panic or irregularities since they handled the mass dismissal of the Ministries in July 23/2013. The witnesses of this conflict must be the international community members that had been witnessing this political differences, human rights abuse, atrocities and assassination of individuals on streets of Juba since 2011. Killing, murdering and disappearance of educated persons and the intellectuals from the others community, particularly the Nuer community has never stop since that day.
South Sudan is indeed a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society, composed of more than 60 ethnic groups. As such, ethnic conflicts and political differences usually turn itself into tribal line. Hence, our past experiences in the conflict indicated that the current conflict should only be handled if the leadership is changed from the current authoritarian system of governing to the democratic principle of governance. The country has been facing a greater challenge of conflict for three months; and this conflict calls for an immediate international action to identify the issues that brought the country to chaos and instability.
Identifying the appropriate demands from the SPLM discontented members will encourage the effective participation of the parties in conflict to reach the lasting agreement and final resolution of the conflict. Perhaps, identifying the root cause and the demands may also help to strengthening the capacity for inclusive political participation in the future governance and therefore, facilitate the degree of political national reconciliation and mediations, where the members of the parties will be able to acknowledge the past; and ensure harmony and understanding for the better tomorrow.