Juba Massacre: Six years on without justice

Tor Madira Machier (Photo credit: Penton Keah)

December 15th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – At 09:30 pm, on Sunday the 15th December 2013, messages and statements circulated on twitter and Facebook of a fierce fighting in Al Giada military barrack (former Sudanese armed forces hospital). Within a matter of less than two hours, the fighting resumed in New Site and continued with the echo of heavy gunfire to the next morning (Dec 16th).

The next day, President Salva Kiir flanked by senior government officials including his then foreign minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, appeared in a decisive military uniform televising an announcement of a failed coup attempt he said was done by ex-vice president Dr. Riek Machar and “his colleagues.”

At 04:00pm on the same Monday, 4000 Nuer men, women and children were reported massacred at Souk Lualdit and Gudele (among other Juba neighborhoods). As the killing was systematically and officially ordered, within less than a matter of 72 hours, more than 20 thousands of Nuer men, women, and children were confirmed massacred. The killing would continue.

December 15th, 2013, is a big day in Naath and South Sudan history, a bloody day. It was the largest mass killing in South Sudan ever witnessed and also one of the biggest massacres of one ethnic group in the world in a matter of less than 72 hours since the beginning of the 21st century. Yet nobody has been prosecuted. Those responsible have pushed it under the rug, silencing and denouncing any criticism that comes their way. It’s like it never happened. On that fateful Sunday and Monday, South Sudanese security forces and their Gelweng militiamen literally translated to cattle herders raided and rounded up two largely peaceful Nuer dominated residential areas.

In that raid, at least 4050 people were killed between 12:00 PM and 04:00 PM on the 16th of December in what Human Rights Watch says was an attack orchestrated at the highest levels of the South Sudan government

The death of more than 20,000s Nuer people at the hands of their state is neither a partisan nor a political controversy but instead, a national and human tragedy. December 15th is a tragic day in South Sudan’s history and Naath in particular and only when a larger section of the population recognizes it as such will South Sudan be a better, healthier and more peaceful nation.

No Justice has been achieved so far since this inhuman act was executed. It is as if the identity of killers is a public secret. Everyone knows exactly who they are. Some of them still roam freely in the area, but they cannot be named, even by an official inquiry or investigation. I am not saying hang or kill them without a trial. But the people have neither forgiven nor forgotten what happened on December 15th. The people know exactly who the killers are.

Tor Madira Machier is a journalist and can be reached via: tormadira2013@gmail.com


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