Jan 21, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— South Sudan’s paramount chiefs of Ayod County of formerly Jonglei State, call on the region and the international community to restrain South Sudan regime’s controversial First Vice President, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, for recent attacks on civilians in Ayod and Uror Counties.
Speaking to Nyamilepedia, the Paramount Chiefs of Ayod, Wau, Pajiek and Pagil condemn Gen. Taban in the strongest terms possible for taking war to his predominately Nuer populations who live in peace and harmony in Gawaar-Nuer areas under the control of the armed opposition, SPLM/A(IO).
According to Tut Ruei Wieh, the Paramount Chief of Wau County in what is now Phou State, the First Vice President is openly carrying out offensives in violation of the recently signed Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to obstruct revitalization of the peace agreement.
“I’m issuing this press concerns over the plans designed by FVP Taban Deng Gai to carry out attacks on innocent citizens in Ayod County as serious violation of recent ceasefire signed in Addis Abba-Ethiopia last year in the hands of rival parties to the ongoing conflicts” Said Paramount Chief Tut Ruei Wieh.
“In the strongest term possible, on my own behalf and on behalf of patriotic citizens of the entire community of Gawaar-Nuer, we are condemning that baseless evil plan of Taban and we are identifying it as a way of blocking the most wanted peace process which is predominantly demanded by the entire citizens of South Sudan to end the ongoing crisis ” Chief Tut continues.
Asked of why the First Vice President could pursue more war than peace, the Paramount Chief said Taban Deng Gai was militarily imposed by President Salva Kiir into his current position and if peace process is to be revitalized, Taban will lose the position of the First Vice President and his enemies in Juba and Unity State may start to haunt him down.
“Here in the village, all the paramount chiefs know that if one person steals another person’s cow or wife or any other property, and the owner of that property comes to us with enough evidence, we take the property back and give it back to the rightful owner. In addition to deter stealing, we punish the thief so that he cannot steal again.” Chief Tut proverbially explains.
“Taban Deng Gai is a thief and IGAD should treat him like one, that is if IGAD was serious to bring peace in South Sudan. To deter him from theft and other dangerous activities, IGAD and TROIKA must impose sanctions on him and punish him severely for stealing and for obstructing peace”. He said.
The Paramount Chief warns that his people are being forced to fight a well-equipped regime because IGAD, UN, AU and the International Community have failed to address South Sudan crises.
“Since the peace mediators are refusing to put actions on Taban’s war campaigns yet his move is very clearly aimed to destroy our homes where we have been hiding ourselves and our cattle which we kept for sustainable living in the areas. we will not tolerate any war mobilizations in our Gawaar-Nuer territories.” Cheif Tut added.
According to Lam Madhak Diew, the paramount chief of Ayod county of Pajiek, the International Community must come out clean and clear this time.
“If they can’t solve our crises, then let them stay out of it altogether or else Taban Deng Gai and President Kiir must be severely punished for killing and displacing innocent and peaceful civilians from their own homes.” The Paramount Chief reiterates
“In the simplest terms, I’m urging the International community, most especially the TROIKA countries (Norway, United Kingdom and United State of America), who are witnessing what the regime of Salva Kiir and so called FVP Taban Deng have been constantly doing to our civilians, to impose sanctions, armed embargos and other punitive actions on Taban and Kiir.” Said Lam Madhak Diew, the Paramount Chief of Ayod.
“I call for individual sanctions to be imposed on Taban Deng Gai who is championing ongoing conflicts as a source to gain wealth illegally like he previously did during his term as a governor of Unity State before his dismissal by President Kiir in 2013.” Chief Lam continued.
“We as paramount chiefs of (Ayod Counties) Mogok and Pagil payams are expressing our concern over the ongoing violation of cessation of hostility signed by rival leaders to bring to an end the conflict and we have admired that was good thoughts of us as South Sudanese who are tirelessly living with trauma due to loses of our love ones, homes and properties destroyed in fighting for five years and up to now no solutions to it.” The Paramount Chief conclude.
In an interview with Tayien James Koang, the Operation Coordinator for Victim Voice Organization, in Ayod County, the Chiefs are calling for immediate arms embargo, sanctions and other punitive actions on government and rebel officials who are waging war across South Sudan.
For the last two weeks, the First Vice President diverted a lot of attentions to Jonglei, Bieh and Phou States, a region in which he is less welcomed due to his previous and current political affiliations.
Taban, was a governor of Unity of State until he was sacked and replaced with his main rival, Dr. Joseph Nguen Manytuil, in 2013.
Dr. Nguen, who is from Bul Nuer, has been a main rival to Taban since 1997 and his coming to power in 2013 became a major threat to Taban and his inner circle – forcing the former Governor to rebel along with Dr. Machar in 2013 when South Sudan crises broke out.
In what the opposition believe was a search for a more powerful position, Gen. Taban switched size and collaborated with President Salva Kiir in 2016, a merger that led to ousting of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny in July 2016.
To secure a conducive working environment with President Kiir, Gen. Taban, who identifies himself the Chairman of the SPLM/A(IO), traded off many articles of the August 2015 Peace Agreement, which eventual kills the ARCISS.
His recent tour of Jonglei State is viewed by critics as a way to show his disappointment to IGAD for trying to revatalize the Peace Agreement that may see a possible returns of Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition leaders to the capital, Juba.
The ongoing conflict began two years after South Sudan achieved her independence and has gone on for more than four years.
Over 4 millions people are currently displaced and over 300 thousands others are killed in the conflict.