Ethiopia Opinion

A Response To Obang Metho’s False Allegations Over Gambella Incident!

By Pagak Nyier,

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam dessalegn Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam dessalegn Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).

Feb 28, 2016 —— What kind of Gambelia do we really want? I am sure we all want Gambella free from the conflict and violence. There have been allegations which have been aired by Ginvot-7 supporters with no realistic evidence. I will elaborate a bit on what really happened in Gambella, Region 12 of western Ethiopia.

Unfortunately, we can describe that our Region has been victimized since 1991 by the nature of unpleasant acts in a way that makes us all feel angry and violated. The same tragedy happened again in Gambella in 2003 due to an unpleasant plan by a certain Anyuak group, where they ambushed high profile veteran Highlanders. This is our home (Gambella) as well and we all should intend to help make it a better place for all Ethiopians and foreigners.

Obang Metho’s allegations were reported on Eritrean Satellite Television as well as allegations by Nyikwa Ochalla, Ojulu Obang, and other anti-government elements. These allegations are not true.

On February 3 2016, Obang Metho twisted his urgent article about the incident that had happened between Nuer (Naath) and Anyuak (Anyawaa) in Gambella. Obang Metho’s article is filled with distortions and fabrications. Also, the article he wrote betrays what really happened in Gambella between Anyuak and the Nuer communities. In the following weeks, I put forth brief background information and facts about what is really happening in the State of Gambella, facts in which Obang Metho chooses to be oblivious about in hopes to gain momentum. Negative, if not a naïve! To correct his misrepresentation of facts and his negative analysis of the incident, I will simply select and reckon parts from his biased article that bore flawed pieces of evidence. If you have gotten jealous because of the way Gambella has risen for development in less than two years, then you are wrong.

The root causes of the recent conflict in Gambella region between the Anyuak and the Nuer: The first incident that was reported came from the Nuer people of Puldeng and the Anyuak people of Paanywaa village, where a Nuer man accidentally killed a pregnant Anywaa woman months back. After the incident happened and was brought up again, Gambella regional authority took quick action to manage the incident. The State laws and local community followed and gave compensation to the husband of the deceased (pregnant Anywaa woman). The Anuak didn’t think the compensation was the best and gracious offer the Nuer could offer to compensate the loss of life. A few days later, the husband decided to take revenge by taking the lives of two Nuers, even after he collected the compensation. Immediately, anger started to build up between the two communities, Nuer of Puldeng and Paanywaa Anyuak village alone.

Nuer dance group during Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).
Nuer dance group during Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).

A few months later, another incident happened between the Vice President driver Engineer Ato Oleru and Gambella’s elected official who was hired by the regional government at the Teachers’ Training Institute (TTI) College. Apparently, a dispute had happened between these two gentlemen and could not be resolved in a peaceful manner, possibly due to some hidden agenda between the region and outsiders.

Eventually, Ato Obang Metho stated the incident in a wrong way by saying that “the Anyuak man who was the Deputy President’s driver, had legally leased the land a few months ago, with plans to eventually build a home on it. The border of the land had been demarcated and he held a clear title to it, given to him by the government authorities. Recently, the Nuer man from Gambella University, decided he wanted that same land. The Anyuak man told him you cannot take the land because he had the legal rights to it.” Then, a physical fight broke out between two men; the Vice President’s driver and the Dean College Ministry. The Nuer punched his rival in the face, soon later he fired gun shots into the air in hopes to avoid being harmed by his opponent. The opponent then shoots at him and again the Nuer man turned his gun at the Anyuak man and shot him in his hand. This could be a normal incident if not because there are hidden agenda behind the whole scenario.

One week later, another physical fight broke out between college students, this was not the only cause of the incident that killed innocent people of Gambella. There are several sources which need to be revealed and dug out by the government. There is no land grabbing by the same people who own the same land. Enthusiastically, the Ato Obang Metho got wrong report that he should carry out unbiased to get facts of what had actually triggered the unwanted fight between the two loving communities (Naath and Anywaa), facts should be told. The fact that Ato Obang speaks the language of Ginvot-7 doesn’t grant him a license to distort the true story of the problem.

Let me make it clear for you one more time: the land lease was legally leased for both citizens and the incident would be squarely blamed on the authority who leased the land to two people simultaneously. This is where the incident came from, and we only hope the investigators will come to their senses and tell it like it happened.

Certainly bad things evolved, advance evil acts continue to destroy lives in Gambella. Another attack on Nuer students at the college campus happened the week after the shooting happened over a land dispute. At the college, two Nuer female students were beaten to death by the Anyuak. After the death of the young women was announced, one Anyuak took another attack on students where he threw a hand grenade into a crowd of students, the grenade failed to discharge and didn’t reach its target where the actor thought he would have killed most Nuer students. Luckily, no student was injured nor killed, but the attacker received minor injuries from his own grenade and was taken to hospital in Gambella.

Because the Nuer community knew from the outset that it was an organized crime by the Anywaa, they convinced themselves not to do the same evil acts that the Anyuaks unleashed on them. They abstained! The Nuer elders managed to convince the angry Nuer Nuer youths not to retaliate but to let the law and order take the course. Unfortunately, the Anyuak failed to convince themselves and went on rampage killing Nuers.

Here is the question everyone dares to ask, where did the attacker get the hand grenade? Who is behind this evil plan to kill as many Nuer students as possible with hand grenade? Could this be related to the terror acts that happened in other areas of the region which were coordinated by Ginvot-7, any correlation to be drawn? The answer from public opinion is affirmative.

Thus, the false allegations from the Anyuak and the circles of Ato Obang Metho that a Nuer student that threw hand grenade at college students were mere fabrications that were meant to distort the truth of what happened,

A few hours later within the same day of the hand grenade incident, several killings were carried out by Anyuak Special Forces against the Nuers. They killed all Nuers who lived or worked all Anyuak Waredas (districts). These Anyuak Special forces who are supposed to protect the region unfortunately turned themselves into a formidable tribal force to kill unarmed Nuer in or around Abobo Wareda town. They killed a high state Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport.

Several Nuer Special Force who were officially stationed in Anyuak Woredas to protect citizens were also discriminately shot and killed in Jor Wareda by the Anyuak. Another killing was conducted in Abobo prison where 14 Nuer refugee inmates were all killed in Abobo Wareda, this is a clear violation of both national and international human rights law.

In fact, the Gambella jail was stormed by prisoners who tried to sneak out from jail, no guns were used to shot at one another. Both sides used only stones and sticks to fight, resulting in deaths on both sides. It is unlawful for prisoners to be killed. Gambella could be polluted with ethnicity hatred.

Youth Groups during Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).
Youth Groups during Ethiopian all-tribes cultural event celebration in Gambella town, capital of Gambella regional government, December 9, 2015 (Photo/file).

Lack of good evidence can sometimes turn a writer/reporter to be a very cheap man. And this is exactly what Obang Metho’s article fits. Obang claims in his article that Ethiopian Nuer citizens have risen the South Sudanese flag to replace the Ethiopian flag outside of Gambella’s big prison and Newland. This is where the federal intervention would quickly come in in case Obang’s white lie holds truth. The Nuer people of Ethiopia are not dumb enough to do such a thing in the country because they are Ethiopians like any other Ethiopians and they love Ethiopia. Obang Metho apparently shows he is playing the ethnicity card by not telling the facts, and his article is too bias, too shallow, and too tribal, and should not be trusted at all. His article amounts to white lies even a 5-year-old child could not believe!

Save lives of many:

In the meantime, the Nuer elders spared unarmed Anyuaks from all Nuer Waredas and brought them to Lare, more than 350 Anyuaks all were save. In less than an hour, Gambella’s President Ato Gatluak Tut Khot ordered his fellow Nuers in Lare Wareda (Nuer district) to transport all Anyuaks to Gambella without harm or any missing person. Why didn’t Anyuak take the same statesman and courageous position in Abobo, Pugnido and Jor? It’s no doubt in many minds that there could be a hidden agenda behind Anyuak rebellious acts of killing any Nuer they find which caused that incident to explode beyond the point that many people could not imagine.

January 2016 killing in Gambella and other areas could be compared to what had happened back in 2003 when an Anyuak group ambushed high profile ARRA officials and TPLF veterans on their way back from Lare to Gambella. More lives from Anyawaa were lost even though some were spared by Nuers. Why do the Anyuak simply forget the good things that the Nuer have done for them? It is first time in my life to see Anyuak acting ungrateful towards Nuer who had saved their loved ones in 2003.

Past and current administrative subdivisions:

  • Agwa Alemu (GPLM) 1991 – 1992: were killed by his own community
  • Okello Ouman (GPLM) 1992 – 1997: had played ethnicity and hatred rules
  • Okello Gnigelo (GPDF) August 1997 – 2003: had played ethnicity and hatred rules
  • Okello Akway 2003 – 2004: had played ethnicity hatred rules
  • Keat Tuach Bithow (acting) January 2004 – 2005: had less time to fulfill his job
  • Dr. Omod Obong (GPDM) 29 September 2005–2013: had united Nuer and Anyuak but too much corruptions
  • Gatluak Tut Khot (GPDM) 2013 – Present: he brings real development to the Region and united all fives indigenous tribes of Gambella!

Are these two parties responsible to last month incident? Gambella Nilotes United movement (GNUM) and Gambella Nilotes Movement Army (GNUM/A) operates? I know there is only party in the Region, Gambella Peoples’ Democratic Movement (GPDM) or የጋምቤላ ሕዝቦች ዴሞክራሲያዊ ንቅናቄ is existing in Gambella.

Gambella is rich, blessed with beautiful land, but why has it become backward state than other Ethiopian states? Why is Gambella which is rich and beautiful become the most backward, poorest, less developed, and full of ethnicity hatred? Could this incident be a divine curse in the region of Gambella or could it be a curse which the people of Gambella do not consider themselves as one and people who do not believe in detestation? Is there any secret within these two ethnic groups which has not been exposed to the later generations?

Hence, there is no certain group within the region who is documented to have been the first to originate in Gambella. The ongoing incident has portrayed some reasons on why Gambella is a backward state and immature for many years. Brothers and sisters, let our reasons for peace flow in—we need to see how we can move our region and people out of backwardness thinking, underdevelopment and hatred.

We are the citizens of this Gambella Region. We are irritated, sickened and tormented by the barbaric killings of innocent Nuer and Anyuak. We are torn by this great tragedy and we must join to be peaceful makers to express our outrage and condemnation of this aggressive act driven by enmity against innocent people of Gambella. It would be our spirit in our minds that we would call upon our elders and youths to stop the killing and bring those criminals to justice as soon as possible–so that responsible individuals who committed crimes from both parties would face the consequences in the eye of Ethiopian Laws.

Literally, each single life is considered sacred in both communities and this has been explicitly stated in our tradition. We do not believe in killing and we care for justice for every single individual. There is no place for rebellion of any form in our Gambella Region. As one family, we want to show other Regions that we have nothing to do with such activities of violence and we must denounce those who have to kill who in Gambella! At the same time, it is very sad for both communities to see some group is being associated with such criminal activities—Ginvot–7 group.

Refugee issue:

I do really believe that serving refugee in Ethiopia Regions particularly the Gambella Region, Tigray Region and Somalia Region shall not be a Regional problem or choice. It is a country and International Community agreement to serves displace people in any locations. Nuer and Anyuak both migrated from Sudan particular South Sudan to Ethiopia without doubt.


Obang Metho must understand that Gambellian people are not dumb enough to accept rebel acts in the Region with existential threat by demanding the killing of Nuer because they think they will have a chance to enter Gambella. The tragic irony is that in the current dispute between the Nuer and Anyuak over the land, that was made available for both communities, there is absolutely not truth. I entreaty all you young students to educate yourselves on both sides, Nuer and Anyuak. How are we going to change our region Gambella? Have you seen the harmful effects of last Month’s violent extremes that happened in our region? I appeal to you all young Gambellians! How can young people in Gambella come together to advocate a message of peace and to terrace from ethnicity hatred?

There is no evidence to support that the two ethnic groups will not ever collaborate again. I am not sure that those who are incapable to preach peace to restores back to Gambella shall think. It is very unfortunate when someone is compelled to descend to the lowest level, discouraging simply because the other community fails to appreciate them for what they have done for the other, they sometimes take it as sign of weakness or acceptance of fears. Eritrean Satellite Television (ESAT) channel and Ginvot–7 reports do not deserve to destroy Gambella Region by listening negative reports. This killing was not happened only on Nuer alone. It had happened many years go and this an example, “These psycho-cultural differences accompanied with frustration aggression theories reached to the point of no-return unless managed wisely. Ironically, the conflict between local Nuers and Anyuaks meant a conflict between refugees too” (Zeray Hailemariam).

I would urge the readers to go through the whole piece and judge for herself/himself. Finally, I would conclude by stated to you that above writer had trade of unfound evidences, Gambella shall prevail and thrive. Ginvot 7 ill report would never be true. I believe the above writer must try to reason with Gambella residents to come up with true reports and preach resolution to the problems. I also believe the writer and Ginvot—7 supporters’ who reside outside of the country, their contentions efforts toward the Region will fail totally!

When I toured all Waredas and met with residents from Lare, Nuer Zone Nyinanyang, Especial Wareda Itang, Abol Wareda, Abobo, Pugnido Wareda and Jor Wareda. I did not hear any words about conflicts between these two groups, Anyuak and Nuer. What I did hear from the places mentioned above when I was touring was only Murle issue, kidnapping children and some un-development in certain areas. In the few weeks after I came back to the States, finally very disturbing news occurred that our people are killing each other.

I express my condolences to the families and friends of the victims and express my outrage at such an abhorrent ferocity that was committed to both of our communities. I have no words to express the horror and sadness I felt about these criminal acts.

The author lives in Gambella, Ethiopia. He can be reached through deng_34@yahoo.com

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Bol Gatjang February 28, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Thanks you so much brother Pagak or whoever you are, maybe your security is at stake due to your identity.You elaborated very clearly regarding the incident confrontation between Naath and Anyuak. We(Nuer) from our forefathers are known for our peaceful and kindness,we do believes such a devil acts came from Anyuak.So therefore, we need a viable Gambella no matter how much Anyuak want to spoiled our names.

Cuaredual Naath February 29, 2016 at 6:10 am

We really appreciated your response for nonintellectual article posted by non-collective poster he call himself. The Nuer in the world wide are well known for their merciful and forgiveness from their ancestor not only from this generation. Since this senseless fight was begin, there were Nuer who protect Anuak from other Anuak, they even involved in fighting not to kill their neighbor at Puldeng. That is our culture we the Nuer. But from Anuak they start murdering from their neighbors to other.We are the peace Makers. Even now we say we have peace but Anuak still searching at the corner to murder.

olay February 29, 2016 at 9:37 pm

The 2nd Genocide of Anuaks in Gambella, western part of Ethiopia.
The Gambella genocide which was carried out by the South Sudan refugees in western part of Ethiopia was a genocidal mass slaughter of Anuaks by members of Nuer. During the approximate 4 days period from January 27 to 30, 2016, an estimated 50 anuaks were killed by so called “White Army” of Rheck Macher, the former and the revel of the newest world nation, the South Sudan.
The genocide was planned by the current regional President Gatlwak-Tut from Nuers’ ethnic and some members of the Nuer core political subethnic group known as the Gajak, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the regional government.
The Anuaks genocide is going to be one of the heaviest moments in human history followed by Rwanda’s. Approximately 425 Anuaks were slaughtered in a carefully organized program of genocide for over 3 days, by Ethiopia government.
The earliest inhabitants of what is now Gambella were the Anuak, a group of luo of Kenya and Acholi of Uganda who settled in the area for centuries.
The Anuaks genocide resulted from the conscious upcoming replacement of President Gatlwak-Tut with his Vice President Olero Opiew from the Anuaks’ ethnic group by Ethiopian Federal government, and this substitution promote hatred and fear to Gatlwak-Tut, and he decided to act in violent to keep himself in power.
During the massacre, the police and the Special Forces that might have been able to take charge of the situation and other high profile opponents of the Anuaks extremist were killed immediately by their workmates, the Nuers.
Anuaks and people suspected of being Anuaks were killed in their homes and as they tried to flee at roadblocks set up across the region during the genocide. Entire families were killed at a time. Women were systematically and brutally raped. It is estimated that some 10,000 Nuers participated in the perpetration of the Anuaks genocide.
Although the regional government Gatlwak-Tut is fully responsible for the organization and execution of the Anuak genocide, Federal government’s soldiers and TPLF share in the shame of the crime because they failed to prevent and stop this killing campaign. Both of the group was standing in the streets watching Nuers, the killers marching to the Anuaks villages to loot and burn Anuaks’ houses.

Gathkoth dul March 1, 2016 at 1:03 am

We, the Nuer, sometime do stop thing, I don’t understand why the God make Nuer to be like Devil and killing human being. God did this because we the Nuer are the last human being. We like to liar to whoever we associate with, We killed many Anyuaks in Akobo from 1982 till we finish them all from their’s land, now we did the same thing again in Gambela and killing many of them, so what are we going to achieve? We gave some money to Ethiopian’s official not to investigate our criminal act to let keep quite until we kick them out from Gambella , this is wrong. we need to stop it act like human being.

Gathluk Tarpum March 1, 2016 at 12:41 am

We, the Anyuaks, will never make any peace with devil people again so long as we alive on this planet, you have no right to be in Gambela.

Ismail March 1, 2016 at 1:35 am

If there are people who never ever tell truth is Nuer. The kind of character that Nuer people have is only comparable with that of an animal. How comes that you always tell lies? Are you really calling yourselves people or animals? If you call yourselves as people, you are really wrong. That is why real people say that an intellectual Nuer is equal to a dead
Anyuak. I comes that you twist a reality that everybody in this world knows. I now realized that the main reason why each and every tribe in South Sudan hates Nuers is because there is no Nuer who tells truth.

Ismail March 1, 2016 at 1:42 am

You also say that Nuer has a good culture. What culture is that? The culture of an animal is the culture that you are going to be proud of ? Your are very wrong man!!! Never speak of that again you food lovers!!

Ismail March 1, 2016 at 4:22 am

To be born as a Nuer, better to be born as an animal such as a dog, because a dog is far far better than Nuer.

Anywaa March 1, 2016 at 7:10 am

This article is best in Big lie

Lairs always are the once costing the problem, and to you pagak whatever you’re go back to pagak and leave Anuak alone
Do you think buy writing a bunch of lie will change what you did to Anuak in their land?
Make sour that your lie article are not read by Anuak who have their relative murder by you refugee, and make sure that you are costing more problem like you did between your Nuer people and Dinka

Anuak are kind to let you stay in their land, and then you started to claiming their land what kind of animas are you people?
You don’t know how to live among humans
You don’t lesion like a humans
You believe in refugee handout
You don’t want to go back to your land to build
All you Nuer do is destruction after destruction, until one day your father UN will get sick of your tribe laziness
If you are so dispread to be an Ethiopia, Ethiopia is big country you don’t need to be in Gambella to be an Ethiopian
Just because Anuak are dark skin like you, that dosed mean we think the same, just live the Anuak tribe alone, and go back to S Sudan in peace without bothering Anuak tribe in their land

Can you see in your scar brain that Anuak don’t want you in their Land?
Anuaks are fat up with your evil living style
Go home; let UN help you from your own country

Bol Gatjang March 3, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Pagak, was just telling the unfolded truth regarding Anyuak , Anyuak , they had been living by annihilating others tribes in Gambella including highlanders.Who doesn’t know Anyuak for killing of their brainless mind or monkey brain Gambella,Ethiopia?

Bol Gatjang March 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Who doesn’t know them for their killing others with their brainless mind s. They are disgusting and diabolical Who celebrate massacre of innocent people.Anyuak’s existence in Gambella is still nightmare and bizarre for different tribes who usually lives in paranoid including myself. I hope the government of Ethiopia will apply a strong rule to eliminate their animosity, their presence is fearful and predicament experience to me.


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