By Tor Madira Machier,
Dec 14, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— December 2017 marks exactly four years since the ongoing conflict erupted in the South Sudan’s capital Juba. Initially, the fighting which fitted Dinka against the Nuer of the presidential guards unit, begun as misunderstanding arising from a partially conducted disarmament directed – possibly – by president Salva on the evening of December 15th 2013, then spread rapidly to other parts of the country. Early in the day, President Salva Kiir had directed Maj. Gen. Marial Chinuong, Commander of the Presidential Guards Tiger Battalion to disarm the whole unit fearing possible rebellion should he arrest Machar and other dissident politicians. Marial later on rearmed the Dinka members of the Presidential Guards and the Nuer rearmed themselves later on in the process then fighting erupted and continued to the next morning.
The following day, President Salva Kiir incited more violence when he, flanked by a group of loyalist politicians and army generals, announced that he had just foiled a coup-attempt orchestrated by Machar, the former vice president, and other politicians from the ruling party among which is the suspended SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum. In the press conference, Kiir was wearing an army uniform with fatigues of an army general. The SPLA faction loyal to president Salva Kiir successfully dislodged elements supporting Machar from the army from the town and upon return approximately between 1:00 PM and 3:00PM lately in the day, the SPLA turned their gun against Machar’s Nuer, whom the president and most Dinka believe were supporting Machar and killed thousands of them. Juba was then ethnically cleansed of the Nuer by the end of December 2013, right groups, myself – who personally witnessed the massacre – and an African Union report published in 2015 regarding atrocities committed from the onset of the conflict in South Sudan believe this.
Publicly, and in fact, there is no any valid reason which led the government to kill a certain section of its citizens. The Nuer never attacked, protested or offended any person. Nevertheless, their killing is politically motivated. The state itself and its advisory council, the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) which is composed of hardliners is responsible for the death of thousands of Nuer men, women and children. Only, their connection to Machar, which is by ethnicity, rendered them victims of the massacre.
Kiir’s coup narrative which has led to the death of the Nuer turned out to be a ploy by him and those in his circle to justify the death of the Nuer and it has been denied so far by many including the army’s chief of intelligence in the country’s biased court.
The country’s hope for peace and the return to normalcy was thrown into dustbin when President Salva Kiir tried and succeeded in hijacking the peace deal signed with rebels in august 2015 and the possibility of getting away with the crimes his government committed against the Nuer and the rest of the people of South Sudan is eminent. Three years later, Salva Kiir has also defied international calls to accept peace yet the international community is watching while the crime are being committed and the war is being carried out in their watchful eye by the South Sudan government against its citizens at the expense of the very citizens.
As the war will possibly enters its fifth year now, the international community should pressure the warring side specially the government so that there is chance for justice. It is now high time to bring those criminals in the thrown to justice and account for their actions because once “justice delayed” is “justice denied.”
Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese columnist living in Cairo, Egypt. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or tormachier.blogspot.com