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Opinion: Six years without justice for victims of Juba massacre  

By Nhial Gatkuoth Chung

Mass graves discovered by the United Nations in Juba a few days after the Juba massacre, thousands of Nuer were killed and their dead bodies were either burried in mass graves in Juba or loaded in trucks and dumped outside Juba (Photo: Nyamilepedia/file)
Mass graves discovered by the United Nations in Juba a few days after the Juba massacre, thousands of Nuer were killed and their dead bodies were either burried in mass graves in Juba or loaded in trucks and dumped outside Juba (Photo: Nyamilepedia/file)

December 12th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – December 15th Juba massacre will go down as one of the darkest days in the history of South Sudan, merely two years after South Sudan flag was hoisted, the SPLM party leaders fell out among themselves, their political  disputes plunged the country into civil strife where thousands of innocent South Sudanese were ethnically targeted and mercilessly annihilated by the government’s armed tribal militia, and more than 20,000 people were maimed in 3 days operation in the city on ethnic ground by Mathiang Anyor

Luckily as president Kiir once said in an interview, those who managed to narrowly escape the rampant killing ran for their lives and sought refuge in UN camps and are still under the protection of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as internally displaced person(IDPs) for the last seven years since conflict flared up in the country. This in itself is a big shame to the leadership of the SPLM party whether inside or outside. Their inability to peacefully solve their political differences has created this chaotic plight in the country. UNMISS is still sheltering and protecting South Sudanese in Juba, Malakal, Wau and Bentiu.

When South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan in 2011 through popular conducted plebiscite, South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to have their own viable independence state called south Sudan, they jumped cheerfully with tears of joy and ululations across the country thinking that the dark days of Jalaba oppression have come to an end, people thought that we had finally reached our promised land where people will have equal opportunities, South Sudan where justice, peace and equality will reign.

In 2013, the prospects for better South Sudan diminished, shattered and betrayed by the SPLM leaders who spent most of their entire lifetime fighting against Khartoum oppressive regime, their struggle for change, justice, peace and freedom for the marginalized people of South Sudan failed miserably. They have fallen short of finding a non-violence and amicable solution to the leadership crisis in the party, their failure to settle their differences culminated in the brutal killing of innocent civilians who don’t even know about the party in 2013.

The liberators turned oppressors brought the country to its knee due to power greed within their party (SPLM), as a result, many innocent South Sudanese people lost their lives and properties and many more were forced to flee their homes as violent was proliferating like a wildfire across the country, quarter of the population had crossed international borders for the search of security and safety where they are subjected to live in deplorable conditions.

In 2015, peace that was popularly known as agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) was signed by the warring parties that briefly silenced the guns that created a breathing space for the people but later on was endangered by political opportunists, the implementation was intentionally hampered just to murder the agreement for the benefit of some individual who wanted to remain on the helm of power.

Just few months after the formation of the transitional government of national unity (TGONU) the agreement was trashed as a direct result of J1 one dogfight in 2016 which was believed to have been orchestrated by the current first vice president and former chief of staff Paul Malong, The war went beyond Juba, many civilians were ethnically targeted and got killed specially in Yei,Munduri, Kejokeji, yambio and Torit-Juba road  and many places in Equatoria region, half of the population in those places crossed the borders to DRC and Uganda for safety.

2018 revitalized peace agreement is facing eminent threat of collapse in the hands of the same leaders that are holding people of South Sudan hostage since 2013, number of critical issues in the agreement remain unresolved, face to face meetings between the two rivals were held several times but no tangible outcome has been seen since and this possess a great threat to the peace that is thought to be the only workable option that will bring permanent peace to SSD

South Sudanese want this revitalized agreement to be fully implemented so that hybrid court is set up to try those who perpetuated heinous crimes against civilians either from the government side or opposition, all those individuals identified to have committed horrible crimes must be brought to book. Justice is the only hope for the victim of this senseless war orchestrated by the SPLM leaders

As we are marking the sixth anniversary of December 15th massacre, South Sudanese are not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel as leaders are still playing seek and hide game and dragging their feet in the implementation of the outstanding issues (number of states boundaries and security arrangement) in the agreement which are yet to be resolved.

But we, the people are still optimistic and hopeful on the ongoing face to face meeting between the two principals to break the deadlock on the issues hindering the implementation of the agreement.

One day, peace return to south Sudan despite all these hurdles and true reconciliation will be conducted peacefully. May the souls of innocent South Sudanese who perished in this man-made crisis rest in peace.

The author is a concerned citizen of South Sudan who lives in Accra, Ghana. He is reachable via: nhialnyarok@gmail.com

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