BY JESUS PANTHER DENG
Nov 12, 2018 (Nyamilepedia) –Dear Mr. President, Greetings, Your Excellency! First, congratulations on your new political relationship with the opposition leader, H.E Dr. Riek Machar Teny which brought us a much needed political stability in the entire nation.
Your Excellency, as you are celebrating political stability in Juba, the blood of innocent people of Jonglei state is continuing dripping day and night due to increasing cattle rustling occasioned and fanned by the proliferation of illegal arms, lawlessness, and poverty.
Your Excellency, the purpose of this letter is to let you and your government know the massacres going on in Jonglei state, to point out your government failures in address the situation and possible future solutions.
Your Excellency, on 31st October 2018 as the nation celebrates your new profound political relationship with Dr. Riek Machar Teny and other opposition leaders which yielded us peace, the people of Jonglei state your excellency, instead of celebrating with the fellow countrymen and women, they went on with their usual business of wailing, burying, nursing the wounded, mourning and organising of funerals which has gone on now for decades if not centuries, which always instigates by arm criminals.
On Tuesday 30th October 2018 when the nation was at euphoria on the eve of peace celebration, your Excellency, the entire state of Jonglei came under heavy attacked in different locations just hours to the day of celebration.
In Duk Payuel County at the far north of the state, the bunch of bandits believed to be from neighboring Buma state, Murle tribe’s criminals, in particular, carried a heavy attack on innocent people which left the number of precious lives lost and many scores injuries. This happened on Tuesday just some hours to a scheduled peace celebration day on Wednesday. Similarly, the same place was attacked back in November 2017 in the same location where over 40 people lost their lives and more than 50 children abducted plus herds of cattle drove away by the same bandits from Murle community.
Again On 31st October 2018, your Excellency, gangs of gun-sling raiders’ storm Akot village in unarmed cattle camp in jalle payam at night, shooting innocent people on sight before drove away the entire herds of cattle leaving the entire village devastated and in dismal. What made the situation more havoc, the entire unarm cattle camp in Jalle Payam was attacked at exactly 1:00 am-midnight when the entire camp was at deep sleep. The bandits started shouting at all the directions at anything which cause anarchy and turned the situation more chaotic.
As that was happening, Duk Payuel County and kolnyang Payam were in contemporary resistances counter attacks from the bunch of bandits.
In that very attack in Jalle Payam, the report from the ground shows that at least 9 helpless, armless innocent children, young men, and women are confirmed to have been massacred by the attackers and scores with serious injuries. The armed criminals raided and went away with everything mostly cattle in Jalle Payam. The survivors mostly women, children and the old deserted their villages for safety in the swamp areas mostly.
As all these attacks, killings, anarchy, wailing of innocent people for rescue and displacements are happening in your watch, Your Excellency, neither you as a head of the entire nation nor your government representatives issued the statement condemning the attacks, rescuing their lives and properties or simply giving words of comfort to the victims at this trying moment. I don’t know whether you or your government was aware of the tragic incidents or you simply just ignored as usual.
Your government as usual, never felt like tragedy has happened to part of its population and thoughts to procrastinate the event (celebration) and rescue the people and their properties, instead your government went on with preparations of scheduled peace celebration when one part of the country is seriously bleeding and decreasing. This throws the primary responsibility of your government into serious questioning, your Excellency.
This is not the first time these two places are not at ease or entire Greater Bor together with its peaceful neighbors came under such a heavy attack, it is something that has been going on for centuries before you actually were born Your Excellency. All other successive military and civil regimes that ruled our country Sudan before experienced the same frustration of warning after warning and round of loosely disarmament after another, but with no any tangible success.
Your Excellency, since you took over the administration of southern Sudan in 2005 to South Sudan independence in 2011, the Jonglei state insecurity has gone worst and is getting worse than ever. This has slowly varnished the previous hopes, subjective and slogans that when we get our own administration (independence), things will turn better especially the state security.
Mr. President, due to long neglect and marginalization of the region by past regimes, the region armed itself like other regions in the country just for the purpose of defending itself against the merciless successive Sudanese Islamic regimes mostly government militias that used to raids villages searching for government’s dissidents and rebels supporters by then. In 2010 when there was total political space and peace in the then Sudan, your then southern government ordered the disarmament of the region and return of small weapons in the hands of civilians to rightful places to curb out the deteriorating insecurity. The initiative was overwhelmingly welcomed by the sons of the land with the expectation that your government will take over the full responsibility of state security and also your government would fully equally disarm the common enemy which was increasingly carrying out attacks constantly. Surprisingly this became merely wishes as the enemy became more aggressive against the state and your government never took or taking a whip crack on the enemy side.
Following that disarmament, the terrorists took full advantage of region venerability and started carrying out the constant attack, ambushing and massacring innocent people like rates and looting of their properties like they will never come again for more.
For example Your Excellency, in December 2011 after your government had disarmed the region and handed over its full responsibility to the hands of bandits, the men estimated to be of more than 300 fully dressed up in military fatigue, military well equipped with moderns heavy machine guns believed to be from Murle tribe took advantage of already emasculated regional security and carried out the first worst ever massacre in Jalle Payam in the history of greater Bor since you took over power. The bandits indiscriminately and inhumanely slaughtered kids, elderly men, and women, burning people and livestock alive inside their huts. In that attack, more than 40 innocent children, women, young men, elderly men, and women were massacred and all their belonging most cattle were taken.
This was followed by another worst massacre on Ajuong and Pakeer villages on 20th October 2013 in which more than 70 armless innocent people lost their lives. The list would be very, very long if am to mention all the attacks and number of innocent people massacred from all the state peripheries on daily basis since 2005 and since disarmament of one side in 2010. In short, an average of 20 – 30 innocent people are massacred on monthly basis in greater Bor region.
In other words Mr. President, there is no a single God image citizen of greater Bor region that has not lost at least a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, aunty, uncle or in short, a relative(s) through massacre, ambushing or adduction by bandits from Buma state.
Your Excellency, as all these heinous crimes are going on day and night, only outsiders such UN, United States of America etc sound more alarming than your government which is in total violation of mandate given to you and your government by the average South Sudanese.
Mr President, your government mass failure and refusal to heed to investigate the source of the attackers military uniforms, the source of modern heavy machines guns, the source of their training, source of funds, their base, their leaders, their villages and where they always take cattle and abducted children in order to fish out those mostly culpable of committing heinous crimes and contain the menace is something regrettable and questionable
Your government also continuing to put deaf ears to put in place security strategies or taking any boldly step toward ending these consistent cattle rustling, child abductions and merciless killings of innocent helpless civilians rather than hotels reconciliation meetings by individuals who only want media attention and publicity and at the end yields no tangible positive results.
Your Excellency, I know there are pathological deceptionists who deceive you that, Jonglei state is at ease in order to win favors that always keep your government ignores the situation in Jonglei state please they are hidding under the guise of your administration to destroy your government, please deal with them to save lives.
Mr President as you knows that, in a pastoralist community, cattle are a source of food, wealth, prestige, pride and status. Jonglei state is not exempted as it largely depends on small-scale livestock and farming for survival which is sometimes a relief to your government in term of government expending since majority depend on their own. Your government keeps ignoring to secure such a free gift from God, leaving regional economy on life support and with also your government failing to take a herculean effort to get it out of the woods in any way.
Mr. President, contrary to what Jonglei state’s detractors always preach as being coward, Your Excellency, nothing could be further from the truth as you personally witnessed during the years struggle for independence. What I know is that the region only believes in humanity. That culture has tightened the community in many generations from carrying out evil activities such as cattle raiding, child abductions, innocently killing and destruction which I believe is also in line with your government policies and bible teaching. Your Excellency, I personally don’t encourage retaliatory revenge in a country governed by the rule of law.
Your Excellency, in 2017 when citizens of the land who are left venerable in the hands of bandits took your government’s primary responsibility into their hands to protect themselves, their ancestral lands and their livestock, safeguard their borders out of protest and frustrations for the entire deserted villages for people to resettle in, Your Excellency, your government quickly and largely misinterpreted the mission as a planned retaliatory raid on the enemy.
Your Excellency, your government came in and fed the sons of the land with usual empty promises and lips services that your government will take over a full responsibility of the state security, investigate the matter, arrest culprits, bring back abducted children and raided cattle. As the sons of the land responded to your government request and went on with their usual business, none of the above promises was actually implemented as a result the cycle goes on. Immediately, Aboudit village in Jalle Payam was attacked by bandits leaving many innocent dead and their belonging took, your government never positively responded.
Your Excellency, as your government is fully aware that, the only diseases the region (Jonglei) has been suffering from is the bullet syndrome. You cannot get graves in the region that belong to people who died from HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Typhoid etc, more than graves as a result of constant attacks and raiding by the Murle bandits. Cattle raiding, child abduction and attacks are the highest cause of death rate in the state; your government continue to do nothing but only watching in the violation of your government’s primary responsibility.
In 2014 Your Excellency, it took government less time to intervene with available resources to save your government when it was to be thrust out of Juba by the White Army. In many international enquires and reports, your government is alleged to have poured millions of our tax and oil money to hire Ugandan’s army to come and fight alongside SPLA. Again during the course of the war, strategically the government heavily deployed the army to shield the Juba from any attacks. With millions and capacity of waging wars and protecting the seat, why should identifying the culprits and put the situation under control in Jonglei state sound like atomic science your Excellency? Where are those military tactics, money and planning to save the people of Jonglei states from further bloodshed your Excellency?
I’m not saying your government care most about protecting positions or in any way a scaremongering tactic to incite your administration against Murle community but I am saying all these out of frustrations and disappointments and need something to be done urgently.
In conclusion, Your Excellency I am not asking your government to re-arm the region, or any reparation or encourage tit-for-tat killing contrary to what law requires but I would request your government to consider the following security strategies both short term and long term and not lips services this time since it is something nonstop.
In short term,
- I call on your government together with able-bodied and two states’ authorities to jointly and speedily coordinate your efforts at this time to pursue, to investigate, to fish out and bring those culprits to book to face real justices without clemencies. This will frustrate the bandits from planning to carry out any further attacks and raiding in the future.
- I call on your government through the ministry of defense to relocate the 8th division infantry from its current HQ at Malual chaat in Jonglei state and back up by other divisions in the country to deserted villages or borderline with Buma state or among greater Jonglei. This will create a buffer zone and barricade the bandits from crossing to commit crimes.
- I call on your government to summon the governor of Buma state Hon. David Yauyau to;
- Explain to the nation the circumstances under which the recent ceasefire agreement was breached and violated by his men.
- Explain the action taken so far by his administration to bring back the raided cattle to the owners and also handover the criminals to police to face justice.
In Long run,
- I would request your government to form brigade units of all law enforcement agencies whose headquarters will be at center or borderlines between two or among greater Jonglei states. Be name as JONGLEI RESCUE UNIT (JRU). This will create more fear and attrite bandits from planning heinous crime in future and this will allow the deserted villages for people to resettle.
- I urge your government to build a pastoralist dialogue center at the center of these communities headed by the elders of these communities ( Dinka bor, Lou Nuer and Murle or even more) as a separate administrative unit from these states and national governments but indirect supervision and coordination with both.
- I urge also your government to conduct a rigorously and forcefully disarmament to both communities mostly in Buma state and pass the gun control laws. This will limit the bandits from access more guns and commit heinous crimes in the future.
- I urge your government to form “FOOTPRINT’’ unit whose role will be to track the stolen cattle by observing the footprint. This will allow security to know the direction in which the cattle are been taken to and that community can actually be responsible to face the full force of the law
- I urge your government to invest more in education and improve infrastructure. This will limit the number of up bring children who may be adopting the culture of cattle raiding, rustling, and attacks. Improved infrastructure will improve mobility and insecurity within the states and create more opportunities for the youth.
- Finally, I urge your government to include mostly youth and women in any decision making concerning Jonglei states security. This will give women the courage to caution their children about the negative effects of cattle raiding and positive side of peaceful living.
Thank YOU MR PRESIDENT
By Jesus Panther Deng.
The Author, Jesus Panther Deng is a South Sudanese and he can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org