Mapel, a Secret Location for killing Unarmed Nuer Soldiers
May 06, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Mapel, a military training camp rarely known to many South Sudanese is now a scene of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since 2011, a great number of concerned persons including myself were engaged in debating the relevance of this notorious camp. Some burning issues such as the legality of this camp and security situation were raised in various discussion forums included on SouthSudan.net, and Nuer Community International Forum (NCIF) due to fear for the unknown thought to get these ex-Nuer militias locked behind and lied to form a new SPLA’s Mechanised Division. Severe living conditions were also detected before the genocide of 220 unarmed Nuer soldiers was finally uncovered on April 26th 2014. Now critical questions such as who to blame, where were Nuer generals etc., are lingering on many peoples’ minds. Of course, it is the SPLA to condemn for this bloodbath particularly the Nuer generals for ignored and failed to foil the butchering of their cousins outside Nuer-land.
Mapel, in Jur River County is one of the SPLA military bases in Western Bahr el Ghazal State and about 4 hour drive from Wau, the state capital. Mapel is no near to any of the Nuer-land, and its geographical location made it the perfect place for genocide. Mapel in simple term is a concentration camp for unwanted friends.
Furthermore, what angered Nuer community including myself is that a great number of Nuer sons and daughters who dreams of joining SPLA were detained in Mapel military camp since 2011 for no concrete reason rather than saying they were waiting for their integration. Generally a basic military training can only take 1.5 years even in the case of U.S. military training but what took place in Mapel, east of Wau was outrage, debauched and intended since these unarmed Nuer trainees were forced to undertake 4 years of military training. Uncounted numbers of SPLA generals were alleged to have refused their assimilation for they comes from the forces of General Tanginye, late Gatluak Gai and Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) that were neutralized after South Sudan gained her self-determination, and also for being predominantly Nuer. One would thus wonder if this notorious camp was envisioned as a secret detention.
More importantly, the barbaric killing of unarmed trainees is by itself a war crime and crime against humanity. Under international law, crimes such as mistreatment, murder, rape and other forms of crimes are all described as war crimes and crimes against humanity. War crimes also included deliberate attacks on unarmed civilians and certainly the magnitude of this genocide is beyond these coined terms since unarmed Nuer trainees and their families were wilfully attacked, chased and hunted by armed SPLA elements under the order of General Baak, a Dinka. Only few survivors made it out included Brigadier James Ochan. Seeing Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokesman denying it today by saying only 5 people died as quoted on Sudan tribune is so unkind and insulting to greater Nuer community worldwide. Of course, this killing to let Aguer understand is yet rocking South Sudan where mass defections are being witnessing in Bahr el Ghazal region. Consequently, mere lies such as it was first a foiled mutiny and now shifted to Dinka widows that provoked the event will never help South Sudan government because in reality it was the SPLA soldiers that carried out the ethnic cleansing. The United Nations and other world bodies should accordingly condemn the execution of 220 unarmed Nuer soldiers and their families in the strongest terms rather than deteriorating the situation by focusing upon the killing of armed Darfurian fighters ‘JEM’ in Bentiu who rarely wear military uniforms when opposition forces regained control. Otherwise one would question the fairness of United Nations and Philip Aguer in this Tom and Jerry war.
Generals for example, James Hoth Mai (ex-Chief of Staff), John Kong Nyuon (former Minister of Defence), Johnson Gony Biliew (SPLA Sector 2 commander), Charles Lam Chuol, (SPLA sector 3 commander) among many others were also responsible for leaving their cousins in fire dump where 20 trainees included my cousin Gatwech Makuach Lham were lost in 2011 due to negligence. Lack of accountability, corruption and unsystematic ordering of food and medicines were practiced by the SPLA, something that confirmed their unhelpfulness. Several SPLA generals included our sons were informed of what was unfolding in Mapel, but because egoism, careless and tribalism instincts played a negative part in finalising the integration where some thought accelerating the process would mean overloading the SPLA mainstream with Nuer soldiers whom their allegiances are undefined, nothing was elevated. Someone like General Kuol Manyang and any of his likes were strong in turned down the integration. General Kuol was instead aimed for small but specialised and fully trained SPLA force which means no room for these trainees except for putting them on hold like racing dogs, something the Nuer sons in uniforms had ignored until when the unlawful genocide of these unarmed trainees was unveiled in such a secret manner.
On the finishing end, it is better to say that it was unfairness, egoism, cowardice and negligence of our Nuer sons in Bilpham, the SPLA headquarters, for chosen not to act on behalf of our citizens who were locked in a secret detention since 2011. Our sons in uniforms should have called for a timed integration way back to avoid the butchering of 220 and injuring of 400 unarmed Nuer soldiers especially when things were not going according to plan. Our failure to urgently respond to our very own crisis does in many occasions credit the reduction of our Nuer population even though we tend to point our fingers to wrong Tom. Nueri may of course blame and criticise General Paul Malong Awan, the SPLA boss for unsealed the deliberate killing of unarmed Nuer trainees in his Bahr el Ghazal region; however, the overall situation of Mapel was well learned ahead of time by our Nuer sons in uniforms who today deserved more fingers pointing for not acted fast and bared no condemnation. Senior Nuer generals such as John Kong, James Hoth, Charles Lam, Gony Biliew, Bol Kong and so on who still vow to Salva Kiir regime must thus be condemned for not pushed for a quick integration or relocation of these unarmed Nuer men and women who today vanished in darkness, and also for neglected and betrayed Nuer nation.
Gattuak C Guek – Canberra, is a concern South Sudanese. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org