Dr. Riek Machar Teny’s Quest for Freedom Took Him Through The Toughest Tests of Life
By Gatluak Michael Dieu,
August 21, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– Fighting for freedom is obligatory and paramount to liberate the silenced and suffering masses; but in fear of repercussions from dictators, only a few people adventure that route to liberate or free their people from tyrannies and bad governances on this planet.
Only men and women, who possess extraordinary hearts would willingly commit and risk everything to take that toughest route to free their societies since ancient time. For instance, we came to learn of heroes like Guek Ngundeng, Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr, Emperor. Haile Selassie, Sir. Both Diu, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Emery Lumuba, Malcolm X, Thomas Isidore Sankara, Fidel Castro, Joseph Lagu, Rev. Satirino Lohre, Dr. John Garang De Mabior, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, just to mention a few, through their struggles to free mankind where possibilities of succeeding were close to none.
What Dr. Machar had gone through in his quest for liberation & freedom:
1. Machar was the first South Sudanese to lead Khartoum University Students’ Union in the 1970s. Khartoum University at that time was on the top five (5) in the best universities ranking in Africa. Leading its students’ union required tough race in the country because it influences the government decisions making. However, Machar won over tough candidates from Arabs students’ with a landslide victory.
Many Southern Sudanese students felt proud and celebrated the unbelievable victory. That victory earned him enemies from his Arabs colleagues who happened to be influential in Khartoum regimes from 1970s up to date. As a matter of records that students’ union leadership in Khartoum university was only occupied by a Southern Sudanese for the second time just recently in 2005;
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2. In 1984, Dr. Machar, an engineer by profession, a PHD holder, young, energetic and charismatic leader decided to leave his children, job and luxurious life behind in London to join liberation to fight for freedom of his people. He was re-trained in Bonga Revolutionary Military Training Centre, where he graduated as one of the top three best students in the cadet;
3. After training in the early 1985, he led the strongest ever SPLA Division known as “Muormuor” Division for Western Upper Nile operations against Khartoum regime, where his forces defeated and wounded Bashir, the current president of Sudan. He was the first SPLA commander to crossed into Northern Sudan Territory in 1985.
Dr. John Garang tasked him to go to Nuba Mountain to mobilise Nubian to join the movement. He reached Nuba Mountain after defeating thousands of Khartoum regime forces that were blocking his way. He succeessfully mobilized thousands of Nubians, led by Comrade Yusuf Kuo Makki. He was the first and only PHD holder to lead a battle physically. He led three top five (5) SPLA operations in the history of SPLA. At the same mission, he took the war to Melut, in the Northern part of Malakal in 1989;
4. In 1991, he was the first senior commander to bravely challenge Dr. Garang’s dictatorship and questioned the direction that the movement was leading to, the idea of “New Sudan”. He ( Machar) said, “we should liberate South instead of the whole sudan”. To Machar the new Sudan vision failed in 1985 when the Sudanese democratically elected a president but because of Garang’s egos, the SPLM/SPLA refused to join a democratic government. Thanks God, Machar’s idea of Self Determination gained momentum after he and afew comrades toured the world and intensively campaign for its inclusion. Because of his unwaving efforts, his idea gave birth to South Sudan;
5. In 1993, he narrowly survived from well coordinated attack made against him in Panyigoor by SPLA led by Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk, Gen. Pieng Deng Majiok, Gen. Bior Ajang Dut, Gen. George Athor Deng! During that attack, high ranking officers from his side were killed, eg. Gen. Joseph Oduo, Gen. Kuach Kang…The attack was made when they were in a leadership meeting as South Sudan Independent Movement (SSIM) but Gen. William Nyuon Bany retook the town few hours later from SPLA! Among the SSIM members who were in the leadership meeting in Panygoor were Dr. Machar, Gen. Kerbino Kuanyin Bol, Gen. William Nyuon Bany, Gen. Arok Thon Arok, Gen. Joseph Oduo, Gen. Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Gen. Prof. Adwok Nyaba, Gen. Elijah Hon, Gen. Koang Chuol Kulang, Gen. Vincent Kuany Latjor…among other;
6. In 1995 he was arrested in Gambella, Ethiopia through a plot organised by Dr. John Garang; the plan was implemented by the Anuak leadership in Gambella Region, Fortunately the Nuer who were in Gambella, Ethiopia, called for his immediate release or else violent would sparked. As a result he was released in the same night! Garang wanted him transferred to him such that he would torture and eventually kill him but it luckily the plan failed;
7. In 1997, he signed Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) in order to put “self-determination” clause in the Sudanese constitution and that became successful. He only stayed in Khartoum for two (2) years and left in (1999) after he made sure that it was enshrined (self-determination) in the sudan constitution. Although his return to bush was seen as a defeat, Dr. Riek knew that there would be no peace without Garang’s faction. Therefore, he had to make peace with Garang so that together they can achieve the ultimate goal which was Self-determination.
8. In 2003, he initiated Panyigoor communal conference between the Nuer and Dinkas. He took risk to visit John Garang’s home town while Garang and his community were hunting for him;
9. In 2004, he was the one who reconciled John Garang and Salva Kiir. Kiir was bribed by Khartoum with five million dollars (USD5.000.000.00) through Bona Malual, Justine Yach Arop, Malong Awan, Aldo Ajou, Telar Riing, Aleu Ayeny with intention for him ( Kiir) to defect and fight against SPLA to sabotage the agreement which was in negotiations between SPLA and Khartoum regime in Kenya; Machar went to Rumbek where Salva Kiir was stationed, Salva was ready to start the war against Garang but Machar foiled that attempt. Then the entire leadership decided to convene a “Reconciliatory Meeting” in Rumbek to stamp out the differences;
10. In 2006, when Gabriel Gawich Chan AKA Tanginye, who was a Bashir loyalist fought with the SPLA in Malakal, it’s was fought inside Malakal town where civilians became prime victims, many of them were killed, Machar again intervened. No one dared to intervene to stop that from president Bashir and Salva Kiir or Mohamed Taha the Vice President of Sudan, only Dr. Machar took the risk and went to Malakal while the fighting was ranging on; he visited both SPLA and Sudan forces barracks to stopped the battle, then finally relative calm returned to the town. He did it the same way when the same Gatwich Chan fought with SPLA again in Malakal in 2011 before referendum vote;
11. Between 2006-2007, He was tasked by the world to be a Chief Negotiator between Government of Uganda and the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), it was a challenging task given both warring parties were reluctant to negotiate on the table. Machar took it seriously because he knew once that problem is solved, it would mean a lot to our beloved people in Equatoria who were forcefully abducted, recruited, killed by LRA in the greater Equatoria! He persuaded Joseph Konyi and Museveni to embrace peace. He used to go on foot looking for Joseph Konyi in the thick forest between the borders of DRC, South Sudan and Uganda. Museveni intention was not to sign peace accord with Joseph Konyi, but to eliminate him (Konyi) through the help of South Sudan; When he (Museveni) realised that Dr. Machar only intention was peace, he became hungry and pullout from the talks! that was where he developed hate on Machar. As a result, the negotiations between Uganda and the LRA failed;
12. On May 28, 2008, SPLA fought with Sudan Army Forces in the contested area of Abyei. That fighting was one of the toughest since 1989 between the rivals forces! Just like Malakal scenario, no one volunteered from both South and North Sudan to deescalate the fight apart from him (Dr. Machar), he personally went to Abyei when the battle was on, he then managed to separate the rivals forces (SPLA and SAF);
13. In 2009, he personally took the case of Abyei to the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague. He testified before the court with the supportive evidences to prove that Abyei was indeed a South Sudan land. He won the case against Arabs Mesiria and Representatives of Sudan government who were claiming that Abyei was the Northern Sudan. Some Dinkas Abyei, were siding with the Arabs in the courtroom but Machar defeated all of them. None of the Abyei sons and daughters took that risk to defend their land in fear of Arabs and Bashir Regime. For example, people like Dr. Francis Mading Deng, Deng Alor Kuol, Luka Biong Deng, Gen. Pieng Deng Majiok, Edward Lino Abyei plus many more all kept quiet and only waited for Machar to solve it, just like what Nuer men did fighting to defend Abyei from SAF. But after he did it for them, they did not even thanks him instead they worked very hard together with Kiir to eliminate Dr. Machar;
14. He was the one in charge of the South Sudan Referendum File. From 2006-2011, He involved in a series of tough negotiations with Khartoum regime for Referendum to be conducted on time. Salva Kiir feared to go to Khartoum since that time leave alone negotiating it. He (Kiir) has no communication language too because he is very poor in both English and Arabic;
15. In 2012, he went to Lilkuangole in Pibor county when Lou Nuer youth went to the area for revenge attack. He risked his life to go and prevent the imminent disaster by stopping the Lou Nuer youth from attacking Murle. At this time, people like Salva Kiir were going home for Christmas and new year. None ever care or even thanks Dr. Riek for taking such an initiative.
16. On December 15, 2013, he was dislodged from his residence by Salva Kiir and his cohorts; he went and slept in the outskirts of Juba at an area called Eden, the following morning, his soldiers and civilians residing in his houses at Hai-Amarat (Government House), Jeberona, Jebel, Juba-Nabari or Thongpiny were killed, the houses were demolished using tanks. Kiir further went and attacked his hiding place, then, he (Machar) decided to leave the capital, he went toward Terekeka and proceeded to Jonglei on foot; after he left, NB: Kiir then committed genocide against Nuer from 16-19 December 2013 by killing over 20, 000 Nuer civilians; mostly women and children;
17. On the 8th July 2016, assassination was designed to kill him by President Salva Kiir Mayardiit, Chief of Staff of SPLA-IG Paul Malong Awan, Jieng Council of Elders, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth and other local and international actors, including “Black Water” but thanked God it all failed. His brave forces fought back until they rescued him.
On the 10th July, 2016, President Salva Kiir ordered his forces to attack Dr. Riek Machar’s resident by both air and ground offensives with intention to kill him or brings him alive. Again his forces, which was only one thousand (1000) with only AK47s, 20 RPGs & 20 PKMs fought back in self-defence for about two days against Kiir militias that were over one hundred thousand (100, 000) armed to the “teeth” and supported with Helicopters gunships, fighters jets, heavy Artilleries, tanks, chemical weapons but again they were thwarted and killed in large number.
Dr. Machar decided to pull out from his cantonment sites for the bush, since then, (12 July-August-17 2016) Salva Kiir had launched daily attacks on ground and air with intention to kill Dr. Machar.
His soldiers have seen been fighting back in self-defence from 12 July up to now! After 40 days in wildness and several attempts to eliminate him, he decided to come out of the bush such that he would be able to move to his headquarters and establish formal communications with the guarantors of the peace agreement “Compromise Peace Agreement, which is also known as the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan”CPA-AKA-ARCISS).
It is with no doubt that, not all human beings can survive from those life-threatening attempts, but only God chosen leaders do, because (God) protected them in every second of their lives from devils for he wanted them to liberate their people from injustices!
It’s with my profound gratitude to thanks Almighty God, Prophet Ngundeng Bong, his brave generals, namely: Gen. Gatwich Dual Hoth, the chief of staff of SPLA-IO, Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration Gen. Koang Chuol Ranley, Deputy Chief of Staff for Moral Orientation Gen. Martin Kenyi, Gen. John Jock Gai, Gen. Koang Gatkuoth Kerjiok, Gen. Kuol Gai, Gen. Mabie Gar, Gen. Wal Chuol Lual, Gen. Dhiling Keak, Gen. Yie Dak Wie, Gen. Wang Chany Thian, Gen. Gatluak Bieh Tutdeal, Gen. Mathok Hoth Yirok, Gen. Deng Buom, Gen. Lam Biliew and other low ranking officers; IO soldiers, people of Greater Equatoria, the UN-Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, UN Mission in DRC-Congo for saving the life of H. E Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, the legitimate First Vice President ( FVP ) in the National Unity Government of the Republic of South Sudan!
The life of Dr. Machar is important for IO in particular, South Sudan and the whole world in general as he struggled to free his people from tyranny and dictatorship!
Viva Freedom Fighters!
Viva Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon!
Viva Ban Ki Moon & UN Mission-DRC!
Viva South Sudan!
The author, Gatluak Michael D, is a Civil Rights Activist. He can be reached at email@example.com or through his Facebook: Martin G. Michael