Jonglei: South Sudan’s VP calls on defiant Lou youth to withdraw back to Nuer territory

Posted: December 31, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

December 31, 2011 (JUBA) –South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, has called on Lou-Nuer youth to implement the verbal agreement he reached with them on Wednesday 28th December 2011 and withdraw back to the Nuer territory. Machar warned them not to advance towards Pibor county headquarters of the Murle community.

JPEG - 80.1 kb
Vice President, Riek Machar, tells Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw from Linkwangale, Dec. 28, 2011 (ST)

Earlier this week, several thousands of armed Lou-Nuer youth marched onto Murle land and captured a strategic payam called Likwangole, which is about 25 kilometers from the county headquarters. The youth announced that they would continue to capture Pibor headquarters and other payams and villages until the Murle community was completely “liberated and disarmed”.

The group claimed that they were carrying out a revenge attack for the killing of more than 700 of their members, mostly women and children, by armed youth from the Murle community in a village called Pieriin August. According to officials this was the first major surprise attack since independence in July this year.

According to the Vice President’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, who accompanied the Vice President to Pibor county, Machar flew to the isolated payam of Likwangole on Wednesday to try to convince the Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw and move back to their territory.

The youth, who at first refused to meet with Machar, finally agreed to withdraw on the condition that their wounded were evacuated first, before they withdrew to the Lou-Nuer area.

The wounded were evacuated on Thursday and on Friday the Lou-Nuer youth informed the Vice President, who was spending the night with them, that they were withdrawing to Lou-Nuer. However instead of withdrawing they diverted their route towards the Pibor county headquarters.

The Governor of Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang Juuk, told the BBC on Friday that the youth were now demanding that the Lou-Nuer women and children who had been abducted must be handed over by the Murle community before they would stop their attacks.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that they had intercepted about six thousand armed Lou-Nuer youth moving toward Pibor county headquarters on Friday burning villages and taking cattle on the way.

According to the UN report, tens of thousands of civilians had already fled from Pibor town on Friday, into the bush in fear of imminent attack. UNMISS has already deployed a battalion of its troops in Pibor town to protect the civilians, in addition to the SPLA forces on the ground.

The Jonglei State Governor warned that the deployed UN forces were insufficient and would not be able to contain the situation or stop the marching Lou-Nuer youth from attacking the town.

On Friday, the Vice President, Machar, who is still in the affected Murle area of Likwangole, continued to try to stop the youth from further movement into the interior of the Murle land.

On Friday he spoke on the phone with the leader of the Lou-Nuer youth, Bor Doang, who assured the Vice President that he would order his group to stop advancing toward Pibor town and return back to Lou-Nuer.

However it is not yet clear whether or not the youth leader will hold true to his word, despite the fact that the attack on Pibor town did not occur as feared on Friday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s