WAS IT DISARMAMENT OR DESTRUCTION AND LOOTING IN DISGUISE OF AGAR PAKAM COMMUNITY BY WESTERN LAKES STATE GOVERNMENT?
Sept 4th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– I have been following the developments in Western Lakes with keen attention since the disarmament began there some months back. However, due to the scanty information of what is going inside, I was not able to write comprehensively. However, the report has now come to light on how the disarmament has been turned into looting spree by the government officials. The report confirms the fact claim that the Pakam people of North of Western Lakes State have been making against the government and support their reason for leaving the state for Eastern Lakes State. The report is from the concern members who witnessed the disarmament process occurring live on the ground. For the safety of the person who reported it, I have decided not to mention him in this work.
The report highlights the following: First of all, there was no organization and plan for the disarmament. Hence, the disarmament was done at random without the Centre of command,, which gave an opportunity to different government officials to loot the citizens in North of Western Lakes.
As the report indicated, the disarmament was intended to be a comprehensive one but on the ground there was no strategy put in place before the disarmament commenced. This led to the disarmament being conducted harshly and disorderly with the civilians paying the ultimate price of being looted and harshly treated.
It was sad to see the citizens being the target that made them suffer more than before the disarmament began. This is contrary to our held belief that the SPLM is working for the interests of the citizens. In the country where citizens are the centre of governance and the ones being protected, any action of government is always directed towards causing the least damage possible to the communities.
It therefore implies that a good leader would strategize to ensure an ideal mutual relationship between the leaders and the governed as the relationship or cooperation between the citizens and the government will lead to the success of the government policy which in this case, the disarmament policy.
To the dismay of many, the way the disarmament was conducted in Western Lakes State was something that left much to be desired as it was very harmful and horrible. It in fact seems that leaders and their officials in Western Lakes turned the whole project into a pretext of looting the resources as the actions of those individuals that looted civilians were condoned in the system.
The clear examples of looting and destruction of civillians’ property are as explained below: the government of Western Lakes allowed individuals within the government to loot Pakam people badly under the disguise of disarmament though the government of Matur Chut still downplays the negative impact of disarmament on the people of Pakam.
The government officials were reported to be looting goats and cows everyday as the disarmament went on. Some of the government officials up to now are making hate speeches against the people of Pakam through local state media (radios) where they air out their frustrations in forms of abusive statements against Pakam that had fled to Eastern Lakes.
Those youth from Pakam who had remained inside continue to be hunted down by the government at checkpoints to block them from traveling to Yirol. To support this claim, there are checkpoints at Pacong & Aduel purposely to stop Pakam youth from crossing to Yirol to join their fellow brothers and sisters.
For instance, Hon. Mabor Makuach and Hon. Action Mading Gaak at those checkpoints always charge members of the youth from Pakam suspected to go to Yirol and fine them with South Sudanese Pound (SSP) 10,000 each. These two individual government officials have turned themselves into police, court and judges. Some of the youth members from Pakam they arrested and charged in SSP and other items are:
1 Majur Chut Dut 15,230 2 Ustaz Monyyiik Bol 81,000 3 Look Anyaak Kocrup 60,000 + cell phone tecno 4 Mayuir Dongrin 8,570 5 Mawut Mayek Goom 20,370 6 Mathiei Dum Marial (missing) 7 Aluak Mayek (girl) 8 Marial Aru Amuol (Detained at Panda Hotel) 9 Mathem Luk Dier (Detained at Panda Hotel) 10 Mawou Chol Riak 7,050. The reason why they are going to Yirol is because their relatives are there. Besides, Durbar, Athoi and Kuei sections are have also suffered under the Government of Western Lakes.
Despite these oppressions of the communities by the individuals in the government, the Government does not take any measures to protect the citizens. This makes the oppression or injustices appear to be condoned within the system.
It was some of the above reasons and others explained below that made people of Pakam leave for Eastern Lakes. In fact, the disarmament was real ill-intended and ill-prepared which made the whole project to appear as if it was used as a means of looting resources from the civilians. The disarmament was being conducted in total disregard to the concerns of Agar Pakam people.
One of their concerns was that they should not be disarmed without being guaranteed protection against external attackers who were still not disarmed. That was one of the genuine concerns as the disarmament was going to leave Agar Pakam vulnerable to external attacks from their neighbours. Their neighbours that they fear of their attacks if disarmed are Luacjang, Nuer from Mayendit and Panyijar who are not disarmed. These communities are always in constant conflict with them since the time of memorial.
Thus, given the history of the relationship between Agar Pakam and Luacjang, Nuer from Mayendit and Panyijar characterized by attacks and cattle raids, there was going to be a real genocide against Pakam as they were not going to defend themselves effectively since they have been disarmed.
Nonetheless, instead of taking this concern into consideration, the Government of Western Lakes State misinterpreted and concluded that Agar Pakam was refusing to the disarmed. Consequently, the Government of Western Lakes State used that unfounded allegation as a ground of using force and other means to disarm Pakam people.
The government then decided to use force against Pakam and their resources. As if the hell was let loose from heaven, individuals within the government of Western Lakes in collaboration with their friends within Pakam Community who are working in the government began their game of serious looting of the civilians. Pakam was now turned into a ground for looting by the individuals within the government.
The result of disarmament was that Pakam houses were burnt as a way of forcing them to leave “the other people land and to go back to their land”and also to give in to the disarmament process as ordered by the President and implemented by the military general called Matur Chut. Finding themselves between cold and frost land, they have to decide.The Pakam people at that point had to decide or do three things.
The first thing they were to do was to remain in the land which they were being chased away from, which would have been risk since the government would extremely oppress them or allowed them to fight with the people who did not want them to remain in Mamertit or other Ruop’s land or any other land closer to Rumbek Centre without intervening. That was the first option which they did not choose because of dangers involved in making such a choice.
The second choice would have been for Pakam to go back to their original homeland but they could not make such a decision because they would voluntarily give themselves to their neighbours that would kill them mercilessly.
As a matter of fact, anybody who is well informed about the conflict between Nuer and Pakam, Pakam and Lucjang could not advise Pakam to go back to their original homeland without strong government protection or without their own strong protection mechanisms against those neighbours. Had they gone after disarmament without Government protection which is the case now, there would have been the real prospect of genocide against Pakam by their neighbours. Pakam could not risk by making that choice and because of that they decided not to go back to Maper County in Northern part of Western Lakes.
The third choice which was better was for them to leave Western Lakes State for Eastern Lakes as refugees which was real justified as they wanted protection against their neighbours as well as against the government of Western Lakes. This is how Pakam ended up in Eastern Lakes State though the government of General Matur tries to give distorted information in explanation the exodus of Pakam people to Eastern Lakes State.
The people of Agar Pakam decided to flee with their cattle to a preferred area that was safer. As the report further indicated, what remains a general public concern is how the three commissioners of Greater Rumbek North counties are consistently struggling to accumulate wealth through looting mechanisms at the order of their boss, inflicting immeasurable pain to the innocent civilians. The fact of the matter is that Pakam never felt protected at all from external threats since their arms, which were the source of their self-defense, had been taken away from them.
In conclusion, Agar Pakam left Western Lakes because of the lacks of protection from the government of Western Lakes as the Governor, General Matur himself has natural hate of Pakam people and the question that needs answers is: WAS IT DISARMAMENT OR DESTRUCTION AND LOOTING IN DISGUISE OF AGAR PAKAM COMMUNITY BY WESTERN LAKES STATE GOVERNMENT?
the author is Human rights lawyer and he can be reached through: email@example.com.