Archive for July, 2012

Peace of Neighbors: AG FINAL REPORT 2012

Posted: July 31, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in South Sudanese Diaspora

Ambassador Group Releases Trailblazing Report on Peace-building in South Sudan

Press Contact: Jon Pattee, LIRS Assistant Director for Media Relations

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2012Securing peace in South Sudan’s State of Jonglei requires determined peace-building efforts including disarmament, development, trainings, and education, says a report released today by the Ambassador Group (AG) of the Jonglei Peace of Neighbors project.

This report details the recommendations of the AG, the South Sudanese community leaders now living in the United States. The AG visited Jonglei from December 2011 to January 2012 on a fact-finding mission.

“Jonglei, like other states, has seen tribal turmoil both before and since South Sudan won independence in 2011,” said AG member Rev. Thon Moses Chol. “Many Jonglei citizens are still dying in this violence, and our urgent mission is to stop the killing and put Jonglei on the path to peace and prosperity.”

The genesis of conflicts among Jonglei’s five main ethnic groups, the Dinka, Nuer, Murle, Anyuak, and Jie, is hard to pinpoint because it stems in part from a strategy of incitement by Khartoum, the AG found. Other contributing factors include traditions of cattle-raiding, efforts to take revenge for the killing of fellow tribespeople, and attempts to liberate children and women abducted by other tribes.

“A final factor is that recently, these conflicts have been turning into poverty wars, in which those who feel unable to support themselves and their families attack and loot from other tribes,” added AG member John Chuol Kuek.

To overcome this crisis through peace-building, the South Sudan Institute (SSI), with financial support from CARE South Sudan, recruited Jonglei citizens living in the United States to be AG members.

“Our goal is for the tribes to live peacefully and respectfully with one another,” said AG member Peter Magai Bul. “To that end, the AG supports peaceful alternatives to the current violence, and demands fundamental changes in South Sudan’s domestic policy, including a move from militarism to one of addressing social needs.”

The AG’s recommendations include intensive training for tribal chiefs, clergy, and civil society; deployment of security forces; road-building; establishment of a Peace and Humanitarian Ministry; state and regional youth conferences; comprehensive disarmament; and education, job-training, and development projects.

“We’re optimistic about the future for Jonglei State and South Sudan,” said Margie Bell, SSI Chairperson. “We need politicians, tribal chiefs, and civil society to unite on the peace-building recommendations.”

“This report marks a huge step forward for peace in Jonglei State,” said Greg Umaya of CARE South Sudan.

“We’re proud of the AG’s consensus-building steps towards stopping the violence,” added AG member Banak Mading Kueth.

Please click the title to read and download the full text of the report “Peace of Neighbors.”

The South Sudan Institute, a non-profit service organization, was established January 2008 in response to the need for peace, food security, and education in Jonglei State.

CARE South Sudan meets the needs of the residents of Jonglei State and the country as a whole.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the United States-based non-profit dedicated to welcoming and advocating for immigrants and refugees, assisted with the preparation of the report.

# #  #


Here are the two versions of the final report, one in low-res format, one in hi-res. The low-res is suitable for posting on the Internet for people to download. The hi-res is for printing hard copies, because the report will print more clearly.

God bless,
Thon Moses

Peace_of_Neighbors_Report_July2012_highres.pdf 2 (1).pdf

Peace_of_Neighbors_Report_July2012_lowres_FINAL[1].pdf 1.pdf

Clinton to make first visit to South Sudan during Africa trip

Posted: July 31, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Clinton to make first visit to South Sudan during Africa trip
(CNN) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will this week make her first visit to South Sudan, a nation barely one year old that is locked in a bitter dispute with its northern neighbor, as part of a six-country tour of Africa. Clinton sets off Sudan’s Bashir turns down summit with South Sudan’s Kiir
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s president has turned down an invitation from the African Union to meet South Sudan’s leader on Wednesday to move forward stalled talks to end hostilities, state news agency SUNA said on Tuesday. The neighbors came 
The Long Road to Juba for Displaced South Sudanese
In May 2012, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) flew thousands of South Sudaneseto Juba. They were part of an estimated 12-15000 returnees that have been stranded in Kosti, Sudan waiting to travel to the South. The move was brought to 
Why Sudan Should Accept South Sudan’s Financial Package
Since their separation in July 2011, Sudan and South Sudan have been negotiating bitterly about the way forward. Time is running short now. South Sudan closed down its entire petroleum industry last January after Sudan had started confiscating and even 

Business Standard
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit troubled South Sudan on an 11-day Africa trip starting this week aimed at spurring economic growth, peace and security, a US official said. Clinton heads first today to Senegal before traveling on to the 

Clinton to visit South Sudan on major Africa trip
Malaysia Star
WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit South Sudan as part of an 11-day tour of Africa starting this week aimed at spurring economic growth and security, a US official said Monday. Clinton heads Tuesday to Senegal before traveling on 

South Sudanese Celebrate Martyrs’ Day
Voice of America
Thousands gathered at John Garang Mausoleum in the South Sudan capital of Juba to celebrate the country’s seventh annual Martyrs’ Day. The event is held each year to remember the sacrifices made by the two million people who died during the 21-year 
Meet the runner with no country
CNN (blog)
By Mick Krever. (CNN) – More than 10000 athletes are competing in the London Olympics, each representing a country. All, that is, except four. One of the so-called “Independent Olympic Athletes” is Marathon runner Guor Marial. His country of South 
Obama welcomes new ambassadors to Burma, South Sudan
Fox News
The list includes the ambassador for the world’s newest nation, South SudanSouth Sudandeclared independence last year after decades of civil war with the mainly Arab north. Relations between the two nations remain strained by a territorial dispute 
George Clooney to auction Tesla for South Sudan nonprofit
Los Angeles Times
Actor George Clooney will have Santa Monica auction house Gooding & Co. auction his 2008 Tesla “Signature 100” Roadster to raise money for a nonprofit that uses satellites to monitor the tense border between South Sudan and Sudan for war crimes and US Peace Institute to Fund South Sudan Research Body – ‎8 hours ago‎
By Julius N. Uma, 30 July 2012 Juba — The US Institute of Peace (USIP) is providing start-up funding and advisory support for the Sudd Institute, a new, independent policy research organization based in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.

Rebel leader dismisses Sudan aid deal as “gimmick”

Chicago Tribune –
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A Sudanese rebel leader said on Tuesday that, despite agreeing to do so, Sudan was not serious about providing humanitarian aid in insurgent-controlled areas in two border states and was putting hundreds of thousands of lives at 
Businessweek – ‎‎
By Salma El Wardany on July 31, 2012 Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir declined to meet his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, to push talks to end hostilities between the two countries, the state-run Suna news agency reported.
Chicago Tribune –
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s president has turned down an invitation from the African Union to meet South Sudan’s leader on Wednesday to move forward stalled talks to end hostilities, state news agency SUNA said on Tuesday. The neighbors came close to 
Al-Bawaba –
South Sudan and Israel signed, in the latter’s capital Tel Aviv this week, their first economic cooperation agreement which focuses on development of technology and water infrastructure. According to the Israeli dailyJerusalem Post, the deal was signed 
Voice of America – ‎
Thousands gathered at John Garang Mausoleum in the South Sudan capital of Juba to celebrate the country’s seventh annual Martyrs’ Day. The event is held each year to remember the sacrifices made by the two million people who died during the 21-year 
Al-Arabiya – ‎Jul 30, 2012‎
About 200000 refugees have fled from a worsening humanitarian situation in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since fighting between government and rebel forces began in June last year. (Reuters) By AFP Sudanese aerial bombing killed three civilians 
Deutsche Welle – ‎Jul 30, 2012‎
Sudan and South Sudan have until August 2 to resolve their differences over oil, border disputes and the status of the contested Abyei region. The negotiations have been marked by disagreement as border clashes continue. Most experts believe that the 
AngolaPress – ‎Jul 30, 2012‎
NEW YORK – The United States is leading international warnings to Sudan and South Sudan to step up efforts to reach a peace accord this week or face possible UN sanctions. The UN Security Council has given the rival neighbors, who this year came close – ‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 31 (UPI) — Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declined to meet with South Sudan leader Salva Kiir Tuesday in a bid to try to resolve differences between the two countries. The planned summit Tuesday between Bashir and Kiir was – ‎
Khartoum — Sudanese negotiating delegation to the political talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) accused the rebel group of hampering the process by seeking to include issues not related to the agenda.


Posted: July 31, 2012 by Tears Ayuen in Poems., Tearz Ayuen

Aluel is a bright pupil

She is in her eighth grade

She has been at the top of her class since nursery school

She works out her school assignments perfectly

She likes science and social studies

She says she would like to be a radiologist in the future

Aluel is so disciplined

She never reports to school late

She has never missed out a single lesson

She respects both her teachers and fellow pupils alike

Aluel is a class prefect

She is a true role model

She dresses up smartly

Her uniforms are ever clean

She hardly quarrels

She talks to everyone nicely

Aluel is an orphan

Her father died in mysterious circumstances

Only the government knows

Her mother lost her life to malaria a couple of years ago

She has two younger siblings, both boys

Aluel stays at her uncle’s place

Her uncle’s family just moved to the city

She remains behind to take care of her blind grandmother

She cooks, she cleans,

She fetches water

She goes to the market

Aluel is so attractive

Her skin is so dark and shiny

Her physique, her eyes and her teeth are beyond description

Her smile is photic,

It could light up a dark room

In short, she is the younger version of Rachez Angeth or Ajoh Chol

Aluel looks older than her age

She is kind of growing up in a rush

Her bosom is no longer normal,

Two strange dome-shaped objects are,

Popping out on her once bare chest

And they seem to be developing hour after hour

They are now at a ‘grabable’ size

Aluel’s Science teacher is behaving strange lately

He ogles her

He chats her up

He has even ceased to call Aluel by her name

He calls her ‘pion-pac’

Aluel is a child,

She lacks worldly experiences

Her teacher asks her to remain behind after school,

For a one-on-one important lesson

Aluel obeys

They sit at the corner of the room

A few minutes elapse,

The teacher introduces a different topic

He pulls down her bloomers,

Positions her on the desk,

And forces some hard thing between her legs

Aluel is in trouble

The pain is so unbearable

She lets out a deafening cry

Unfortunately, no one hears that,

She cries and begs him to stop it but he can’t

Aluel faints

She gains consciousness hours later

She can’t feel her waist, it’s numb

But she manages to limp home

Aluel is absent from school today for the first time

But there is a problem at her class

Her classmates can’t use their desks

They say it is hard to tell what exactly happened

But it looks like some sheep or,

Chicken got slaughtered on the desk

The teacher insists that it is just a red ink and,

Orders them to clean it up


Aluel is back to school, after a week

The teacher no longer smiles at her

He is moody

He browbeats her

Aluel gets confused

She can’t understand why

She endures nevertheless

Aluel gets into trouble with her teacher

She reportedly failed a science test

Along with her three friends,

The teacher parades them before the class

With an ‘uncle black’, he whacks them in the bums

Aluel can’t sit down, so are her friends

Coz the fall of the whip has done them much harm

The sight of their blood-stained uniforms,

Around the behinds tells it all

Aluel and friends are taken to the hospital,

To have their buts stitched

Aluel is at home, under a tree on a Saturday afternoon,

Doing revision

A neighbor, a married man with children comes by

He says he was good at math in school,

And he can show her some formulae

Aluel welcomes him

He is smelling alcohol though

A few minutes elapse, he says he is thirsty and,

Asks Aluel to go get water from the house

He gets up and follows her

Aluel screams

Neighbors, mostly women, storm the compound,

To see what’s going on

They learn of the crime

Authorities are informed

The man is beaten and dragged to the police station

Aluel is taken to the hospital

Aluel is at the hospital, seated on a bench,

Waiting for her turn to see a gynecologist

Her turn comes

She walks in

For the doc to practice his field,

Aluel must undress

After an hour of persuasion, she undresses

But Aluel’s body is tempting and irresistible

What a gynecologist!

Aluel is in the hand of the authorities

Since there is no special center for housing the abused,

Aluel is at a police commissioner’s home

His wives and children live in foreign cities

Foreign House helps do the cooking and cleaning

He is a ‘nice’ dude though

He clothes Aluel

He makes sure Aluel eats good food

Apparently, he shares his room with her

Aluel is sitting her final exams,

Commonly known as Certificate of Primary Education

After every paper,

She walks out of the exam room smiling

Aluel is unwell

She vomits, she shivers every morning

She notices that her abdomen is growing,

Her flat belly is losing flatness

It is showing

It’s taking shape, D-shape

Martrys’ Day: William Deng Nhial

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People

Nhial Deng Nhial: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lieutenant General Nhial Deng Nhial is a South Sudanese politician and leading member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). He was appointed the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the newly independent Republic of South Sudan on August 26th, 2011 after having served as the caretaker Minister of Defense since July 10th, 2011.[1] Prior to that he served as the South Sudanese Minister of SPLA and Veteran Affairs, from December 22nd, 2008 until July 9th, 2011.[2]


Nhial Deng is a Dinka from the Bahr el Ghazal region of Southern Sudan. He is the son of the famous late leader William Deng Nhial who was assassinated before the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed between Sudan and South Sudan in Ethiopia, in 1972. William Deng Nhial was as thoughtful as John Garang was. His son Nhial Deng Nhial did not join the movement as a member of an average Southern Sudanese family, he came from a home of a politician and was familiar with the grief of losing his father when he was young. As a Dinka tribesman he is a man of honor and he has committed his life to the liberation of South Sudan as a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Nhial joined the SPLA right after its inception in 1983. He was closely associated with the drafting and negotiation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan, which was signed in NaivashaKenya, in January 2005.


Nhial Deng Nhial completed his early education at the Comboni College in KhartoumSudan. He then entered the University of Khartoum to study law. He graduated in the early 1980s with the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and earned a Doctor of Laws is a doctoral degree in law(JD) degree from the University of Dundee in the UK in 2008. He is fluent in both English and Arabic. There are South Sudanese media reports, yet unconfirmed, that following the conclusion of the Naivasha Agreement, Nhial Deng Nhial was slated to become the Sudanese Foreign Minister in the Government of National Unity. However following the death of Dr. John Garang in a plane crash in July 2005, Mr. Nhial refused entreaties to serve in Khartoum and opted to work in the nascent Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).

Role in the government of Southern Sudan

Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Minister of Regional Affairs in the Southern Sudanese cabinet in 2005 by President Salva Kiir. He however abruptly resigned from the cabinet less that six month later. There has been speculation as to what led to that resignation, with no clear reason being fronted.

In 2004 when rumors soared across Southern Sudan that John Garang was planning to dismiss Salva Kiir as his deputy and replace him with Nhial Deng Nhial. However, at a meeting of SPLA top brass held in Rumbek, in December 2004, one month before the signing of the CPA, Dr. Garang made it clear that those speculations were just that; only speculations, without any basis for truth.

In December 2008, Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Minister of SPLA and Veterans Affairs by the then President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, replacing General Dominic Dim Deng who died in a plane crash on the 2nd May 2008. He returned to the South Sudanese cabinet with the military rank of Lieutenant General in the SPLA.[3] Following the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, Nhial Deng Nhial was appointed Caretaker Minister of Defense of the Republic of South Sudan. On August 26th, 2011, President Salva Kiir Mayardit unveiled his long-awaited cabinet with Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan.

He is a member of the SPLM’s highest organ, the Political Bureau, and served as the leader of the SPLM delegation in Naivasha peace talks. [4]

Short Biography

William Deng Nhial is widely recognized as one of the greatest Sudanese leaders who wanted to contribute in building the “United States of Sudan,”  and sowed the seeds that brought the CPA now being richly harvested by the SPLM/A.  He gave his life just like Dr. John Garang de Mabior so that the problem of the majority indigenous African tribes in Sudan is known by the enlightened world. Our father; William Deng Nhial was assassinated  in a most painful manner in the Chueibet County in a place now known as William Bridge while on promoting his vision during the general elections in 1968.

This year the anniversary of William Deng Nhial’s death falls on the 5th of May 2010 after the April’s 2010 general elections. He gave his life during the elections of 1968 so that our African’s problems with those who call themselves Arab in Sudan is known. His assassination along with members of his peace mission team occurred during the reins of Gamal Abdelnasir of Egypt and Prime Minister Mohammed Ahmed Mahgoub of Sudan..
HMC invites you to pray with them on that date at Martyr William Deng Nhial’s clinic in Kalakla al Dikheinat (Kadisia) in the Jebel Aulia province, 22 kilometers from the tri-city capital Khartoum on Kosti /Khartoum tarmac road. We shall take advantage of this occasion to examine what makes Mr. William Deng Nhial’s work so important to every Sudanese regardless of his or her indigenous background.

When was SANU born?

Sudan African National Union (SANU) was born in the late fifties as the Sudan African Closed Districts National Union (SACDNU). In the middle of 1960s, it changed its name to Sudan African National Union (SANU) for the following reasons:

  1. To shorten the long abbreviation without losing its political Vision, Mission and commitment to African values.
  2. To bring it in line with the East and Central African Political Parties like KANU, ZANU, and TANU etc., and which all share the objective of African Unity..
  3. To advocate the Pan-African Movement for the total unification of the African people in Sudan.

A National Hero

William Deng Nhial believed in the need for free, fair, and transparent elections. He believed that the promotion of Democratic Socialism will solve the problems of social instability, economic development, the irresponsible use of resource revenues that should be earmarked for the development of the Sudanese people, especially the indigenous majority African tribes in Sudan.  SANU would like to see that this April election are peaceful and free and that they bring African leaders that will form a responsible government both in the Khartoum and in the African states in the west, east , south and the north and a leadership that will use our God has given resources wisely and responsibly.
SANU views fellow Africans in the western and Eastern Sudan as our partners because we African Sudanese have very serious and well-known challenges emanating from the racist Arab tribes in Sudan. We must therefore join hands with the peace loving world to confront Arabs’ colonialism which started immediately after independence in 1956.
SANU is confident that Africa and Africans leaders will rise to meet, understand and overcome these challenges faced by the indigenous African tribes in Sudan after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
We in SANU believe in the Sudanese indigenous Africa’s potential and what the future promises. SANU remains committed to the Sudanese indigenous African’s future. SANU will be strong partners with the African people to build the “United States of Africa” and Southern Sudan is the nuclei” for this alliance. Together we can work for the black Africans’ destiny in Africa and help uproot Arabs colonialism in Sudan by 2011, and treat with equality those who call themselves with respect as their fellow human being created by the same God of Abraham.

Mission of SANU under William Deng Nhial

Liberation of the indigenous African marginalized tribes in Sudan, and promoting justice and harmonious relationships between African and Arab tribes in Sudan was at the core of the message from SANU and our late leader William Deng Nhial.
By organizing and educating the marginalized indigenous African tribes and making them aware of the importance of justice in their lives and in their communities, so that they participate in liberating themselves and the minority Arab tribes in Sudan from hatred and revenge.
Working with the people organize the indigenous African tribes to liberate themselves from hunger and poverty, and participate with them in liberating themselves from disease, sickness and pain; SANU will work in partnership with the African people; grassroots farmers, herders and fisher folks to organize medical projects like hospitals and clinics which provide curative medical services for the sick. SANU will also encourage the empowerment of the African tribes by helping themselves and instructing themselves in ways of preventing sickness..
Under William Deng Nhial’s leaderships, Sudan African National Union (SANU) initiated and laid down the seeds of political partnership in the liberation struggle of the indigenous African Sudanese people of Nuba, Fur, Beja, Nubia, Ingesenia and other parts of northern Sudan including the black African Danagala, Shagia and Jaalin who are being excluded because they are considered slaves because of their black skin.
The light skinned (mixed blood) who calls themselves Arabs still consider themselves Sudanese and the indigenous black people Junubin and others with similar skin shades are their slaves and must be controlled by them. They initiated systematic programs using Arab tradition and culture to exclude dark-skinned African Sudanese by giving themselves the rights to marry and enslave the black African girls with the aim of purifying the black skin, while preventing their girls from marrying the indigenous black African men, by claiming their “Allah” has given them all the rights to enslave African Sudanese in Sudan and beyond using Islam, and eventually remove the black skin so that everyone is an Arab in Sudan.
This Arab program started when they were handed power in 1956 by the colonial powers Britain and Egypt. This chocolate skin who calls themselves Arab automatically assumed a neo-colonial power over the Black Sudanese indigenous African tribes of Sudan.
When the neo-Arab colonial power after independent in 1956 saw that the Nuba, Ingessina and indigenous African tribes in other parts of northern Sudan are politically getting awakened and organized by SANU to stand up for their social, economic and political rights, the neo-colonial power under Ishmael al Azhari decided that Mr. William Deng Nhial, the leader of SANU, was too dangerous to be allowed to live. Thus, in 1968 they assassinated him in the Chueibet County in a place now known as William Bridge.
But Mr. William Deng Nhial has sown the seeds of political cooperation which are not being richly harvested by the SPLM/A.

The original leaders of SANU

It is good to know the original leaders of SANU and this include Mr. Aggrey Jaden, Mr. Joseph Oduho, Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Mr. William Deng Nhial, Mr. Ali Gbattala and others.

South Sudan’s Kiir downplays coup plot claims

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Junub Sudan

On Saturday last week rumours of failed military coup attempt in Juba sent out chilling panic in the town and became the talks of people in the streets. It was said that the loyalists of late SPLM leader, John Garang, sometimes known as the ‘Garang’s Boys’ who are high-ranking officers in the army, were plotting to capture power from Kiir by military coup. It was also specifically rumoured that the deputy commander of the Military Intelligence (MI), Major General Mac Paul, from Bor community, was arrested with 15 other officers the following day and were taken to Yie military prison. On Sunday, and accused of actively participating in the plot.,43408

First Military Coup Attempt On Salvar Kirr
By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Monday, July 30  2012

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Monday sought to dispel a widespread allegation of a leaked coup d’état plot against his government.

Addressing a rally to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day in Juba, President Kiir said the allegations were coined by individuals intent on promoting instability.

The President called on the public to ignore the claims.

It is the second time in less than four months that Juba had become tense over suspicion of a coup plot.

In April, while President Kiir was on a visit to China, Juba went wild that individuals within the government had connived with a few others in the army to overthrow the democratically elected young government.

President Kiir’s trip was scheduled to last for about a week, but he cut it short due to “domestic issues”.

Although officials later said it wasn’t connected to the coup allegations, no reported arrests were made.

President Kiir also said his country, which relied 98 per cent on revenues from oil, would not collapse due to the shutdown in oil production.

He said the South Sudan negotiating team was still discussing with Khartoum delegation in Addis Ababa under the African Union mediation on the outstanding issues that include oil transit fees, border demarcation and the status of the disputed Abyei region.

President Kiir also directed criticism to the main opposition party and some officials from within the government of trying to cause instability by promoting fighting.

The Martyrs’ Day, coinciding with the death of late Dr John Garang in a tragic plane crash in 2005, is marked to honour South Sudan’s fallen heroes and heroines in the struggle for independence.

Dr Garang died just three weeks as Sudan’s First Vice-President and six months after signing a peace agreement that later resulted in independence of South Sudan in July last year.

South Sudan army denies the arrest of top military officers is linked to the attempted coup

August 1, 2012 (JUBA) – A top-level military officer on Tuesday denied reports alleging the arrests of senior military officers in the South Sudanese army (SPLA), including the deputy chief of military intelligence, Mac Paul, relate to an attempted coup.

JPEG - 22 kb
SPLA soldiers at the commemoration of the Martyrs Day in Juba on 31 July 2012 (Photo Larco Lomayat)

“The mission of SPLA as national army is clearly defined in the onstitution. We are a national army with no political allegiance and activities. Our constitutional responsibility is simply to uphold democratic values and defend our country”, said James Hoth Mai, Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

“We have nothing to do with politics and political claims,” he further told Sudan Tribuneon Tuesday.

Hoth was reacting to news reports quoting anonymous security sources alleging an attempted coup by senior government officials intending to topple the country’s leadership under president Salva Kiir. An allegation Kiir publicly dismissed on Monday.

SPLA military sources say Paul and fellow senior SPLA member, Marial Nuor, both of whom are now in detention, “have long been controversial figures. Their names have always appeared in illegal detention and torture of their opponents,” it was claimed.

Hoth denied to Sudan Tribune the arrest and the foiled military coup.

“I am not aware of the arrest. These are just wishful thinking of enemies of peace and stability of South Sudan”. As for president Kiir, he was reacting to increasing and quickly spreading rumours of the alleged failed coup attempt, he added.

He described the reports as reminiscent of the “Sudanese media that report lies and allegations without verifying authenticity of the information they receive”.

In his speech last Monday at the celebration of Martyr Day in Juba, Hoth reaffirmed the neutrality of the South Sudanese army to any political activities and leadership and said it is the only constitutionally recognised national army tasked with the duty to defend the country with impartiality

“I want to assure our government and the people of the Republic of South Sudan that, as the SPLA strives to become a professional and accountable military, it is fully committed to the principles of democracy which ensures that it is a non-political and non-partisan military which is subordinate to the civil institutions of the Republic of South Sudan, Hoth said.

The top military officers also assured the public of the readiness of the army to contribute to the building of the new nation in providing adequate security and safety.

He accused the army of neigbouring Sudan, with which they have clashed in several places months prior to a widely condemned clash in the oil producing area of Panthou, aka Heglig, of having killed innocent civilians through air raids and surprised ground incursions in the recent past.

Major General Andrea Dominic, who commands fifth division of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Western Bahr el Ghazal State, equally, in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, abhorred attacks by the Sudanese armed forces and affirmed commitment of the country’s army to defend the territorial integrity of the new nation.,43428

The Martyrs’ Talk from the Graves: What are they saying?

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

July 9th 2011 is only six months away, and it is when South Sudan will raise it yellowish flag as it becomes youngest nation on the continent of Africa. What began sixty one years ago has become promising to South Sudanese who are witnessing history unfolding in their eyes. To many, it still seems like an exciting dream in the middle of the night which ends every moment one opens their eyes. To others, this is a day that they never thought would happen in their livestime.So I wonder, what our brothers and sisters, the generation Deng Nhial, Ajang Duot, Leek Deng Malual, Ngundeng, and many others are saying in their graves. What is Deng Nhial saying? Is he saying my premature death was not in vain? Is he saying good job my children and grandchildren; you will never die by proxy? Surely, there must be some kind of celebration or debate going on in the afterlife. How can we hear Deng Nhial Message? How about prophet Ngundeng? What is he saying? What is a Deng Nhial generation telling the new arrivals of Nyuon Beny, Kuanyin Bol, Nyanchingak, Majier Gai, Arok Thon Arok, and the top general Dr. Garang De Mabior? How will we ever know what these people are telling us?Hypothetically, this sounds like a fairy tale right? No, I don’t think so…. The answer is with us. When Deng Nhial went to the bush, he was tired of exclusion. He did not want to be a second class citizen. When Ngundeng prophesized one hundred years ago, he foresaw what to come and he believed that one day his people will be freed from the bondage of humiliation. So what is the message that these forefathers are telling us?

Perhaps, they are saying, “we started the journey and you finished it. We have shown you the road and you traveled it. We lid the fire, and you kept it alive. We started with Anya Nya I and Anya Nya II finished the job.” It sounds to me that the narrative is it was a joint effort of the dead and the livings.

To this I say, yes, indeed it was a joint effort and thanks you for starting it. Thank you for showing us the road to travel. Thank you Anya Nya I for starting and Thank you SPLM/A for finishing the job.
With these words, I say, the hard work begins. The work to build a sustainable South Sudan has begun and it will require children, women, and men, young and old to transcend individual averageness. It will require our excellence, steadfastness, hospitality, resilience, creativity, endurance, and strong leadership. We all know our aspiration and hopes are so high. To achieve them, we each needs to chip in whatever each of us thinks to build us up and not tearing us apart. It’s a better tomorrow that killed a Deng Nhial generation, and it is unquestionably what took the lives of our two millions beloved citizens including Dr. Garang De Mabior.

So wherever you might this February 7th 2011 when the referendum results were announced, you heard the call of Deng Nhial, you heard the Nyanchingak call from the top of mountain Boma, you heard Nyuon Beny summon to action, you heard the Kuanyin Bol call to action, you heard Majier Gai intellect calling young men and women to educate themselves, you heard Ngundeng prophesying the future, you heard Arok Thon wit call to invigorate our creativity, you heard Ajang Duot and Leek Deng Malual leadership-ability summoning us to transcend tribalism and clanism, and you definitely heard Dr. Garang visionary call to look into the future of South Sudan.

The Martyrs’ Day: Hon. Gordon Mourtat Mayen Mabok in Rumbek

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People

Burial of Veteran Politician Hon. Gordon Mourtat Mayen Mabok in Rumbek PDF Print E-mail
[Juba, South Sudan] – By James Morgan The First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit left Juba yesterday morning on April 18th 2008 to Rumbek to attend the burial of the Southern Sudanese veteran Politician, Hon. Gordon Muortat Mayen Maborjok, who passed away in Rumbek on Saturday 12th April 2008.


Late Gordon Muortat was laid to rest at Rumbek Freedom Square, attended by thousands of citizens who had come to pay their last respects to a man who was remembered by many as a freedom fighter and struggler for the rights of the people of Southern Sudan. In his biography, late Hon. Gordon Muortat was once the President of the Nile Provisional Government in Anya-nya Movement. When the Addis-Ababa Agreement of 1972 was signed, late Hon. Gordon Muortat did not agree with the contents and terms of the agreement, calling it a sell out, and as he did predict the Addis-Ababa agreement did not live long but collapsed.

Late Gordon remained in exile since then until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005. However, in 1996 the late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior appointed Hon. Gordon Muortat as his advisor, a position he held until nominated to being an MP to the Southern Sudan Legislature Assembly (SSLA) following the formation of the GOSS.

In 1965, during the Round Table Conference between the south and north, late Hon. Gordon is remembered for demanding that the south be given the Right to Self Determination. Though it was not granted at the time, but in 2005 his dream became a reality, the south now has achieved what Hon. Gordon was asking for around 40 years later.

In his address to the mourning citizens of Rumbek, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit reminded them of the selfless leader, who spent all his life struggling for the cause of the people. Stating that it is now up to us the present generation to transform Hon. Gordon’s dreams into a reality, after achieving the CPA where the right to Self Determination for the people of Southern Sudan is enshrined.

President Kiir declared 3 days for the state mourning and all the flags in Lakes State fly at half mask. Speaking during the occasion were: Hon. Abel Alier former Vice President of the Republic and President of the defunct High Executive Council for Southern Sudan,
Isaiah Kulang Mabor, Madam Rabecca de Mabior, Andrew Makur Thou, Bona Malual, Clement Wani Konga and Daniel Awet Akot Governor, Lakes State.

All remembered the late as the man who has the south in his heart until his untimely death. Late Hon. Gordon Muortat is survived by ten children and a number of grandchildren. After the state burial the First Vice President of the Republic and President Government of Southern Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit returned to Juba. He was accompanied by a number of advisors, and GoSS Ministers.





On behalf of SPLM UK and Ireland Chapter and the family, relatives and friends of Late Gordon Mayen Muortat, the Southern Sudanese Community in the UK and Ireland are profoundly distraught by the untimely death of their father, uncle and elder statesman who has been a source of comfort and an exemplary leader who possess not only wisdom and knowledge, but provided strategic direction, inspiration and encouragement to the many Southern Sudanese Community at any of their functions social/political gatherings in the UK.

Late Gordon Muortat is first and foremost known by Southern Sudanese Community as an Anyanya hero who has inspired many and greatly contributed to the liberation struggle of the people of Southern Sudan and for dedicating all his entire life for their cause. His well attended speeches at many Southern Sudanese occasions in London and other parts of the UK will live in their minds and hearts for years on end. He will sorely be missed by the Southern Sudanese Community in the UK whom he loves so much and who love him to bits.

I would therefore be very grateful if you could publish this information on your well established websites for all to see and share his fantastic achievements that we are all proud of and reaping today.

Thank you ever so much for your help and cooperation for sharing this valuable information with your readership worldwide.

Yours Sincerely

Lukano James Omunson
Secretary for Information
SPLM UK and Ireland Chapter

London, UK


Muortat Mayen Maborjok Aciecegi Pac was born in 1922 at Karagok village 10 miles South East of Rumbek. His father was a local chief of Patiop Clan of the Agar Dinka

Muortat was educated at Akot elementary from 1936-1942. He attended Loka Nugent Junior Secondary School in Western Equatoria from 1942-1945. In 1951 he was among the first Southernern Sudanese to graduate from Sudan Police College and was commissioned to police inspector. He rose to Chief Inspector of Police.

In 1957 Gordon Muortat was transferred to the Sudan Civil Administration at the rank of Assistant District Commissioner (ADC). In 1964 following the demise of General Ibrahim Abboud military regime, G. Muortat resigned from the Civil Administration and became one of the founders of Southern Front (SF).

In 1965 he was appointed leader of the Southern Front delegation at the Round Table Conference between the North and South of Sudan. In the same year he was appointed as one of the three cabinet ministers representing Southern Front in the transitional government of Sirr El Khatim El Khalifia. He held the Portfolio of the Minster of Works & Mineral Resources.

In June 1965 he became the Vice President of the Southern Front, when it was re-organised into a Political Party. The great massacres of Juba, Wau and all over the South that were carried out by the Sudanese army in July 1965 frustrated and convinced Gordon Muortat that the Northern Arab Rulers were not interested in the peaceful resolution of the South Sudan Question.

Thus in August 1965 at the meeting of the Southern Front executive committee, he proposed that the party should be dissolved and that the entire committee should move into exile with the objective of merging with the Anyanya political and military wings. In February 1967 he left the country and joined the Anyanya national liberation movement. He was appointed a Foreign Minister in the Southern Sudan Provisional Government (SSPG).

In 1969 Gordon Muortat was elected  unanimously at a convention as a the President of the Nile Provisional Government (NPG). In 1971 he was elected President of African National Front. This organisation was superseded by Addis Ababa Agreement. Gordon Muortat became the leader of the Kinshasa Group that denounced the Addis Ababa Agreement as a sell out and fraudulent.

He continued the protest against the agreement and remained in exile moving to the UK. In 1975 he was elected President of the Anyanya Patriotic Front a liberation movement with the same aims as SSPG, NPG and the first Anyanya. He denounced a splinter group that became known as Anyanya II because they deviated from the original ideals of the APF.

In 1994 Gordon Muortat was appointed as Advisor to the SPLM/SPLA Chairman Dr. John Garang de Mabior and a member of the National Liberation Council. In 2006 onwards he became an MP in the South Sudan Legislative Council representing his constituency in Rumbek.

Muortat died while on a recess from parliament-having achieved so much in his life. He was very proud of the SPLA/M achievements especially now the road to the realisation of our freedom is within sight. He is survived by his wife Sarah Piath Ahoc, 10 children: Acol, Madong, Nyanijur, Laliwengde, Mawan, Mayen, Pac, Nyitur, Acieg and Nyier, and 24 grandchildren and 1 great grand daughter.

He will be greatly missed. May God bless his Soul in eternity

Saturnino Ohure: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturnino Ohure Hilangi, or Saturnino Lohure, (c. 1921 – 22 January 1967) was a Roman Catholic priest and a politician who played an important role in the early movement for secession of South Sudan.

Saturnino Ohure was of Lotuho origin. He was born around 1921 and baptized at Torit, now in Eastern Equatoria state, in 1931. He studied at the Okaru and Gulu seminaries, and on 21 December 1946 was ordained a priest at Gulu.[1] He and a companion were the first Lotukos to be ordained to the priesthood.[2]

In 1957 Father Saturnino and Ezboni Mondiri Gwanza, founded the Southern Sudan Federal Party (SSFP), which beat the Liberals and won forty seats in the 1958 parliamentary elections, the first after independence in 1956.[3] Saturnino ran successfully for the Torit constituency, and became a leader of the southerners in the Constituent Assembly.[1] When the SSFP spoke up in parliament for the north to consider Sudanese federation, as promised, the government arrested Mondiri and the SSFP broke up. In its place, Father Saturnino formed the Southern Block, with 25 members.[3]

The military government dissolved the assembly in November 1958. In 1961, Saturnino fled to Uganda to avoid arrest.[1] Saturnino Ohure and Joseph Oduho moved from Uganda to KinshasaZaire, where they were joined by William Deng and founded the Sudan African Closed Districts National Union (SACDNU) in 1962.[4] Saturnino was killed by a Ugandan soldier near Kitgum on 22 January 1967.[1] In January 2009 his body was exhumed from its grave in Kitgum and transported to Torit for reburial.

Fr. Saturnino Ohure

Fr. Saturnino Ohure (or Lohure – the spelling seems to vary) is a Lotuko tribal, local Torit, Catholic Church and South Sudanese national hero. His body was exhumed from its original place of burial near where he died in Kitgum, Uganda, and transported to Torit, his place of baptism, last Friday, January 30.Fr. Saturnino, along with a companion, was the first from the Lotuko tribe to be ordained to the priesthood. He is said to have been extremely intelligent and articulate, and to have glided through his studies easily. As the dissatisfaction with and resistance to unjust treatment from the North grew stronger in the South, he was called upon to put his considerable talents at the service of his people by offering political and intellectual leadership to the resistance movement. Recognizing the unique circumstances of the situation, the Holy See gave Fr. Saturnino permission to take on this role. He continued as a priest, however, and is reported by a Comboni missionary who knew him to have celebrated Mass devoutly every day. When he was warned that his life was threatened, he fled to Uganda in 1967, where he was killed and buried.

The following brief biography of Fr. Saturnino is taken from the online Dictionary of Afrcian Christian Biography:

Saturnino Ohure
c. 1938 to 1967
The first Lotuho priest, Saturnino Ohure was born of Xillange and Ixonom about 1921 and was baptized at Torit in 1931. Soon he asked to enter Okaru Seminary, whence he passed to Gulu in 1938. On December 21, 1946 he was ordained a priest with Fr. Avellino Wani at Gulu. Some years later he was given responsibilities with the same Father at Lirya mission until 1955, when the existing Sudanese priests were transferred to the new vicariate of Rumbek under Bishop Irenaeus Dud. At the first general elections he stood for Torit and was elected. He soon became a leader of Southern MPs in the Constituent Assembly. When the Assembly was dissolved by the military government in November 1958, Fr. Saturnino retired to Yei and Porkele. In 1961, informed of his imminent arrest he fled to Uganda together with other ex-parlamentarians where he helped and counselled Sudanese refugees. In one of his travels in this connection he was killed by a Ugandan soldier near Kitgum on January 22, 1967. He was a distinguished priest, and an unselfish, prudent, and courageous leader.

V. Dellagiacoma
This article, received in 2005, is reprinted with permission from Sudanese Catholic Clergy, © copyright 1997 by Fr. V. Dellagiacoma (Provincial Comboni House, Khartoum, Sudan).

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which currently governs South Sudan, initiated the effort to return Fr. Saturnino’sbody to its native soil. Working with the Church, with whom they share this hero, plans were finally completed. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, the large square in front of the secretariat for the government of Eastern Equatoria State, had already been named in honor of Fr. Saturnino. Since then a monument has been constructed to house his remains. The ceremony was originally scheduled for January 22, but had to be postponed to allow for additional time to make arrangements for the transfer and reception of the body.

The celebration ignited and energized the population of Torit more than anything I have seen since my arrival. There was a welling up and gushing forth of the purest pride and most honorable enthusiasm a group can feel toward one of their own who has personified their highest aspirations and noblest ideals.The life and witness of Fr. Saturnino, who was my age when he died, is also very inspiring to me personally. He offers an example of untarnished and selfless integrity as a man, a priest and as a political leader, and so can without hesitation be held up as a hero and role model for the people, priests and politicians of Southern Sudan – especially at this crucial moment in its history.

The day began by welcoming the body and escort of Fr. Saturnino at the Torit airstrip. He was accompanied by Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, Uganda, the diocese in which Fr. Saturnino was buried, and the pastor of the parish in Kitgum, where he died. Fr. Joseph Aruma, a young Lotuko priest of the diocese of Torit, also accompanied the body. A large number of clergy, religious and laity from the local church were present, as was a large delegation from the local and regional governments and many others who turned out to witness the event.

The casket with Fr. Saturnino’s remains was loaded from the plane onto a pickup truck which processed through the streets of Torit at the head of a long motorcade and hundreds of people on foot. The procession finally arrived at the site of the ruins of the local parish church.

Those present overflowed the roofed shelter of the parish and spilled out onto the surrounding property. Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek was the principal celebrant and preacher at the memorial Mass which followed, accompanied by songs in Lotuko and tribal dancers in traditional dress. To say that the celebration was “colorful” falls far short of the mark; “phosphorescent” or “electric” does a little better; but “bursting at the seams with life” is probably about as close as I can get to accurately describing the mood.

At the end of Mass Archbishop Odama spoke in a way that deeply touched and moved those who were present. He knelt before the congregation and asked forgiveness for the fact that Fr. Saturnino had been killed on Ugandan soil at the hands of Ugandan soldiers. He said that the boundaries which had been drawn by the imperialist powers that colonized Africa created artificial divisions between those who were members of the same family. He said it was like having a family home cut in half, with the kitchen on one side of the border and the bedrooms on another. He underscored the spiritual and cultural unity that exists between the people of both dioceses. Afterward, Bishop Akio embraced and thanked Archbishop Odama for all the kindness he has shown to the Diocese of Torit over the years, especially during the war. Their friendship and affection for one another was evident and sincere, and a great witness to humility and love among leaders of the Church.

After Mass the body of Fr. Saturnino was again carried in procession to the monument which had been prepared to receive him. There the Rite of Christian Burial was celebrated as a densely packed crowd joined in prayer. The ceremony was concluded poignantly by the placing of flowers on the tomb by Fr. Saturnino’s surviving younger brother.

As a postscript, yesterday when I walked into town to do my Holy Hour in the bishop’s chapel, I was surprised to find the casket of Fr. Saturnino. His body is being kept there until work on the monument is completed. It offered me an additional opportunity to reflect on the life of this extraordinary Sudanese priest in the presence of the Lord whom he loved and served.


By Hon. Maker Lual Kuol, Former Commissioner of Bor County

Martin Majiermajier

Almighty God help me to say the truth nothing but the whole truth about a man whose words and deeds in life were all the truth nothing but the truth. 


Dear wife Kuei Bill Lual; 

On the 23rd December 1973, a great man stood behind us as a relative, brother in law and a friend to witness our matrimonial ceremony at the Anglican Church in Wau. Approximately twenty years later, that great man was no longer there. In his memory, I still remember your encouraging and soothing words when I first broke the news of his disappearance and ultimate death to you in a whisper at our shelter at Lobone displaced camp (He died for the cause of his people) May this little contribution of mine be a way for better and bigger contribution from relatives, friends and well wishers of the great veteran politician by which hopefully a nation devoid of treachery and jealousy is founded in Southern Sudan; where all people shall be equal citizens and the first among equals be on the basis and merits of sacrifices and self denial not on basis of debasing selves, flattery and hypocrisy.


In mourning or announcing a death in Sudan and Africa in general, a dead is related to his important kin and kith and according to that trend, Martin obituary would have been announced as follows: (late Martin was a father in law to commander elTahir Bior Lueth, former secretary of commerce in SPLM, cousin in law to commander Kuol Manyang Juuk; former secretary for finance, commerce and production; Cousin to both commander Wal Athieu Madol former deputy chief of staff for administration and commander Ayuen Alier Jongroor; former commander of SPLA general HQS and uncle to Lt. Colonel Erjok Bullen Geu; signal commander in the office of the commander in chief of SPLA. Late Martin was therefore a relative of big five and other highly respected fears and staunch pillars of SPLA/M. But the announcement did not go that way and may be distancing self spared skins and other valuables.

This incomplete profile of the veteran lawyer and statesman Martin Majier is an interlude and a preface for a better and a comprehensive one from many of his relatives, friends, colleagues, supporters, sympathizers and well wishers who may have a heart to contribute towards his remembrance and commemoration… I am just therefore, preparing the way to the capable and efficient in that respect…Martin personality prompted me for such a hasty action. I wish the human values which were in him could be easily passed to the generation to come, otherwise honesty which was the corner stone of his fame could have been passed specially at this moment where moral corruption has been institutionalized though not documented.

Martin Majier


Martin Majier Gai Ayuel was born to a well to do family in Bor district in 1940. Gai Ayuel, Martin father was the chief of his lineage Piol of Palek clan till his death in 1970. Gai inherited the chieftainship of his lineage from his father Ayuel Yuot as it is the tradition in many areas of Sudan and Africa. Martin’s Mother, Late Agok Jongroor hailed from Koc, a sub clan of Juorkoc in Makuac Payam. Nyankuek Lukuac Ajuong, Martin’s maternal grandmother, hailed from Guala, 2 a subclan of Juorhol in Kolnyang payam. Martin therefore was biological a blood of Juor Palek, Juor Koc, and Juorhol that constitute Bor South constituency, the one late Martin represented to the regional assembly in Juba for three consecutive terms till eruption of hostilities in Sudan for the third time since Sudan independence in 1956.


Martin started his education at Anyidi Bush School in 1950 and later moved to Malek primary school where he completed his primary education. In 1954, he was accepted at Atar intermediate school where he proceeded to Rumbek secondary school in 1958 after passing the intermediate examination. In 1962, late Martin joined the University of Khartoum where he graduated with LLB in law in 1967. His academic performance was exceptionally excellent. His school certificate could allow him to join any faculty in the university. Most surprisingly, Martin sat for the Sudan school certificate while on the run from security agents during a strike staged by the students at the time.

Worth mentioning, in 1963 a competition was held world wide among university students by an American firm. The topic for the competition was about how best the peace could be maintained in Africa and late Martin achieved the first position among the competitors and was invited to visit Washington DC.


Martin was among the few educated youth in the area who used to combine between the rural life and the urban life activities. He had his lower fore teeth removed and got initiated to manhood at sixteen as it is the tradition with Dinka and other African communities. Martin was fond of wrestling; a Dinka Bor favorite sport, dancing and hunting; all activities he used to practice during schools annual vacations. While at cattle camps during the vacations, Martin never forgot about reading. He used to arrange his books in a box in such a way that would make it easy for his illiterate mother to pick them for him whenever he wanted at one at the cattle camp. Those social activities earned him popularity among peers, colleagues and the community as large.

A Student Activist

Martin enrolment into school coincided with vivid political changes in the country when the condominium rule was about to depart from Sudan. In 1956, Sudan obtained her independence from the condominium rule. Southern Sudanese on the other hand were struggling for special status for the South, a demand rejected by the North. The North Arabs did not only object to the demand for a federal status for the South but conspired in handing over the power to the military junta of general Abbud on 17th November 1958 in order to cuff the mouths of ever rebellious Southern Sudanese as Torit revolt of 1955 set a precedent for that. That conduct of the North created a favourable political environment for young men like Martin to get engaged and involved in politics at that tender age. His role as a student activists reached the peak at Rumbek secondary school and at the University of Khartoum. During the Annual celebration of 17th November Revolution in 1961, Rumbek primary school was force to act a play whereby a Southern Sudanese was depicted malnourished and being assisted with food by a Northern Sudanese. That show angered the South Sudanese and Rumbek secondary school being the leading educational institution in the South at the time, took the lead in the protest and opposition by staging a strike in 1961 and 1962. As staunch member of the student union, Martin kept on instigating and sensitizing the student to continue the struggle…Despite the incessant haunting and harassment by the security agents, Martin never gave in till the approach of the Sudan School Certificate examination in 1962, the ones he highly passed. At the University, Martin augmented his political activities. On the 21st October 1964, he was among several students who clashed with the security forces at the University barracks till ones of their colleagues fell a victim of an intended bullet. The igniting cause for those clashes was a debate on the southern problem. Those clashes escalate to cover the whole country and consequently resulted into the fall of the military government of General Abud. The political parties which were disbanded during the military system rejuvenate and new ones sprouted. Southern Sudanese united under the banner of Southern Front and Martin was among the founders of that party. On the famous Sunday the sixth massacre of December 1964 in which Southerners were indiscriminately targeted in the three towns of Khartoum, Martin and his colleagues Southern students in the University of Khartoum played a great role in assembling their fellows southerners into the football stadiums of Khartoum and Omdurman during the chilling winter of the North as a safe guard to their lives.


Martin is survived by two wives and eleven children. He married to his first wife Akon Achiek Wai Deng in 1966 at the time he was at his final studies at the University. Akon bore him eight children (four boys and Four girls) namely, Ayuel, Nyanwal, Gai, Wai, Nyanakuek, Mac, Achol and Aluel in the respective order of their birth. His second wife; Keth Alier Mabiei Nhial, whom the late married in 1981 bore him three daughters namely: Ayen, Akuot and Agok in the order of their birth. The two wives hail from families with good name and reputation in Bor area. Martin marriage to the two widened and tightened the network of the relationship mentioned earlier in the vast constituency he represented to the regional Assembly. As the saying goes, “Behind any great man there is a good woman” Akon and Keth in that respect fitted the saying. Both women contributed effectively to Martin’s good career in administration, politic and social life. They clearly conceived the position of their husband as a judge and a politician and therefore lived to the standards and requirements of the position. Management of the little earning to suffice the large extended family was a charm they perform perfectly. Their home was filled with warm and affection.

Government Service

Upon graduation and passing of BAR; a special examination sat for by the law graduates of which its passage is a pre requisite in joining the law profession, Martin was posted to elObeid in Kordufan in 1968 as a magistrate. In 1969, he was transferred to Kaduglei where he served for one year before moved to Malakal in 1970. In 1971, Martin was transferred to Sinja Abdalla in Blue Nile province. In 1972 and after the conclusion of Addis Ababa accord, Martin was transferred to Wau as a resident magistrate. It is during his services in Bhar elGhazal where his capabilities as an efficient judge greatly shone. His role in investigating and settling the inter tribal fights positioned him high among the few prominent judges in the Sudan. His investigation and trials to cases bore both political and social dimensions. He wanted to see an end to the tribal fights and squabbles in the whole of Southern Sudan as they contribute to the backwardness of the people of the South.

Martin through out his judicial service endeavored to bring about changes into the judicial service to conform to changes in the country and the aspiration of the people. He saw that no much was appearing in the horizon despite the assumption of powers by the Sudanese themselves. And it was not easy to bend the rigid system, Martin tender in his resignation from the judiciary service in 1976. His resignation echoed loudly among his colleagues and friends in the Government circles and efforts were joined up to persuade him to withdraw the resignation and he gave in to the will of the people. He continued in judicial service till 1977 when he opted to join the political life.


Martin joined politics officially in 1977 by contesting for Bor South constituency. He won the seat unopposed for two consecutive terms and once by a landslide majority. The constituency he represented is famous for having produced many prominent figures in socio-economic, political and administrative fields in Southern Sudan in particular and Sudan in general. It is from the same constituency late Bullen Alier Bior, former minister of Animal Resources in the central government and the first representative of the constituency after its inception in 1953 emerged. Bullen was succeeded by late Elijah Ajith Mayom in representation of the constituency for two consecutive terms in 1957 and 1966 to the National assembly. Mayom, who once lead the liberal party group in the parliament, was known for his strong advocacy for a federal arrangement for the South. In 1968 Elijah was succeeded by lawyer Abel Alier former vice- president of the Republic of Sudan for eleven years and president of three Regional governments in Southern Sudan.

It is from the same constituency great clergy men such as late RT. Rev. Bishop Daniel Deng Atong one of the first consecrated African Bishops in Sudan and late pastor Nickanora Achiek Deng Ariir emerged. The constituency also produced personalities such as Gordon Apech Ayom, former member of the Senate and one of those who translated New Testament into Dinka. The constituency also produced personalities such as late chief Joseph Machiek Deng who was through out his reign as a chief a thorn in the flesh of the colonials’ masters. It is from the same constituency the first student activists, late Alier Gureec, late Philip Abuor, late Paramena Kuol Nyok and late Rueben Mac Buot hailed. The four activists were among the first students to be dismissed from Rumbek secondary school for their political activities in 1951. Despite their dismissal, the four climbed the ladder of administration in the civil service and organised forces to occupy higher positions. Alier and Kuol became managers in the telecommunication department, Abuor became a senior administrator in the local government and Rt. Lt General Ruben Mac became the first commissioner of police in Southern Region.

The constituency is also known for its great participation in promotion of African cultures and artistry by producing great singers like Ayom Thuonglual, Lou Ayuel, Wel Reec, Malual Kur Ajak and Arou Jok Macuer. In the field of sports, great wrestlers glared such as Athel Akuc, Aciek Mabil, Nyalueth Anyieth, Angeth Dengtiel, Abuy Nyiel and Mayen Ayaan and many others who entertained generations for decades. Last but not least, the constituency had produced a generation of humorists and philosophers such as Nguet, Macot Mac Awar, Mac Yuot, Kuol Chol and Agher. Above all, Bor South constituency is among the few constituencies that had never been represented by an Arab to the National Assemblies since its inception.

On wining the seat for the first time, Martin was elected deputy speaker for administration in the Regional Assemble. When general Lagu carried out reshuffle in his cabinet in 1979, Martin was given the portfolio of Legal Affairs; a position he did not hold long as he resigned when Lagu did not heed to his advice over the 1.5 million S/pounds allegation and for that he was the first South Sudanese to resign his ministerial position. When elected again unopposed in 1980, Martin was appointed for the second time to the Legal Affairs ministry under Abel Alier third regional government. During his tenure in the office, Martin achieved many successes among them the release and compensation of 240 abducted children from Aweil area by Rezegat Arabs of Southern Kordufan. On the border issue, stirred up by the Arabs North to slice off some land from the South, Martin stood firm against the Northern encroachment attempts and the issue died down. Martin was also instrumental in the condemnation of the government in inciting the Abiye Massacre of 1980.

In 1981, Numiery dismissed the Regional government and dissolved the regional assembly for having expressed their opposition to the border issue and division of the South into three regions. Following the dissolution, Southern members in both the National and Regional Assemblies formed a body known as the Solidarity of the Southern members to defend the rights of the South as well as to protest the measures taken by Numiery. Numiery in considering the body rouge and contemptuous ordered the rounding and locking up of the Solidarity members including Martin into the famous Kober Prison not to be released till the verge of 1982 general elections. Martin won the elections for the third time by a landslide majority and the last Regional government in Juba was formed under James Joseph Tambura.

Northern interference in the South affairs continued to rise. In 1983 and immediately after the revolt of battalion 105 in Bor, Pibor and Pochalla, Numiery got the pretext of dividing the South into three regions (Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bhar elGhazal) The funniest in Numiery move was also the division of the regional assembly into three assemblies by throwing members of a particular region into their region of origin and by that procedure, Martin fell into Upper Nile category. Numiery whims were nothing but naivety and jokes to Martin. He therefore decided to go into the bush to tune to the language that the Arabs understand better and that is the arm struggle.

In the Arm Struggle

Martin was among the first founders and architects of the Sudan People Liberation Movement and Army. On the formation of the movement, Martin nominated and supported John Garang for the leadership of the Movement; a suggestion opposed by the group of Akuot Atem, Samuel Gai Tut and Abdalla Chuol. Success of Garang to assume the leadership of the movement resulted into the first crack in the struggle and into the formation of an opposed organisation; the Anyanya Two Movement. Martin participated actively in the organization of the SPLM/A as well as travelling abroad to rally support for the Movement both politically and materially. His joining the movement together with Ateng Alier Kuany motivated and encourage the youth from their respective constituencies of Bor South and Bor Centre to rush in thousands to the training centres. Those youths were the first largest military division in the movement known as Koryom. Contingents from this division were the first to display the strength and might of the movement and its army when they inflicted the first major defeat on the elite paratroopers and commandoes of the Sudanese army on the 25th December 1984 at Pan Welabirya a long Bor-Juba road. The defeated enemy abandoned many tanks and trucks with many dead bodies scattered around.

Information from reliable source confirms that the letter which was written to people in Bor 1983 urging the youths to join the movement was forged in Martin’s name as his reputation and fame were enough to make the people believe the contents and therefore rushed in their thousands to the training centers as it actually happened. Over three Quarters of Koryom hailed from Bor South and part of Bor center Constituencies…

Majier GhaiDetention and Death

It is very unfortunate that political conspiracies started to loom around the great leader on baseless grounds that he was planning subversive and sedition activities to depose John Garang from power. In 1985, Martin was detained with other 20 implicated officers from Bor South among them were Capt Philip Ayuen Lueth 1st Lts Abraham Jok Aring, Maker Thiong Maal, Chol Gai Arou, 2nd Lts were Majok Chol Naai, Ateny Mayen Deng, Mabior Ajot and Kuai Kuei. The arrested officers were seriously tortured while undergoing interrogations and consequently, two officers; 2nd Lt. Majok Chol Naai and 2nd Lt. Ateny Mayen Deng lost their lives. The rest of the officers were later released with out trials. The same implicated officers gallantly continued the struggle till some fell martyrs for the noble cause of the people among them Capt. Mabior Ajot, Capt. Kuai Kuei and others. Mabior Ajot refused to leave the SPLA artillery behind in Kapoeta in 1992. Mabior preferred death to desertion, Kuai Kuei made name in Bhar elGhazal for his heroic activities.

Martin remained in detention till released shortly in November 1992 to be rearrested after two months of freedom. It is after that last detention he met his fate. In his last arrest, many officers, seniors as well as juniors from Bor South were once more implicated and arrested in Western and Eastern Equatoria on the usual fall charge of conspiracy to overthrow John Garang. Among the arrested officers in the second arrest were Cdrs Makuei Deng, Alier Magaardit, Majur Nhial Makol, Machar Akau, A/Cdrs Mach Paul, Ateny Mayen, Abdullah Fatah Kelei Riak, Capts. Akuak Kudum, Majok Nyieth, 1st Lt Alier Apollo, Agany Aguto, Malet Apat, Mabior Rual, Sergent Mac Thui Guut, Alier Riak Garang and Bior Anyieuei. Again following the 1992 mass arrest of officers from Bor South two officers died under torture, namely Capt Majok Nyieth and Capt Akuak Kudum, a veteran fighter of Anyanya one movement.

Martin Family as well as the public remained ignorant of Martin death till his death was disclosed during SPLM national convention at Chukudum through a demand for the release of political prisoners. The circumstance of his death and others were explained to have taken place while attempting to escape??? Martin was murdered and many other prominent members of the movement were murdered with him. The brutality applied in eliminating Martin and his colleagues political prisoners exceeded all brutalities applied in human history beginning from the guillotine execution during the French revolution to gas chambers for the Jews during the Nazis Germany.

Martin’s Personality

It is a trend and a habit of some people to cling to the powerful and the authority because they can determine the fate or destiny of people but the dead is a by gone how much great his personality and reputation were. Some people try to distance themselves from the dead lest they are sprinkled or stained with dirt…Martin therefore is a personality people can not simply deny and forget for short lived opportunities and non lasting treasuries. Martin was a personality of highest caliber. He was honest, sincere, humble, democratic, courageous and hardworking; qualities the modern world desperately scrambles for them as a thirsty for water and to corroborate my claim and each is free to judge:


Honesty is especially requisite for lawyers in particular and to all in general and Martin in that respect fitted it shoes. He distanced himself through out his life from enriching himself through his position as a judge and a politician. All what he used to have from food to clothing and furniture were simple and modest. Thanks to his two wives who lived to the position of their husband With exception of the North, Martin never departed from cultivation as it was the only way whereby he could supplement the little earnings to support the large family…Martin was not only honest in hand pocket but also in words and deeds. He was straight forward in his deal with people. Hypocrisy, flattering, backbiting and sneering were not part of his a habits and character. He was critical of corruption in high places and that was why he resigned his ministerial position during Lagu presidency of the High Executive Council when Lagu refused to clear his name from corruption allegation. That honesty earns him the title of Mr. Clean among his colleagues and those who knew him.


Martin was democratic in behaviour and approach. He believed very strongly that prevalence of democracy was the only way of maintaining peace and tranquillity in societies and systems. On the change move in Regional Government in 1977, some people were of the opinion that Numiery decreed the continuation of Abel Alier as the president of the High Executive Council such that the Addis Ababa agreement get firm as it was still fragile. Martin opposed the proponents of the idea, he argued that supposed it was Lagu or a different person who was steering the affairs in the South what would have been the position of Abel Alier supporters. His argument proved correct when Alier was ousted democratically in 1977 and brought back the same way in 1980 as president of the High Executive Council for the third time.


Martin was courageous and that was evident from his adventures as a student activists during his secondary and University studies. He was about to risk his educational future for the cause of his people. Though fourth year student are always exempted by their colleagues from joining the strike, Martin join and lead the strike in Rumbek in 1962. In 1966, Martin went for leave in his home area Bor at the time when security was tense all over Southern Sudan and the educated were particularly targeted by the Northern army. In actual fact, he went to Bor area on a secret mission to diffuse a growing tension between Anyanya rebels in Bor area and the civil population. After assisting in calming the nerves of the two parties, he proceeded with settlement of his marriage of his elder wife. 1965-70 were critical periods Southern Sudan as random and indiscriminate killing were common practices. Many South Sudanese got confined to the North during that period to avoid risking lives. Martin was the first minister to willingly resign his position in the South, an action many fear to risk in Africa. Also as a member of Solidarity group, Martin never cared of the consequences of their action. He was aware that Numiery was going to act drastically and he did by locking all the members in. Martin despite his big family responsibility marched to the bush to join the arm struggle. When released for a brief period of two months, Martin did not think of going to the big cities of Kenya and Uganda. He preferred to stay among the suffering they led to the jungle in the displaced camps.


Simplicity was another important characteristic in Martin personality. He was ever jolly and friendly with whoever came across him. He was extrovert and humble in his approach and acquaintance with people. Martin could have an open heart to a child as to elderly person. If no elderly around to chat or converse with him, Martin could create an environment by inducing a small child nearby to a heartedly conversation which he usually started with teasing and gradually developed into laughter and serious conversation. Martin was famous of teasing anybody including his seniors in the government. I doubt very much if he had not teased Numiery during their visit to Badalita in Zaire in 1980. Home games and sports were other factors that widened his scope of social life with people. When he was serving in Wau, he was once elected as chairman of Wau officials’ social clubs. He was also fond of playing court yard tennis in order to reduce his obese body for which he also used to follow the strictest dietetic measures. He could take one meal per day or sometimes skipped meals for the whole day. Despite all those dietetic measure, his body continues to bulge out. He abandoned smoking earlier and drinking was occasional.


Martin was known for his hard work. He would go to the office very early in the morning and remained there till after official working hours. He used to sit in the court sometimes seeing cases till late into the night. Accumulation of cases was a rare phenomenon in all the courts he passed through. Equally he was a hard working farmer. When he was serving in Wau, he had a piece of land at the outskirt of the town which he used to put under different crops. He used to go with all members of his family to the field at the week ends to return late in the evening. The food crops he used to produce were a supplement to his earning. While under detention in SPLA prisons at Raads and Buma, Martin engaged himself in farming and wood curving. He used to make chairs and beds for himself and his colleague’s prisoners

Unity of the Southern People

Martin was among the few Southern Sudanese who through out his life and career kept advocating for the unity of the Southern Sudanse as it was the only means the 9 enemy Arabs could be defeated. He was not tribal in his approaches, contacts and thinking. Coming back of Abel in 1980 as president of the High Executive Council was greatly attributed to his efforts. As a moderate thinker, he was able to reconcile extremists of the two parties (Abel and Lagu groups) and sort of a national government was formed in the South.

Unpleasant Characteristics

No human being is void of odd characteristics and Martin was not exceptional. One bad characteristic in him was he could be easily annoyed but despite all this, he would be the first to mend the fences as he did not like to loose friends or miss company.


Death is a natural phenomenon of which the proclivity world wide is to mention the good about the deceased. For the happier for the death of Martin, silence is the best placebo. But to utter derisive and sarcastic statements about LATE Martin Majier such as “their Mandela” is regrettable. That uttering denotes to the long imprisoned South African leader, Nelson Mandela who emerged from prison to the leadership of his country; South Africa, as the first black president of the former Apartheid regime. The sarcastic as such challenge and despise Martin relatives, friends, supporters and sympathizers that Martin is now dead, let him emerge from death to the leadership of the people of South Sudan. For the malevolent, it could be said that that comparison is irrelevant and unrealistic for the following reasons:

Firstly, Mandela got released in Nov. 1992 and Martin got rearrested in the same period and to die in detention before the election of Mandela as president of South Africa in May 1994. Secondly, there are no presidents in the bush but freedom fighters. Southern Sudanese did not take to the bush in search of leaders and rulers but they took arms in search for freedom and rights, otherwise if it was the matter of leaders and presidents, Southerners would have remained inside the country and continued sieving their nobles jackanapes and nincompoops till they arrive at a better one that could lead them…

Thirdly, when Martin was a student activist in early 60s, he never dreamt of one day of becoming a parliamentarian, a minister or a president. He was just struggling for the rights of his people without expectation of any rewards. Above all, ascending positions and descending from them is determined by luck and above all by the Almighty God. Martin could have lost his life or risked his educational future but he survived the circumstances by the help of Almighty God.

 Fourthly, Martin was a gentleman and a leader in his own right and capacity. It is South Africans who knows much about the qualities of Mandela and South Sudanese know much about the qualities of Martin Majier Gai as a leader. Mandela despite the world recognition of his personality fits to be a president in South Africa not anywhere else in the world including Southern Sudan.

 Fifthly, Mandela is not the only leader in South Africa nor is he a jack of all trades, but there are others who are or were equally respected and loved by South Africans such as former Archbishops of Johannesburg and Noble Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, George Slavo and slain student activist Steve Beko and many other among whom Mandela was just the first among equals.

It is therefore in the world of sufferers from inferiority complex and world of poor heartedness where only the high position is seen as where one can contribute towards the development of his people. But in the world of the normal any persons with the desirable human qualities is a leader at any position. William Shakespeare, the British novelist whose writings were for the transformation of the British society is more famous than many British Prime ministers, Martin Luther King, the black American civil rights activist may be more popular than many American Presidents; the German religious reformist, another Martin may be more remembered than many Germany kings and Chancellors. Similarly, Gandhi outshines many Indian presidents and Prime ministers.

On the other hand, other leaders who intrigue and crookedly climbed the ladder of the leadership of their nations to the top positions such as Hitler, Mussolini, Mobutu and Idi Ami, are remembered for their brutalities, despotism, corruption and gross human rights violation. Their children and grand children would walk in disguise in the streets and public places in Bon, Rome, Kinshasa and Kampala and if discovered would be greeted with Stones and rotten eggs. Oppositely, children and grand children of Willy Brandt, Mariano Romeo, Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Lule would be a cause of a traffic jam in the streets of Frankfort, Toronto, Lubumbashi and Jinja while being asked by admirers to initial autographs. For the sarcastic furthermore, Mandela would have not survived till present time had he been to some African or jungle prisons. Twenty eight years in prison were enough for Mandela to lose his life through concocted stories of such as having met his fate while attempting escape by trying to cross the ocean swimming from Robin Island to the mainland or simply by taking the TB which he contracted in the prison as a good pretext for his death. Though a racist regime, Apartheid bore conscience for Mandela.

Sarcasm was that Martin found a sharpened knife and exposed his neck at it. The sarcastic went as far as mentioning the name of his pop, the knife owner. He did not know he was incriminating some one on one hand and legalizing and confirming the murder on the other!!!!

The sarcastic and therefore the happier for the death of Martin had their motives behind the utterance, but what about that Martin’s relative who was scolding people for having mourned and grieved for Martin’s death “it is Martin relatives who are supposed to mourn Martin” retorted the relative of unknown motives. “If there is anybody to ask about Martin death, it is only his clan men not any body else” continued the relative to caution. What ever the motives behind the kin utterances, no body called for anything except mourning of an innocent nationalist. I think mourning is not shelves like any other thing. To Martin, many were biological and socially related not necessarily to be from his lineage or clan. If that relative could recall when he was chained up with other ten between Atepe and Pageri in 1992, when falsely accused of having connived in a conspiracy lead by Martin. At certain stage, that relative became exhausted by continuous beating and running and decided not to move anymore. Beating was then concentrated at him to force him to run but he closed up his mind. We had to persuade him to oblige as beating was never stopping. I think no anyone of similar age in the movement ever faced such a humiliating treatment. In actual fact that mass arrest of officers from South Bor in Western and Eastern bank was intended to terrorize, scare and insert fear into hearts of those officers such that they distance themselves from Martin who was alleged to be the leader of the concocted coup. Martin was disappeared and murdered afterwards when the environment was conducive and all suspected would be retaliators buried their heads in the sand. For the sarcastic and the relative of unknown motive, if we take the death of people as simple as that we are therefore setting a precedent in our history that any body with power can prescribe death at leisure and on that trend; people are to condemn the Nuremberg trials of Nazis after the Second World War or legalize the guillotine executions sets up by Robespierre and associates during the French revolution. Many, among them some relatives of Martin tried to invent stories to convince the people and to please the elites of the time that Martin was guilty and therefore deserve death. Unfortunately, he was not tried to prove his guilt. With the exception of very few, many Southerners were exposed to suffering and many thought time was running out for a name or a living and shedding dignities for a short while may help in achieving the purpose or (Aim justifies the means) as asserted by Machiavelli. Despite the oppression, many persevered and preferred to maintain their dignities than to survive on debasing selves and creating false lies and information about others to the masters of death and life.

As said history repeats it is true. During the SPLA/M struggle, some people gave themselves the right of judging others and categorizing people as ‘revolutionaries’ and ‘reactionaries’. In other words categorizing themselves as revolutionaries. Nearly forty years ago, some of the so called revolutionaries or their fathers and kin were once traitors or agents of the Regime in Khartoum. They obstructed the cause of the people of Southern Sudan. Whole clans enrolled into national guards or Haras eLwatani in Arabic to act as informers against their brothers and fellow country men for a monthly pay of two and the half Sudanese pound ($ 7.5 at that time rate) whether higher than what Judas Iscariot received for the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, no one can tell. Some of those traitors ascended high position in the movement. Instead of cleansing themselves from that great permanent shame of treachery they evolved overnight from traitors to arrogant revolutionaries legalizing the death of innocent people. As traitors they used sticks to signal out their suspects at the river queues and road blocks but as ‘revolutionaries’, they used guns and other sophisticated means to eliminate their enemies.

With regard to the conflict between the Arab North and the African South, Martin position was clear; a total liberation and secession from the North. Over four decades of political relations since independent were enough to prove the insincerity of Arabs towards the South.

Martin is dead, but his noble characters especially honesty which was the corner stone of his fame are left behind for generations to come to arm themselves with, as they are qualities that can not be obtained through relief, IMF or World Bank loans. And as comparison is a guide line in life, Martin symbolized honesty and that comparison was irritating to many corrupt.

May the Almighty God rests Martin’s soul in external peace as well as the souls of Martin Makur Aleiyou, Benjamin Bol Akook, Martin Kejibura, Yunis Abu Sudur, Edward Demitry, Bol Manguak, Dr. Carlos Madut, Atali, Jordan Alier Bol, Lazarus Guguei Ngang, Dr, Juac, Hakim Gabriel Aluong, Lawyer Manyuon Anyang, Majok Chol Naai, Ateny Mayen, Akuak Kudum, Majok Nyieth and many others who disappeared for no reasons other than the fear of the unknown. Equally, may Almighty God rest the souls of many Southern Sudanese who shed their blood for the noble cause of liberating their people? AMEN

PULLOUT: While under detention in SPLA prisons at Raads and Buma, Martin engaged himself in farming and wood curving. He used to make chairs and beds for himself and his fellow prisoners”

He was a knowledgeable, ambitious man, says Awet

The man who designed the national flag is remembered by politicians nearly two decades after his death, reports DANIEL DENG BOL & MADING DE YAK CHOLDIT:–

As the saying goes, “Behind any great man there is a good woman”.

Martin’s first wife Akon Achiek Wai Deng, married in 1966 during his final years at university, bore him eight children: Ayuel, Nyanwal, Gai, Wai, Nyanakuek, Mac, Achol and Aluel.

He married Keth Alier Mabiei Nhial in 1981 who bore him three daughters namely: Ayen, Akuot and Agok.

Martin’s marriage to the two wives widened and tightened the network of the relationship in the vast constituency he represented to the regional Assembly.

Both women contributed effectively to Martin’s good career in administration, politics and social life. They clearly conceived the position of their husband as a judge and a politician and, therefore, lived to the standards and requirements of the position. Management of the little earning to suffice the large extended family was a charm they perform perfectly. Their home was filled with warm and affection.

Martin was among the few educated youth in the area that used to combine between the rural life and the urban life activities. He had his lower fore- teeth removed and got initiated to manhood at sixteen as it is the tradition with Dinka and other African communities. Martin was fond of wrestling — a Dinka Bor favorite sport, dancing and hunting.

He never stopped practicising even when he went to school. He would compete during the vacation.  While at cattle camps during the vacations, Martin never forgot about reading. He used to arrange his books in a box in such a way that would make it easy for his illiterate mother to pick them for him whenever he wanted one at the cattle camp. Those social activities earned him popularity among peers, colleagues and the community at large.

Nearly two decades after his death, how do people remember him?

Q. What do you know about  late martin majer  Gai? What role did he play as a revolutionary person?

D/SPEAKER DANIEL AWET AKOT: I do not know the late Majer personally, but physically when I met him at Itang, Ethiopia. I was working in the North and from the North I left for the bush for 14  years. When I went to Ethiopia in 1985 I met him at 2pm for a short time, but I did not meet him a free I met him while he was under detention.

Q. He was a revolutionary person and you just heard about him. What role did you hear he played in the SPLA/SPLM?

AKOT: First I was told the late Majier was a knowledgeable, ambitious man.

If he was alive he would have given good leadership as others are now doing.

He was an objective, intelligent man who knew where he was going. He was a quiet person  and a simple lawyer who had been handled cases when he was taken to Bhar el gazal  around, 19 2-1975.

MP MAJOK DUT MUORWEL, Tonj: Briefly I saw him one year before the war. He was much senior than me in education and age. So he graduated and came to work before me but when I graduated and came and worked in the regional government here, I found him to be a man who would not accept any nonsense. He would simply call a spade a spade

Q. And his contribution in the war?

MAJOK: In the war he was one of the architects of the SPLM/SPLA disciplinary laws of 1984. That was his major contribution as a lawyer. He was spearheading the formation of these laws and it was those laws that brought us to this independence. Without those laws we would have not made it.

MAJOK ALITH JACOB, Juba University: Martin Majier Gai wrote the SPLM/SPLA party manifesto. He participated in the mobilization of youth to join the movement. He advised some of the intellectuals both in Khartoum and southern Sudan to join the liberation struggle. He also allegedly advised the SPLM/SPLA leadership not to graduate 10,000 recruits who mainly came from the greater Bor with few from the rest of the region in training camp in bilpam in Ethiopia. He was misquoted. He was arrested in jebel rat.

There’re no presidents in life, only freedom fighters, so was Majier Gai

Some people try to distance themselves from the dead lest they are sprinkled or stained with dirt. Martin is one individual people may simply deny and forget. Martin was honest, sincere, humble, democratic, courageous and hardworking.

Honesty is especially requisite for lawyers in particular and to all in general and Martin in that respect fitted it shoes. He distanced himself throughout his life from enriching himself through his position as a judge and a politician. He was simple and modest.

Martin never departed from cultivation as it was the only way whereby he could supplement the little earnings to support the large family.

Majier was straight forward in his dealings with people. Hypocrisy, flattering, backbiting and sneering were not part of his habits and character.

He was critical of corruption in high places. That was why he resigned his ministerial position during Lagu presidency. That honesty earned him the title of Mr. Clean among his colleagues and those who knew him.

Martin was democratic in behaviour and approach. He believed very strongly that prevalence of democracy was the only way of maintaining peace and tranquility in societies and systems. On the change in Regional Government in 1977, some people wanted Numiery to decreed the continuation of Abel Alier as the president of the High Executive Council.

Martin said that suppose it was Lagu or a different person who was steering the affairs in the South what would have been the position of Abel Alier supporters? His argument proved correct when Alier was ousted democratically in 1977 and brought back the same way in 1980 as president of the High Executive Council for the third time. As a moderate thinker, he was able to reconcile extremists of the two parties (Abel and Lagu groups) and a sort of a national government was formed in the South.

Martin was courageous. He risked his educational future for the cause of his people. Though fourth year students are always exempted by their colleagues from joining the strike, Martin joined and led the strike in Rumbek in 1962. In 1966, Martin went for leave in his home area Bor when security was tense all over the south and the educated were particularly targeted by the Northern army. He went on a secret mission to diffuse growing tension between Anyanya rebels in Bor area and the civilians. After calming the nerves of the two parties, he proceeded with settlement of his marriage of his elder wife. The years 1965-1970 were critical. Random and indiscriminate killing were common practices. Many Southerners confined to the North during that period to avoid risking lives. Martin was the first minister to willingly resign his position in the South, an action many feared to risk in Africa. As a member of Solidarity group, Martin never cared of the consequences. Numiery acted drastically. He locked up the members. Majier went to the bush to join the struggle when released for a brief period of two months. Martin did not think of going to the big cities of Kenya and Uganda. He stayed among the suffering in the displaced camps.

Majier was a simple man. He was extrovert and humble in his approach and acquaintance with people. Martin was a conversationalist. If there was no elder was around to chat or converse with him. Martin was famous of teasing anybody including his seniors in government. Home games and sports were other factors that widened his scope of social life with people. In Wau he was once elected as chairman of Wau officials’ social club. He played tennis. He could take one meal per day or sometimes skipped meals for the whole day. Despite all those dietetic measures, his body continued to bulge out. He abandoned smoking earlier and drinking was occasional.

Majier was known for his hard work. He would go to the office very early in the morning and remained there till after official working hours. He attended to cases late into the night. Accumulation of cases was rare in his courtroom. He was equally a hard working farmer. He had a piece of land at the outskirts of Wau where he took his family to farm during the weekends until evening. While under detention in SPLA prisons at Raads and Buma, Majier engaged himself in farming and wood curving. He made chairs and beds for himself and his prison colleagues.

Freedom Fighters

There are no presidents in the bush but freedom fighters. Southern Sudanese did not take to the bush in search of leaders and rulers, but they took arms in search for freedom and rights. Otherwise, if it was the matter of leaders and presidents, Southerners would have remained inside the country and continued sieving their nobles jackanapes and nincompoops till they arrived at a better one that could lead them.

When Martin was a student activist in early 60s, he never dreamt of one day becoming a Parliamentarian, a minister or a president. He was just struggling for the rights of his people without expectation of any rewards. Above all, ascending positions and descending from them is determined by luck and God. Martin could have lost his life or risked his educational future but he survived the circumstances by the help of Almighty God. Martin was a gentleman and a leader in his own right and capacity.

South Africa is instructive. It is South Africans who know much about the qualities of Mandela and South Sudanese know much about the qualities of Martin Majier Gai as a leader. Mandela is not the only leader in South Africa nor is he a jack of all trades, but there are others who are or were equally respected and loved by South Africans, such as former Archbishops of Johannesburg and Noble Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, George Slavo and slain student activist Steve Beko. Mandela was just the first among equals.

It is, therefore, in the world of sufferers from inferiority complex and world of poor heartedness where only the high position is seen as where one can contribute towards the development of his people. But in the world of the normal any persons with the desirable human qualities is a leader at any position. William Shakespeare, the British novelist whose writings were for the transformation of the British society is more famous than many British Prime ministers; Martin Luther King, the black American civil rights activist may be more popular than many American Presidents; the German religious reformist, another Martin may be more remembered than many Germany kings and Chancellors. Similarly, Gandhi outshines many Indian presidents and Prime ministers.

On the other hand, other leaders who intrigue and crookedly climb the ladder of the leadership of their nations to the top positions, such as Hitler, Mussolini, Mobutu and Idi Amin, are remembered for their brutalities, despotism, corruption and gross human rights violations. Their children and grand children would walk in disguise in the streets and public places in Bonn, Rome, Kinshasa and Kampala, and if discovered would be greeted with stones and rotten eggs.

For the sarcastic furthermore, Mandela would have not survived till present time had he been to some African or jungle prisons. Twenty seven years in prison were enough for Mandela to lose his life through concocted stories such as having met his fate while attempting escape by trying to cross the ocean swimming from Robin Island to the mainland or simply by taking the TB, which he contracted in the prison as a good pretext for his death.

Though a racist regime, apartheid bore conscience for Mandela. Sarcasm was that Majier found a sharpened knife and exposed his neck to it. The sarcastic went as far as mentioning the name of his pop, the knife owner. He did not know he was incriminating some one on one hand and legalizing and confirming his death on the other!

With regard to the conflict between the Arab North and the African South, Martin’s position was clear; a total liberation and secession from the North. Over four decades of political relations since independent were enough to prove the insincerity of Arabs towards the South.

Martin is dead, but his noble characters, especially honesty, which was the cornerstone of his fame are left behind for generations to come to arm themselves with, as they are qualities that cannot be obtained through relief, IMF or World Bank loans. And as comparison is a guide line in life, Martin symbolized honesty and that comparison was irritating to many others.

Father-in-law to commander el-Tahir Bior Lueth, former secretary of commerce in SPLM.Cousin-in-law to Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk

Cousin to Wal Athieu Madol, former deputy chief of staff for administration.

Cousin to Ayuen Alier Jongroor, commander of SPLA General HQS.

Uncle to Lt. Colonel Erjok Bullen Geu, Commander in the office of the Commander-in-Chief of SPLA


Date of Birth:          1940

Father:                   Chief Gai Ayuel, Piol of Palek clan, died 1970

Grand father:          Ayuel Yuot

Mother:                  Agok Jongroor, Juorkoc, Makuac Payam

Grand mother:         Nyankuek Lukuac Ajuong, Guala 2, Juorhol, Kolnyang Payam

Constituency:           Bor South


A Tribute to Commander Yousif Kuwa Mekki: The Fallen Mountains (1945 – 2001)

By Dr Hunud A Kadouf

“The problem for the Jallaba was that they believed in their money rather than anything else, otherwise they would have evaluated that things were no longer the same”. Kuwa, after he won a regional parliamentary seat against the Jallaba of Kadugli- his home town-during Nimeiri’s era. In ‘The story of Yousif Kuwa Mekki in his own words’, in Suleiman M Rahhal (ed.), The Right to be Nuba, (2001).

“Life is a school and with great lessons”: Kuwa in an interview by Stephen Amin – Africa News. Issue 61-April 2001

“No man of heart, spirit, or constancy 

 “Can ever be cowed down by odds

“Against him. We fight not for spoils

“Or for captives, but for the glory

“Of Allah, and for truth and faith.

“We must be kind to all, but specially 

“Regard the needs of our comrades,

“Linked to us by ties of duty and affection.  “Our highest reward will be forgiveness “And grace from the giver of all.”

March 31, 2001 was to be remembered as a sad day in the modern Nuba history. It was on that day that the Nuba community all over the world and the whole Sudan was shocked by the news of the death of Cdr. Yousif Kuwa Mekki. I am certainly one of those tens of thousands of the
Nuba people in exile who felt the bitterness of his loss though without despair. I was following his ailing condition fairly closely. I owe that to Suleiman Musa Rahhal as we agreed that he kindly keep me informed about Yousif’s movements and his health condition. In fact I even made several calls and talked to him on the phone while he was under treatment in London last Ramadan. He sounded great by then. But alas! Is it not the fact of life that all humans must inevitably have a gulp from that bitter drink shared by all mortals?  

26. All that on earth
Will perish
27. But will abide (forever)
The Face of thy Lord-
Full of Majesty,
Bounty and Honour
(Surah 55: Al Rahmãn)

Yousif Kuwa belongs to Miri tribe in the Nuba Mountains. Modern Sudanese history remembers this tribe, similar to other Nuba tribes, as the one that produced two great Nuba freedom fighters, viz., al-Fakki Ali al-Mirawi who fought the British colonialists and Yousif Kuwa Mekki who took arms to fight for justice and equality for the entire Nuba against socio-political and cultural hegemony of the Arabized northern Sudanese political elite. He succeeded under his leadership to liberate a substantial area of the Nuba Mountains from the control of government forces and eventually became its first Governor. Under his stewardship he managed to introduce a kind of a Nuba civil society he was dreaming of. Whether what he had accomplished was to be admired or not is for the history to tell.
Tragically as it is, the death of Cdr. Yousif, to the average Nuba, is tantamount only to that of a ‘fallen mountain’. I intentionally do not want to
equate his death with that of a ‘hero’, a ‘giant’ or anything like that of a ‘fallen star’ (which in fact he is). But the problem with such a description is
that it might give rise to a sense of individuality and alieness or rather say aloofness. Let us assume that I simply do not want people to think of Yousif as anything other than that simple man who lived like them and eventually died like anyone of them. He never lived in an ivory tower up in the skies away from the needs and feelings of the average Nuba whom he loved and for whose miseries he was most apprehensive. He was an ordinary man; but in his ordinariness he stood up high like a colossal mountain. That was where the secret of this fighter resides. The Nuba are by nature mountainous people and good fighters too. They certainly have special regard for their mountains. Most of the Nuba deify the mountains where they live. These mountains are beautiful in their eternal posture. They provide not only food and shelter but also protection. The Nuba would normally find security in the recesses of these mountains against invading enemies. It is no wonder that they owe a great deal to the unique structure of their mountains for their present survival. That was so despite the ferocious attacks by the Turks, the Mahdists, the British and finally, though ironically, against the air raids by the present national government. It is because of that a Nuba pays a special reverence to the mountain near or upon which he lives. Was it not in these mountains that Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi found his refuge to invigorate his rebellion against the Turko-Egyptian colonialists? By now it must be clear why I tried to relate the death of this great Nuba warrior to a fallen mountain. This is because apparently it appears difficult to imagine a life for a Nuba without his beloved mountain. The late Cdr. Yousif Kuwa Mekki was a real ‘Mountain’. 

In a recent book edited by Suleiman Musa Rahhal: The Right to be a Nuba, the late Cdr. Yousif Kuwa told us his life story. His life story was typical of any young Nuba of his generation. He was born approximately in 1945, which means that he died at the age of 56. Like most of the Nuba children of that generation he was a son of a fighter. Since his father was in the Sudan Defence Force the young Yousif had to accompany his father to different places in the Sudan each time his father was transferred. Daunting as that might have been, the experience of getting in contact with other Sudanese communities at that early age was some sort of an eye opener for him. Some of the incidents told in his story seem to have left deep and unpleasant marks in his feelings as a Sudanese. The sense of disgrace, humiliation, and bitterness associated by alienation and social ostracization felt by this young Nuba throughout his various levels of education and especially while studying in the Khartoum Commercial School was of a particular relevance. It is thus no wonder if that had contributed greatly in formulating his political ideas in his maturity afterwards. 

For Yousif, similar to almost every Nuba irrespective of their levels of education, something was terribly wrong with the economic and socio-political structure of the country that needed to be corrected. His deep sense of African-ness and ‘Nuba-ism’ led him to discover and resent the ugly lies underlying the modern Sudanese history. For him a lot of injustices have been done to the Nuba since they were constantly referred to as slaves. During the colonial period they were the only ones who used to do the most debasing jobs such as collecting human refuse from the houses. Until recently, a Nuba either he has to find a decent job as a soldier or the next best thing in the eyes of the Northern Sudanese society was for him/her to work as a domestic servant to earn a living. The Sudanese society has pretentiously forgotten the role of Nuba people in formulating the Sudanese modern history. It is a common knowledge that the Nuba have produced the best of the fighters in the history of the Sudan
Defence Force. They supported the rebel Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi against the Turko-Egyptian colonialists. God alone knows what would have become of the rebellious Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi had he not found refuge and protection in Jebel Gedeir. 

Let us further acknowledge that some of the finest Nuba soldiers died in what is popularly known as the (The River Battle – during the 1924 rebellion against the colonialists. This is in addition to more than thirty 30 odd rebellions against the Condominium regime-the largest resistance in both quantity and quality against the Condominium regime. According to Major Lamb the British troops deployed to quell one of the Nuba several rebellions-The Nyima Patrol, was the largest that had ever been staged against any local upheavals. It was larger, as mentioned by the same source, than the troops organized against Ali Dinar of Darfur. Why these historical facts were not taught at schools or at least mentioned, as part of the Sudanese heritage, were some of bewildering questions that Yousif and every Nuba, was trying to find answers to. 

With all that historical inattention in his heart coupled with his disillusionment of the ineptness (uselessness) and apathy of the Nuba politicians at that time, he decided together with his Nuba fellows at the University of Khartoum where he was still studying, to form a clandestine society popularly known as komolo. As has been mentioned in one of my articles, ‘Marginalisation and Resistance: the Plight of the Nuba People’: “…that besides the previous political movement started by the General Union of the Nuba in the 1960s no organization had a more profound effect on the Nuba political consciousness than the komolo movement (Kadouf: 2001, 55).  

My association with the ideas of this great man goes back into the days in the mid-80s when he decided to go into a voluntary self-exile by joining SPLA/M (I think Cdr. ‘Adel ‘Aziz Adam al-Hilo must remember this quite well). He came to my office at the Faculty of Law, University of Khartoum without any prior appointment. Before that we hardly talked about anything. I remember I ordered breakfast and drinks and we started our discussions rather sluggishly (slowly) on general matters. For hours and hours we went on discussing various matters concerning the Nuba in general. We discussed Nuba politics, their culture and the general Nuba dilemma. Both of us agreed that one of the deepest differences between those Sudanese people of purely African origin, like the Nuba, and our northern Arabized fellow citizens may be normative in nature revolving around socio-cultural and religious values rather than simply that of a material interest. The Nuba people obviously reject, to the most part, the moral authority of the north in as much as it denounces its politico-economic supremacy. Both of us were careful not to say anything that might hurt the feelings of the other. He was extremely polite and was trying to choose his words with care and apparently was constantly trying to reformulate his ideas and his political views.

He was very diplomatic since until that time he could not tell precisely what my political views were. I silently admired his civility. However, despite his politeness and softly spoken words I could sense an eruption of  volcano in his chest. I used to know something about his Komolo organization. But as I was not a member of that society and since he and his friends did not bother to include most of our generation into this secret society I behaved as if I did not know anything about it. Any way he did not trouble himself to mention a word about it to me. It was true that I used to hold some negative ideas about the man and his political activities. I simply thought of him as another Fr. Philip. Any way who was not influenced by the political rhetoric of Fr. Philip, a Nuba political veteran? Nevertheless, it was only when we spoke face to face that I came to realize that the man had his distinct personality with a genuine political philosophy. On his part I could notice that gradual change of mistrust with which we started our talk as it had progressively being replaced with confidence seen in his eyes. He apparently discovered that after all we had a lot in common and that our ideas were not so much poles apart or in any way that different as we had imagined at the beginning. Most impotently I noticed that the man had something that he wanted to convey not only to the Nuba but also to the entire Sudanese political community. I think he succeeded just to do so and more.   

This is the man we used to know. He was a man of honour and integrity, and above all he was a man of vision who gave his own life for the sake of the Nuba people. His greatest hope was to see that the future Nuba generations should live in peace and in an un-compromised freedom. Although the man is no longer among us but his fighting spirit will always remain within us as guidance for achieving what he, and his comrades, have already started viz., something that is no less than a total freedom for the Nuba people not only from the northern political hegemony but also from their own attitude of servility.  This is the man his opponents once enjoyed propagating (circulating) that he took arms only as a result of a personal vendetta against al-Fateh Bishara, then governor of Kordofan during the last days of Nimeiri era. Let it then be known, for those who love distorting history that Yousif Kuwa Mekki never denounced Islam as a religion that calls for peace and acclamation of human dignity. He surely died as a good Muslim. He never took arms against Islam. It was his denunciation of the unjust and corrupt State that he was fighting against. Is that not more Islamic than those who see the munkar and injustice is being done without a single blink of an eye?

Before I could say my final words about this Nuba warrior I would like to assure all the Nuba people, whether they be in the battle field fighting for freedom, within the country or those who have chosen exile, that it is not true that the Nuba intellectuals have at any time felt ashamed of being called Nuba. These ideas were wrongly planted in the minds of the average Nuba by Fr. Philip Abbas Ghaboush and some second rate Nuba politicians such as Amin Basher Filleen and Brigadier Ibrahim Nayel Idam for some cheap political gains. One just need to look back in history and find out that the first Nuba political organization (GUN) was founded by the Nuba intellectuals in 1964. Consequently, one of the undisputed political philosophy for the reviving of the General Union of the Nuba (GUN) for the second time after the popular upheaval of 1985, by top Nuba educated elite, was to assert not only their “Nuba-ness” but also to propagate the idea of their ‘African-ness’ in contradistinction to the notion of Arabism.  One thing perhaps needs to be made crystal clear to all our friends and enemies alike. In as much as lamentable the death of Yousif Kuwa is to all of us, the Nuba will never despair simply because of the death of their hero. It should be known that the death of this legendary warrior has already given birth to other million Yousif Kuwa. 

Even though Yousif is dead but the Nuba, like their mountains, will continue to survive. Similar to his great Nuba ancestors, viz., al-Mek Adam Um-Dabello, al-Faki ‘Ali al-Mirawi, al-Sultan ‘Agabna, the Talodi heroes, the Moro and Atoro warriors, the Kwaleeb of jebel Umbri, the Tullishi and all of those neglected Nuba soldiers who were the real fuel of 1924 rebellion against the British and Egyptian colonialists Yousif Kuwa died but he returned to the Nuba their long lost pride. Yousif is dead but the Nuba have gained not only their political consciousness but also their self-esteem. Yousif is dead but his name will be engraved in the books of the modern Sudanese history as a Nuba who dared to rebel against the socio-economic as well as political injustice of the Arabized northern Sudanese. His legend will pass from generation to generation. The story of his life will be told to the Nuba children whenever they sit to listen to their elders under big trees and whenever the delightful moonlight hits the crevices of the hills in the coolness of the Nuba nights. For the Nuba Yousif will continue to live. Until now the northern political elite have managed to cleverly conceal the Nuba heroic deeds in fighting the colonialists. But let us now see whether they can still afford to mess up with the history made by Yousif Kuwa Mekki.

We all pray and seek rahmah from Allah (swt) for Yousif’s soul and may his soul rest in heaven in peace and may Allah bestow patience and endurance upon all his friends and relatives for their great irreplaceable loss

Obituary: Yousif Kuwa Mekki

The Independent – (UK)
April 4, 2001

FOR 16 years, Yousif Kuwa Mekki led a guerrilla division of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the Nuba mountains of central Sudan, and was the figurehead of the Nuba people’s struggle for survival against the repression meted out by the government in Khartoum.

His life was dedicated to raising the Nubas’ awareness of and pride in their own culture. Nuba traditions of wrestling, dancing and body-painting have been celebrated in the photographs of George Rodger and Leni Riefenstahl, but since the National Islamic Front seized power in 1989, successive governments of Sudan have considered these practices as “un-Islamic” and a source of shame.

Yousif Kuwa Mekki was born on a small hill, el Akhwal, in the Nuba mountains, during the rainy season of 1945, taking his father’s name Kuwa and his grandfather’s name Mekki, in accordance with Sudanese tradition. As with most rural Sudanese, his birthday is not recorded.

For two decades until his death, he was the most prominent and charismatic leader of the 1.5 million-strong Nuba people. Kuwa was an unusual military commander. Before joining the ranks of the SPLA he was a teacher and cultural activist, and served as an elected politician in the regional assembly.

He grew up in a milieu in which to be Nuba was to be regarded almost as a slave. In a memoir of his early years (which appears in The Right to Be Nuba: the story of a Sudanese people’s struggle for survival, published later this month), Kuwa recounts how he started “my rebellion” at school. “There was a headmaster. Of course he came from the North [of Sudan]. And he was always saying, `Why should these Nuba boys be taught, they should go to work as servants in houses.’ ” At school, Kuwa was punished for speaking in his mother tongue, the Miri language, rather than Arabic, and for protesting when the religious education teacher insisted that in the afterlife, angels were pale-skinned and devils were black.

This experience of discrimination led Yousif to look to his cultural identity as an African. He read the novels of the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, and the political philosophy of the Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere, finding that their visions of African culture and African socialism echoed his own experience. He found anthropological studies of Nuba traditions. “Why are we not taught about this in our schools?” he asked.

Studying at the University of Khartoum and thereafter working as a teacher in the Nuba mountains, Kuwa was co-founder of an organisation called Komolo (meaning “youth”) dedicated to restoring the Nuba people’s faith in their own cultures and identities. Komolo was suppressed and its members forced underground; most of its leaders later took up arms as part of the SPLA.

Campaigning for a seat in the regional assembly in 1981, Kuwa traversed the mountains on foot and by bicycle, encouraging his people to resist the money and blandishments of the Sudanese Arab candidates, and instead vote for him. He won handsomely, but failed to get the Nuba case fairly heard in the assembly. By 1984, as Sudanese politics became more polarised and the country slid into civil war, Kuwa joined the southern-led SPLA. As a Muslim from the geographical north, but dedicated to a tolerant, multi-cultural Sudan, he was the embodiment of the “New Sudan” philosophy of the SPLA leader Colonel John Garang.

SPLA forces quickly gained control of much of the Nuba mountains, where Kuwa had the chance to put his principles into practice. His governorship was marked by a cultural renaissance, as Nuba musicians rediscovered their traditions. Kuwa always sought consensus and democracy, insisting that sound civil administration, functioning courts and religious tolerance were the foundation of liberation.

But these were also years of extreme hardship for the Nuba people. The war has brought 16 years of relentless attacks from government forces, with hundreds of villages burned, thousands killed, and tens of thousands subject to famine. Challenged by his hungry people, Kuwa responded, “I myself have eaten mukheit” -referring to a bitter berry eaten as a last resort in times of famine.

One of Kuwa’s longest and most bitter struggles was to bring UN humanitarian aid to his people. But the Nuba never achieved the same recognition or support as southern Sudan, and the UN has yet to honour a succession of promises. This year’s government offensive has left 15,000 Nuba burned out of their villages. There is no peace in sight.

Yousif Kuwa Mekki, teacher, soldier and politician: born el Akhwal, Sudan c August 1945; three times married (14 children); died Norwich 31 March 2001.

Yousif Kuwa: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Yousif Kuwa Mekki (1945–2001) was a Sudanese revolutionary, rebel commander and politician.

Early life

Yousif Kuwa was born in 1945 at Jebel Miri, a locality in the Nuba Mountains of Central Sudan. A member of the Miri sub-tribe, he was named Kuwa after his father and Mekki after his grandfather. As with most rural Sudanese, his exact birthday is not recorded. Kuwa’s father was a soldier, and the family moved around the country, resulting in Kuwa growing up with little knowledge of his ethnic Nuba heritage.

Early Political Activism

Kuwa was raised a Muslim, and actually grew up believing he was an Arab. Although a brilliant student, Kuwa’s Arab secondary school headmaster made a comment that changed the course of his life, saying, while justifying the unnecessity of education for Nuba children: “What is the use of teaching Nuba, who are going to work as servants in houses?” This racist comment made Kuwa aware of his identity as a marginalized Nuba, and inspired revolutionary ideas in him when he later studied political science at Khartoum University.

At the University, Kuwa was strongly influenced by the ideas of Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere, the African history of Sudan and about the Nuba cultures. Together with other Nuba students he formed “Komolo”, a Youth movement to strengthen cultural and political awareness among the Nuba,in 1975. He then found work as a teacher after graduation, teaching in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains, before being elected to the Southern Kordofan regional assembly in 1981.

Working amongst his people, Kuwa began to understand the real nature of the conflict in Sudan. Although a country with a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-language society, he judged that the politics of Sudan upheld a dichotomy between marginalized and the privileged. Branded a firebrand by the Khartoum government and unable to agitate for the rights of the suppressed Nuba people as a democratically elected representative, Kuwa joined the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/A) insurgency led by Dr. John Garang after reading the SPLA manifesto in 1984, as Sudan slipped into civil war.

SPLA Commander and Nuba Leader

Between 1985 and 1986, Kuwa was sent for military training in Ethiopia. He was then appointed to join the SPLM/A ‘High Command’, and was sent to Cuba for advanced political and military training on how to conduct an armed struggle.

Upon return, he became a commander in the SPLA, 10th in rank after John GarangKerubino Kuanyin BolWilliam Nyuon BanySalva Kiir, Arok Thon Arok, Nyaciluk Nyachigak, John Kulang, Riek Machar andLam Akol. Others in the SPLA High Command included James Wani Igga, Daniel Awet Akot, and Kuol Manyang Juuk.

When a split took place in the SPLA in 1991, Kuwa rose in rank because he was one of those who stood with Garang’s dominant faction.

Kuwa returned to Sudan in 1987, and was assigned, with a battalion of about 1,000 SPLA guerilla fighters, to penetrate the Nuba Mountains.

Under Kuwa’s command, the SPLA forces overran most of the Nuba Mountains in 1989.The locals received him enthusiastically as he traversed the region, explaining the SPLA’s cause and asking for their co-operation.

Soldiers abusing civilians risked the firing squad, and in 1990, Kuwa, now the SPLA-appointed governor of the Nuba Mountains, introduced self-government, where the Nuba elected their village leaders, district representatives and county administrators. Kuwa became very popular among the Nuba, who did not fear him, but revered him for his charisma and wisdom.

Unable to defeat the SPLA in direct confrontations, the Khartoum military directed its violence against the civilian population and sealed off the Nuba Mountains. For 16 years, the Nuba suffered relentless attacks from government forces. Warplanes bombed the area sporadically, hundreds of villages were shelled or burned, thousands were killed, others captured for sale as slaves in the North and tens of thousands subjected to famine.

Faced with the despair of the Nuba people, Kuwa in 1992 convened an Advisory Council forum, asking the representatives to choose whether to continue with the liberation war or surrender to the government. After two days of heated debates the Council voted to carry on with the armed struggle. In 1994, Kuwa’s political star within the SPLM/A rose when he organized and chaired a National Liberation Council of the rebel movement, which voted to establish civil administrations, similar to the one he had introduced in the Nuba Mountains, throughout the areas under the SPLA’s control.

The isolation of the Nuba continued to be one of Kuwa’s main concerns, and he struggled to bring United Nations humanitarian aid to the Nuba people. In 1994 the first plane landed clandestinely in the SPLA controlled part of to the Nuba Mountains. Journalists and human rights activists started to reveal the atrocities committed against the Nuba population. Meanwhile, Kuwa helped form the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization (NRRDO), a Nuba humanitarian organization. Several international NGOs agreed to support it, but the amount of relief the NRRDO managed to mobilize never matched the enormous needs of the Nuba.


Yousif Kuwa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and died on 31 March 2001 while undergoing treatment in NorwichEngland. He died before witnessing the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that finally ended the South Sudan conflict. Although the SPLM/A was predominantly Christian, Kuwa remained a Muslim all his life. The Yousif Kuwa Teachers Training Institute (YKTTI), which was established in the Nuba Mountains with the support of the Koinonia Community, is named after him.

Seven years after his death, Yousif Kuwa Mekki’s legacy lives on

On March 31, 2001, one of Sudan’s greatest heroes and late SPLM and Nuba
leader, Yousif Kuwa Mekki died of cancer. On this seventh anniversary, The
New Sudan Vision reprints an edited version of Nanne op ‘t Ende’s article,
who had interviewed the late and is creater of Nuba Mountains web, for his memorial.

By:  Nanne op ‘t Ende,

Yousif Kuwa Mekki was born in 1945. As a boy he didn’t consider himself to be a Nuba: “In the Nuba Mountains, you just knew your own tribe. We for example were Miri. So if we were asked: ‘Who are the Nuba?’ we would say: ‘The other tribes – but not us.’ Only when we came out of the Nuba
Mountains we learned that we are all Nuba.”

He always told anecdotes of the discrimination he experienced in his youth, like the one about the headmaster in primary school who refused to teach Nuba children, saying it was [of] no use. “This feeling of being
disregarded,” Kuwa said in one of his last interviews, “certainly affected
my political career.”

Yousif Kuwa taught for six years at primary schools in Darfur before
applying to the University of Khartoum in 1975. “Studying politics and
anthropology really opened my eyes,” he said. Kuwa was strongly influenced
by the ideas of Tanzania’s first president Nyerere, especially by his
concept of African Socialism.

In the library Kuwa read about the African history of Sudan and about the
Nuba cultures. “There had been highly developed cultures and powerful
kingdoms in the Sudan before the Arabs came; why did we never learn about
these cultures?” he once asked.

Together with other Nuba students he formed Komolo: the ‘Youth’ Movement.
The young intellectuals wanted to strengthen cultural and political
awareness among the Nuba.

“There were two things we wished to tackle, because they would always work
against us: religious differences and tribal differences.”

After graduation in 1980 Kuwa turned to teaching again, in Kadugli Higher
Secondary School. “It was a chance for us to recruit the young Nuba
intellectuals,” he said.

One year later, Kuwa was elected deputy speaker of the parliament of
Kordofan Province. He hoped to do something about the deprived situation of
the Nuba. “In comparison with any other part of the country, our area was
backward. We wanted some equality, some services, so that the Nuba people
could feel that they were belonging to the same country.”

But even discussing the problems of the Nuba was impossible. “Whenever you
talked, you would be described as a racialist, a separatist.”

Kuwa and his fellow campaigners became disappointed [with the government
policies]. In 1984 they joined the SPLA, after reading its manifesto: “It
talked about fighting for a united Sudan, for equality, share of power and
economy, freedom of religion, speech and practicing culture. That made us
join the SPLA.”

Yousif Kuwa commanded the SPLA forces that overran most of the Nuba
Mountains in 1989. The population received him enthusiastically: “I can
only compare it with films about the Roman Empire, when the legions, after
winning a battle, come to Rome in triumph. It was fantastic.”

During his days, Kuwa walked the Mountains relentlessly explaining to the
Nuba what the SPLA was fighting for and asking for their co-operation.
Soldiers abusing civilians risked the firing squad. In 1990 Kuwa introduced
self-government, letting the people elect their village leaders, district
representatives and county administrators.

Unable to defeat the SPLA in direct confrontations, the government army
directed its violence against the civilian population and sealed off the
Nuba Mountains. Poverty, displacement and starvation were the result. Faced
with the suffering of his people, Kuwa in 1992 called an Advisory Council
[meeting]. “I take full responsibility for all that happened before, up to
this day,” he told the 200 representatives: “But from today on, it will be
us to decide. Whether we continue fighting or we seek peace with the
government: it will be our decision.”

After two days of heated debates the Council voted to continue the fight.
Politically Kuwa’s finest hour probably came in 1994, when he prepared and
chaired the first meeting of the National Liberation Council of the SPLA,
in Chukudum. The Council voted to implement a civil administration
throughout the liberated areas that was very similar to the one he had
introduced in the Nuba Mountains.

The isolation of the Nuba continued to be one of Kuwas’ main concerns. In
1994 the first plane landed clandestinely in the SPLA controlled part of
the Nuba Mountains. Journalists and human rights activists started to
reveal the atrocities committed against the Nuba population. Meanwhile,
Kuwa helped to form a Nuba relief organisation, the NRRDO. Several NGOs
were prepared to support it, but the amount of relief that the NRRDO could
fly in never matched the need.

Kuwa didn’t live to see the end to the struggle. He was diagnosed with
cancer in 1998 and he died three years later.

The last thing Kuwa could do for his people was to look for a worthy
successor. He found one in Abdel Aziz Adam al Hilu, his long time friend
with whom he worked together since the days of Komolo. Abdel Aziz has
negotiated the Cease Fire and the details of the Comprehensive Peace

Yousif Kuwa is dearly remembered as a true leader who stood up for the
rights of the Nuba people and fought for equality right till the end.!topic/sudan-john-ashworth/syW7_a8o5zk

Yousif Kuwa

The lost leader of Africa’s persecuted Nuba people, he tempered armed resistance with justice

The GuardianTuesday 3 April 2001 22.17 EDT

In the days before he died, at the age of 55, Yousif Kuwa wanted two things: to see the latest biography of Nelson Mandela, and to publish an open letter to the United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan on behalf of the Nuba people of Sudan, whose struggle for survival Yousif led for 16 years. The letter asked why, despite all its promises, the UN continued to abandon the Nuba to the depredations of the fundamentalist generals who rule Sudan.Yousif’s death has robbed Africa of one of its most visionary leaders. It has robbed the Nuba, long perceived as an underclass in Arab-ruled Sudan, of the man who gave them a new pride and confidence in their Africanness. And it has robbed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of a commander who demonstrated that armed struggle is not incompatible with respect for human rights and civil society.A teacher by vocation, with a longing to farm once the struggle was over, Yousif fought all his life for a just peace – not only for the Nuba, but for all Sudanese, regardless of race, religion or sex. For him, there was no alternative to resistance in the Nuba mountains of central Sudan, sealed off from the world since the National Islamic Front seized power in 1989.But he respected those who chose to flee to government garrisons where they were promised – but seldom given – food, clothes and medicine. He was that rare thing in any society, especially in an impecunious society under arms: a leader who was loved.Yousif was born into the Miri tribe, one of more than 50 ethnic Nuba groups. In the days before Sudan’s rulers began enforcing an Arab-Islamic identity down the barrel of a gun, his parents were happy to raise him as a Muslim, and gave him an Arab name in preference to that traditionally given to first-born Nuba boys, Kuku. Yousif grew up believing he was an Arab. “If you told me otherwise,” he once said, “I would hit you.”All this changed in second- ary school, when his headmaster stopped teaching him, saying: “What is the use of teaching Nuba who are going to work as servants in houses?” “What’s a Nuba?” Yousif asked.

He discovered the answer as a political science student at Khartoum University, immersing himself in Nuba history. At the house of a Nuba friend one evening, he was dismayed to hear one child say to another, “You are a good singer. But, unfortunately, you are black.” In that moment, he said, “I started to reject assimilation. I said, ‘I will build my civilisation, and then I will forgive anyone who humiliated me before.'”

While still at university, he helped create the Komolo, the first political organisation of Nuba youth. In 1981, he was elected to the Kordofan regional assembly, but found himself accused of racism whenever he spoke of the Nuba. Despairing of political change, he joined the SPLA.

For him, liberation meant respect for the rights of all. He sought self-determination in its original sense – for the Nuba to have the right to choose what kind of government they would have, and with whom.

Yousif’s years as SPLA governor-commander in the Nuba mountains set new standards of rebel behaviour. He refused to tolerate abuses, and brought some indisciplined soldiers before firing squads. He built a civil ad ministration that was unique to SPLA-controlled areas, and let the Nuba freely choose between resistance and surrender. They voted, overwhelmingly, for resistance.

Yousif was the embodiment of the traditional Nuba values of political and religious tolerance. He fathered a renaissance of Nuba culture, and gave the Nuba a self-confidence that was their strongest weapon when Khartoum declared holy war against them in 1991. Encouraged by him to be self-reliant, the Nuba fought Khartoum’s blockade by creating a teachers’ training college and a nursing school, despite having almost no educated class.

I n 1993, after two years of famine in which thousands died unseen, Yousif found his way to Europe to seek help for his people. He returned almost empty-handed, disappointed by his first encounter with the west. “We are like a sinking man in the river, and they are standing on the bank shouting encouragement,” he said. “We do not fear bullets, but we feel bitter when a lot of people – especially children – die because of malaria.”

Told he had bone cancer 15 months ago, Yousif had one wish – to see a just peace before he died. That was not to be. With the exploitation of oil by foreign companies, which have suddenly overcome their abhorrence for Khartoum, peace seems further away than ever.

He is survived by his three wives – Fatima, Hanan and Imm Masaar – and 14 children.

• Yousif Kuwa Mekki, Nuba resistance leader, born August 1945; died March 31 2001

Interview with Yousif Kuwa Mekki

February 12 and 13, 2001
by Nanne op ‘t Ende

On 31 March 2001, Yousif Kuwa Mekki died in Norwich, England. Shortly befor his death he agreed to a very long interview, that took two days to complete. In sessions of half an hour, with a weak voice but with unfaltering mind, he spoke one more time about his life, the struggle for the rights of the Nuba people, and finally, the struggle against cancer.

Mr. Kuwa, when were you born?
Well, in those days our people didn’t care about birthdays, but my mother said I was born when my father came back home from the war of Tullushi. And the war of Tullushi was in 1945. It was the last battle between the British and the Nuba people. My father had been a noncommissioned officer during World War II. He fought in many places: in Ethiopia, in El Alamein and so on.

And where did you grow up?
At the beginning we were in the Nuba Mountains, but after some time my father decided to go to Medani and we followed him there. Then, the Government of Sudan (after independence, in 1956. NotE) started asking old soldiers to report to them; it was in need of soldiers to fight the rebellion in the South, Anya Nya I. Many were tempted to rejoin the army by promises of good salaries and certain concessions at the end of their service. My father too decided to go, and I went back to the Nuba Mountains.

Did your father’s profession as a soldier influence your perception of the situation in Sudan?
It affected me a lot when I understood how he was being exploited, taken to fight his brothers in the South. It wasn’t fair.

How about your education?
I went to the first primary school in Miri and we sat for examination in 1957. I did well, but nobody from our school passed because the teachers didn’t teach us properly. The headmaster, for instance, was supposed to give us mathematics. But by the time the pupils entered the class, he would just take his chair outside to go and sit under a tree. He was from the North, and saw no need for a Nuba to be taught.

But you did pass eventually?
I went to my father, who was in Malakal by then, in the South; I travelled to Kadugli, from there to Kaka, and then to Malakal. By the time I reached there, my father’s unit was about to be taken to the North; to eastern Sudan actually. So I went with him, I repeated the year in Gibeet and this time I passed the examination.

I had two years of Sinkat school in Kassala and then the rest of it in Sinkat itself. After that I went to Khartoum Commercial Secondary School. I could say I used to be a good student in intermediate school and even a good Muslim. But when I came to the Khartoum Commercial Secondary School in 1964, I had some incidents, which really effected my thinking.

After the uprising against Abboud (president Ibrahim Abboud had taken power in a coup in 1958 and was overthrown by a popular uprising in October 1964. NotE), we had a National Government and there was a lot of discussion within the society. One of the issues that divided the Sudanese was the women’s right to vote. One of those days the religious teacher, who gave us Islam, asked the class: “Well, what do you think about women’s right to vote?” We all participated, some are for, some are against and so on.

What was your opinion?
I was for of course. In the Nuba society we don’t think of women as in any way inferior to men. So after we had finished debating, some students were asking him: “And you, teacher, what is your idea?” He said: “Women’s rights? Why should they be given any rights? Women do not even work in their home or in their kitchen. They have the Nuba boys for that.” I was very frustrated; I just threw the books and went out of the class. That was the impression we Nuba got: this feeling of being disregarded – it certainly affected my political career.

After I passed the certificate I didn’t go to the university; I went to Darfur instead to work as a teacher. I worked at an intermediate school in ad Da’ein for five years, and then another year or two in Nyala. In Nyala I passed the examination to enter Khartoum University, Faculty of Economics, in 1975.

What was Khartoum like at that time?
Well, agui (brother. NotE), I don’t know; it was a normal city of the north, with the usual discrimination. Sudan was like that: if you were black, you were always treated as a slave. It was one of the problems there. But I would like to hint at some other points that affected my political thinking at that time.

When I applied to the University of Khartoum I wanted to go to the Faculty of Arts, to study languages. Instead, the ballot took me to the Faculty of Economics – and I have never regretted it. Studying politics and anthropology really opened my eyes: to the life, the political situation and so on. One day, I came across a book written by Nyerere: ‘Let us run while they walk’. (Julius Nyerere was Tanzania’s first president. “We must run while others walk” was one of his slogans. NotE) He was saying that we Africans should run while the white people are walking, because they are far ahead of us. But to me the most important issue he addressed was the role of the indigenous religion.

With the incidents that happened in Higher Secondary School, with the life I was living, religiously I wasn’t in equilibrium with my self. Although I felt I was a Muslim, I also had the feeling something was eluding me. And I felt no self-release, until Nyerere somehow provided me with an answer. He said: “I became a Christian when I was twelve years old and I believe in Christianity. But I still believe that as Africans we have our own rituals.” As an example Nyerere told how his father – who was a chief, with a lot of wives of course – ordered him to go with one of the wives to the funeral of a relative.

Nyerere went with her, and when the funeral was over they wanted to go home. Now, in Africa, if your relatives are good, they will give you something to go back with – so they gave their daughter a goat. Okay? And Nyerere of course was the one to take the goat with him. But when he tried to pull the goat, the goat was actually pulling him. They were pulling each other until one of the relatives saw them. The man took some hair from Nyerere’s head; took some hair from the goat, rubbed them together and said some kind of spell. And the goat went straight to the house.

His belief in the African traditions actually gave me relief, because in the Nuba Mountains we have the Kujur. Sometimes they perform certain acts; you are looking at it, but you cannot explain.

Is there a specific event you have in mind?
When there is no rain for example, the people will tell the kujur to come. He will perform a certain ritual and the rain comes.

So the book showed you the possibility of combining Islam with African traditions?
Not only that: it really relieved me and gave me feeling that all religion is one. Whether it is Islam or Christianity or Judaism or whatever. The only thing is faith. This is one of the things that affected me. And of course we started to believe in African socialism at that time. (Which is not based on class struggle, but on the idea of the traditional African community providing for all its members. NotE)

What was the main issue you concentrated on, while you were in university?
I remember that I was studying during Ramadan. I went to the library of the university, to the section of Sudan. Suddenly a question crossed my mind: “What has been written about the Nuba?” Because from the intermediate school upto university we didn’t learn anything about the Nuba. We learned all about the Arabs: how they came to Sudan, how they made kingdoms here and there, how good they are and so on and so forth. But nothing about other tribes or civilisations. So I said to myself: “Why don’t you see what has been written about the Nuba Mountains?” Lucky enough, I found a very big book called ‘Nuba’. It was written by Nadel, the British, in 1947. (Siegfried F. Nadel: ‘The Nuba, an anthropological study of the hill tribes in Kordofan’, London 1947. NotE) And this was the first time I learnt to know about myself. About the different tribes in the Nuba Mountains, about a lot of things.

Before that, you had no idea of the diversity and the different customs and.?
It is one of the funniest things: when you were in the Nuba Mountains, you just knew your own tribe. We for example were Miri. So if we were asked: “Who are the Nuba?” we would try to say: “The other tribes – but not us.” Only when we came out of the Nuba Mountains, to the north or south or west, we learned that we are all Nuba.

Anyway: I found that book and it was very interesting to read, because now I had a chance to know more about myself. Every day, once I finished the lessons, I just rushed to the library. Sometimes I was to be told by other people that it was the breakfast of Ramadan, because I was completely absorbed by reading about the Kushite kingdom, the Meroetic and the Tigali kingdoms. There have been many good cultures and good kingdoms in the Sudan before the Arabs came, and I was asking myself: “Why did we never learn about these cultures?”

Did you discuss these issues with your fellow students?
In fact in 1977 we held a Nuba conference in the University of Khartoum, inviting all the Nuba students whom we thought were committed to their problems or to the Nuba Mountains.

You say ‘we’: was there already some sort of Nuba organisation?
There were a lot of Nuba students, but some didn’t care what was going on in the Nuba Mountains, some were frightened even to discuss these things. But others thought that this was about our rights. So we looked for students who had a feeling of loyalty to the Nuba Mountains and then we made a four days’ conference. Several people lectured us; I remember R. Stevenson happened to be there. He was a linguistic who had lived in the Nuba Mountains for twenty years or more. And there was Faris, the anthropologist and photographer, who wrote about Kau Nyaro. (James C. Faris, ‘Nuba personal art’, London 1972. NotE)

Was this conference held openly?
No, we only selected those whom we wanted to participate. I think we were around thirty or forty, I’m not quite sure now. We concluded that to help our Nuba people, we would have to participate politically. We had to be present; we had to be practical in the political arena. There were two things we wished to tackle, because they will always work against us: religious differences and tribal differences. Of course we have a lot of tribes. (Over fifty. NotE) And we have Christians, Muslims, non-Muslims and so on. The main result of that conference was the foundation of Komolo, or Youth movement, through which we wanted to work for the political rights of the Nuba.

Were the youth involved in Komolo from many different tribes?
Well, the main group was around Kadugli, and then Dilling. The Kowalib were with us, Heiban also, and we tried of course to penetrate other areas, but it was difficult. It was only the eastern Jebels where we were not present. Tagali, Abasya, and so on. Mostly we were in the University of Khartoum of course, so our activity was limited until we graduated. Then we started to operate in our areas, around Kadugli and other places.

Abdel Aziz al Hillu was already a member of Komolo at that time? (Abdel Aziz Adam al Hillu succeeded Yousif Kuwa as governor and commander of the SPLA area in the Nuba Mountains. NotE)
Yes, he was my deputy in the university. But not in the Komolo outside. I met him only in Khartoum University, but since then of course we were friends.

Were there no Nuba politicians at all?
In 1964, there was the General Union of the Nuba, or GUN. I remember we participated in lectures in 1965, when I was in the higher secondary school. Especially the students in the University of Khartoum were active in GUN. The party succeeded to have ten chairs in the parliament. The funny thing is: before 1964 there were these traditional parties, like Umma and the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party. NotE). For every election they used to import candidates from Khartoum and El Obeid to the Nuba Mountains, who would come with things and ask for votes.

You mean that they gave people presents to vote for them?
Money or whatever, yes. They would take the votes, and then never appear again until the next elections.

They never did anything for the Nuba?
No, no, not at all. They didn’t even know who the Nuba were, because they came from different areas. So after the October revolution of 1964, and the establishment of General Union of the Nuba, the members of GUN decided that the Nuba should stop these import candidates; we had to elect our own people. And that is when the elections of 1965 came. GUN gained ten seats at the cost of the Umma and the DUP. Since then, there has been a lot of conflict between these parties and the Nuba.

How was your relationship with Father Philip?
Yes, Philip Abbas Gabboush! He was the head of the Nuba Union. I looked at him as a godfather at that time. He did a lot of good for the Nuba.

Did he teach you what politics is about?
Not in classes and so on, just by practice.

You went back to Kadugli in 1980?
Yes, I worked as a teacher in Kadugli Higher Secondary School. It was a chance for us to recruit the young intellectuals, because most of them were working as teachers at that time, especially in the Nuba Mountains. Usually they had no other ambition than to have a bicycle, a good pair of trousers and a shirt, to follow the parties and the girls and so on. No interest in politics, none at all. They were our first target, and we started to tell them: “This is our country: if we do not participate ourselves, who is going to work for us?”

It was all clandestinely?

And you met at houses of Komolo members?
Yes of course, we just saw who could be relied upon.

It must have been dangerous.
Well, not that much really. And our chance came soon, in 1981, when Sudan was divided into regions and there should be elections for the Regional Parliaments. Kordofan became a region, so that was a good opportunity for us. We concentrated our campaign on the youth. They didn’t care what was going on, but they were a big number. In each house you would find three to four, five youth. The older people already had their own orientation; if some of them were willing to participate or to help, we had nothing against them of course, but generally we just concentrated on the youth.

By youth you mean young men?
Young men, yes – and girls. We told them: there is no difference between boys and girls: this is our country, and all of us have to participate. It was really a good policy I think, because I won the election in Kadugli. So I went to El Obeid (The capital of Kordofan. NotE) as a representative of Kadugli constituency. There were other Nuba, three or four. I was elected Deputy Assembly Speaker in the Regional Body.

I understood you had many clashes with the governor?
From day one! In fact even before we went to the assembly body. In a meeting of all the representatives of Southern Kordofan we concluded that in the past Northern Kordofan used to take all our rights. We thought we had a chance now to have equality, or at least to have equal chances.

There were five positions in the assembly: the spokesman with the deputy, then the chairman of the assembly and his deputy, and then the government representative. So we said: “If the spokesman from the assembly body is from Northern Kordofan, the deputy should be from Southern Kordofan.” Okay? But then the assembly body chairman should be from Southern Kordofan and the deputy from Northern Kordofan. Of course, for the position of government representative, they had the right to choose whomever. That was what we agreed upon as representatives of Southern Kordofan.

But when we came to El Obeid, we were told that both the spokesman and the assembly body chairman would be from Northern Kordofan and only the deputies would be from Southern Kordofan. So we told them our position. Then I was called by the governor: “Ya agui, this is how we have decided to do it: why are you objecting?” I told him: “It is not me who is objecting; I am just saying what we have agreed to as a group. I think that if we could do it the way we propose, it would give us a good start – at least with a good will.”

First he plainly refused, and then he said: “We have to go for elections for that matter, in the assembly body.” We agreed; we made the elections, and the candidate of Northern Kordofan became assembly body chairman instead of me. I congratulated him and I told him: “Our objections should not be taken as something personal. That was our stand and we put it, but we’re ready to co-operate. The most important thing is the work for our people.”

Strangely enough, after three days, we discovered that we had been cheated. The assembly body met before the parliament itself. And in the elections, I remember, I had 24 votes, and the candidate from Northern Kordofan had 26. One, the spokesman was neutral; that made 51. On the third day in the parliament, the minutes of that assembly body meeting came out. And it showed that the first day one member had not been there – and that was number 48!

He made the difference you mean?
A big difference! How could there have been 50 votes when there were only 48 representatives, of whom one was missing? Of course peopled started to say: “Oh, we have been cheated, we ismudea, wowowo-,” they wanted to make a big issue out of it. But when they came to me, I said: “It is our own fault, we should have been more careful. Since the whole thing has gone, we have to work, no problem.”

But others continued, out of party motivations, and they wrote a message to the governor. They even included my name. So I was called again by the governor: “Oh, why are you making a lot of problems and troubles?” I asked him what was wrong. He said: “You signed with the people who are objecting!” I denied, and he said: “But your name is there!” I said: “Well, if my name is there, the question is: have I signed? I never saw this letter before.” And so on.

There were continuous problems, and we were always accused of being racialist and this and that and. a lot of problems. In 1983, when there was a re-election of governors, we fall apart with the governor and I went back to being just a representative of Kadugli constituency.

Was there any collaboration with other parties?
Well, there was some co-operation. But of course it was not so clear because all political parties were banned.

What were the objectives at the time?
We thought our area was backward – there was no comparison between Southern Kordofan and Northern Kordofan or any other part of the country. We wanted some equality, some services, so that people could feel that they were belonging to the same country.

Did you feel that is was possible?
It wasn’t possible, because whenever you talked, you would be – as I said – described as a racialist, a separatist, a this and that and always they would try to find something to condemn you for. And that is why we were enthusiastic to read the SPLA manifesto of 1983, which talked about fighting for a united Sudan, for equality and share of power, share of economy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of practising culture. That is what made us join the SPLA in 1984. We were disappointed with the situation.

You had to go somewhere to join, you had to have some contacts.?

Were there people, in Kadugli for example, who were involved?
In Khartoum. We had a meeting of the Komolo. After going through the manifesto, I was appointed to go and see the possibility of joining. I was told to go alone and report afterwards. And this is what happened. I went to Khartoum, there were people there who helped me to Ethiopia, and I joined the SPLA in Addis Ababa.

Did you discuss the matter with Doctor John Garang himself?
Sure. When I went there, of course I met him. I told him that we, as an organisation in the Nuba Mountains, had decided to join the SPLA, if there weren’t any restrictions or something like that. “And since you are calling for a New Sudan, a new united Sudan,” I said, “we from our side have no objection to join you.” And he welcomed us very much.

Would you say you are friends with Garang?
Ya, after that. Of course that was the first time I met him. But I think he is a friend, ya. Sometimes, when somebody has power, the friendship has. One has to be a bit cautious.

But I understand you trust him?
Very much – and he trusts me also.

Did you follow military training in Ethiopia after you joined?
My military training was in 1986, 1987. (In another interview he said it was from October1985 to December 1986, which is more likely to be correct. NotE)

So you did other things before that?
Yes. My first assignment was to represent the SPLA in Southern Yemen; I opened the office there. Then I was sent to Kenya, to tie relations with the Kenyan government. After that, I came back.

That was your assignment: to make contact with the governments of Yemen and Kenya?
No, the Yemen office was already established, I just became the representative. And actually my next assignment was not to make the relation with the Kenyan government, but just to go to Nairobi. At that time the tribal identity of the Movement was a big issue. Questions like Dinka Bahr al Ghazhal versus Dinka Equatoria, or the Movement being a Dinka movement and so on. Doctor John told me: “You go and make rallies, to explain that this is our Movement, that it has nothing to do with the propaganda of it being a Dinka movement.” And this is exactly what I did.

Were you successful?
Very successful, ya. Because I was from the Nuba Mountains people listened to me differently than to the others. And of course it was a matter of logic.

So after this campaign in Nairobi you went back to Ethiopia?
No, I went to Cuba: political school and military school. That was for the senior officers. (Yousif Kuwa was a member of the High Command of the SPLA. NotE)

Was it tough?
Not very. But it was good to see how the people were living there; it was a good experience. We moved around to other provinces during the holidays of political school. But during the military training we usually spent two weeks inside, only to go to another place for some entertainment every second weekend.

Did the political education influence you a lot?
Sure, sure. But it was mainly about the armed struggle.

You returned in 1987?
Well, we had some forces in the training centre, and I was given my first battalion: Volcano Battalion. I led it to the Nuba Mountains, together with Abdel Aziz, who was my adjutant.

Had it been Abdel Aziz who led the first task force that entered the Mountains in 1986?
No. In fact there were two battalions that went to penetrate the Mountains in 1986, but they existed of very few people. There were some Nuba people in the Abushok Battalion. They went with Awad Karim Kuku, Telefon Kuku and Yusuf Karra, and in the Mountains they found Yunis Abu Sudur. So when we arrived in 1987, they had already established a centre, and they had recruited some men. By the time we went in, the first group came out: almost one thousand men. They were from different areas, but the majority was from the Moro hills.

How many men were with you in Volcano?
We had two battalions; around six hundred men actually, because there had been desertion of course, on the way to the South.

What happened when you entered?
We entered on the twenty-fifth (of June. NotE), during the night, to avoid contact with the enemy or anybody else. We came through a place called Tabuli and from there we marched upto a placed called ar-Rimla, where we arrived at six in the morning. By the time we were settling some people came to warn us that the army in Talodi took its water from here, and that they may come after some times – with a tractor.

We chose to decoy them; to run with an ambush, so that we could take this tractor. But unfortunately, they had learned of our presence. They came in a lorry with a big force, and they started shooting at us. That was the first battle in my life, in ar-Rimla. We fought, we fought, and we killed eleven of them, or something like that; the rest ran away. But of course, they left the lorry behind. After the battle we continued to Serif al Jammus.

How did the Nuba people respond?
Oh, I wish I had had a video camera at that time. No, no, no, no, no, no, you can not imagine it now. I just compare it with films about the Roman Empire, when the legions, after winning a battle, come to Rome in triumph. You see people come and.

Actually they were afraid at the beginning. But some of them approached, and then they realised that these were their sons. They told the other people and then everybody rushed to his house to take whatever: water, milk, marissa (sorghum beer. NotE), whatever. They came meeting us in groups, and we were marching and people came running from different directions. It was fantastic, just fantastic.

You went to Serif al Jammus?
Yes, we went to Serif al Jammus and from there I went upto Achiron. That was my headquarters. The recruits were there too, and we started to move the number of them to the South. We stayed for two months, and then our ammunition became a problem.

When we moved from our training centre in Ethiopia we were told: “You will have your ammunition in front.” We went in front, then it was still in front, in front, in front, until we reached Fariang. (Place just south of the Nuba Mountains. NotE) We waited there, but after a while we said: “If we stay here without ammunition until the rainy season is finished, it will be very difficult to enter the Mountains.” So we had to go in with only sixty bullets average and hope that the ammunition would come soon.

Of course Riek Machar was the SPLA commander of Bentiu at the time. He had promised to bring the ammunition upto Fariang, but for reasons I don’t know he refused. He never did it and he said: “You come and take your ammunition from Bentiu.” I had to go back to Fariang, and then send soldiers of Fariang to Bentiu. I couldn’t send my own soldiers, because the majority of my forces were from the South. they would have just continued home.

So I left Abdel Aziz behind with some forces and came down to Fariang. We stayed there while those of Fariang went to Bentiu and brought back the ammunition. And now, wickedly, Riek convinced Dr John that we should go and attack Higliga. It had nothing to do with my mission, but instead of asking me for my opinion Rik just gave the orders to attack Higliga. I told him: “I am going to fulfil your orders, but I don’t think it’s a good idea and I am sure the army will disperse.” And that is what happened.

As soon as we told the troops we were going to Higliga, everybody took his things; they all went. We remained with our Nuba guys. At the same time, Abdel Aziz already reached us with some recruits. After the first battle at ar-Rimla, of course the government tried to drive us out of the Mountains. While I was in Fariang, the army attacked Achiron with the artillery, forcing Abdel Aziz to evacuate. Since there was no way for us to go back to the Nuba Mountains, we continued, with the rest of the recruits, to Ethiopia.

How was that journey to Ethiopia?
I don’t know in what sense?

Well, it’s not like you walk from here across the street!
Of course! Ya. But actually, when we came, we had to take a much longer road. We came through Pochala, Pibor, Bor, Fariang, and then we went in the Nuba Mountains. Luckily enough, by the time we came out, there was an agreement between SPLA and Anya Nya II forces (a resumption of Anya Nya I, formed before the SPLA with which it joined forces in 1983, later to split again to join the government. NotE) to stop the hostilities. So instead of going the long way, we just went through Adok – this is in the Shilluk area – to Atar, Khor Fulus, we followed that route upto Ethiopia, and it took us one month only.

Were the recruits prepared for a walk of one month?
Of course some didn’t know where we were going, and others. Well, you know – they were told: “Oh, we will reach, we will reach.” until we reached, ya. But of course, the first recruits went that long way.

I’m interested to know more about the training in Ethiopia.
Well, there was a training centre in Bilfam where all the recruits were trained. From there they would be divided into battalions and divisions, and then they were assigned. So our people were trained there, and then, in January 1988, we started going back, with six battalions. This was the New Kush Division.

I heard from many soldiers that the training in Ethiopia was really severe.
Ya, sometimes it was. Discipline and sometimes this question of food – well, a lot of problems. But there was no way out of course, it wasn’t a matter of accepting the circumstances or not: they just had to do it.

What happened when you re-entered the Mountains in 1989?
Well, yanni: we came, we occupied some places, we fought, we started to establish ourselves in the Nuba Mountains. And this is what has been done upto now.

Surely, there must be more you can tell me about it?
It’s a long story of course. Abdel Aziz took five of the battalions in front and he entered the Mountains in March. I came behind with one battalion, but the first forces entered in March. Now the way they entered, from the South, they would have to pass through Lake Abiad. But at that time, the Baggara Arabs used to concentrate their cows around the Lake. We knew they were there and the soldiers had strict orders not to touch them, not to quarrel them – because we had nothing to quarrel them for.

So when our forces approached Lake Abiad, they decided to walk the whole night to bypass it. And they did bypass it until in the morning they reached a point of water, called Hafir Nigeria, where they wanted to have a bit of rest. But the Baggara militia had found their trace and they had followed it until they came and attacked our soldiers in Hafir Nigeria.

You see? This is one of the things we are always trying to say, because we are often accused of being against the Arabs and so on, while that is not true at all. When the militia attacked them, of course, our people fought. The Baggara went back with their casualties and our forces continued to Fama.

There, the government army knew that our forces were coming. It had two battalions, called Volcano One and Volcano Two. (Not to be confused with the SPLA Volcano Battalion that entered the Mountains in 1987. NotE) Volcano One, I think, was in Fama. It clashed with our forces there. Our forces fought them; they even destroyed a tank and captured an anti-tank gun. Actually they almost destroyed Volcano One.

From Fama our forces went to Korongo Abdallah. Korongo is two hours walking from Kadugli, so the government army didn’t like that. It started to collect all its forces. And then one day they started to shell Korongo. From five in the morning upto the evening: shelling from far away. With the one-twenty, with the Howitzer and so on. They were shelling the whole day. And of course, anybody who heard the shelling would say: “Oh, there is nobody left in Korongo.”

But that was not all: the government army went to the people of Kaylak – Kaylak is south of Korongo, there are Baggara Arab militias there – they went and told them: “Ya, Korongo is finished! You just go there and collect whatever you can find, whether cows or whatever is there. All the people of Korongo are finished!” But actually, in spite of all the shelling, nothing serious had happened.

No damage done at all?
No, not at all; very few shells hit anything.

Korongo lies on a U-shaped hill, okay? And our forces were up there, all along this U-shaped hill. To their surprise they saw the Arab militia coming, in a very big number, with their wives singing and… Some carried guns, others just spears – and they fell in that ambush: they were killed very badly.

When he entered Korongo, Abdel Aziz had found one of the Baggara Arabs there. He told him to go and tell his people that our forces had nothing against the Baggara, and that they should not support the government. The man went with his son, and according to the information we got, he talked to the people. He said: “These people, don’t undermine them. They are not against you, so there is no need to go and fight them.” Then they described him as a coward – if he didn’t want to fight he should take his children and his sons and go. He took his sons and left. And these people came to their fate.

Our forces in Korongo endured a lot of attacks from the government army, and each time they repulsed them. But because it was a continuous thing, they decided to leave Korongo. They wanted to go to the Moro hills, because our supporters there were larger in number and it is a bit far from Kadugli.

They needed support of the people for food, and shelter and things like that?
For everything, yes. So, they decided to go to Moro, and they moved. Unfortunately the government army was informed and our forces fell into a very big ambush. Of course they were dispersed but in the end they came together in the Moro hills. They reorganised themselves, and then they started to distribute the battalions to different areas. They took some places, like Regifi and Umdulu – Umdulu is Moro land, Regifi is in Otoro. They met little resistance, because except for Kadugli, there were no armed troops stationed in the Mountains. Only policemen.

After Abdel Aziz had retreated to Moro, the government responded very heavily on.
Korongo ya. Because, of course, it was near to Kadugli.

Did the people of Korongo blame the SPLA for their problems?
I don’t know.

You have no idea?
I have no idea. But of course, some people stayed, some joined the government and so on.

When did you come in?
Well, I came to Fariang in April, when there was no water between Fariang and the Nuba Mountains. I was advised not to continue, because the militia would make ambushes at the few places of water. So we stayed in Fariang.

Now Hamad Abdel Karim, the Nuba commander of Volcano Two (one of the battalions of the government army; see above. NotE), was ordered to attack me in Fariang. But since the fighting had begun, according to him almost forty percent of his forces were out of action. So he said: “Most of my soldiers are wounded and some have died – I cannot go to Fariang unless I have new forces.” Nevertheless they insisted that he should go, but he just closed his mind and went back to Kadugli. He was arrested and put in prison, but then the coup d’état of Bashir came. (30 June 1989. NotE)This is where he was released.

We were in Lake Abiad, at three o’clock daytime, when we heard that there was a coup in Khartoum, that Omar al-Bashir is the leader of this coup and so on. That night we entered the Nuba Mountains.

Did the coup divert the attention from the Nuba Mountains; was it an advantage for you?
Not at all. It didn’t change anything. Maybe it was good for the South, because when al-Bashir came to power they declared a six months ceasefire for the South. But that wasn’t extended to the Nuba Mountains; in fact we have been fighting all the time.

You met up with Abdel Aziz in Moro?
Ya, in Limun, where he had made his headquarters. From there I went to Changaro and I made my headquarter there. After some times, Abdel Aziz took a battalion, and he came to Korongo again. Then Ismael Khamis took another three battalions to the western Jebels, and he established himself there. That was still in 1989.

Was there a strategy of how to penetrate the Nuba Mountains, where to go first or where to.
Yes of course! We had supporters in the western Jebels, so we planned to go there. And they are there upto now, despite all the efforts of the Sudanese government.

Especially in 1992, when they recruited 35.000 men of the army, militia and mujahadiin, for the Tullushi battle. They gave us a very hard time, but our forces resisted. The government army stayed until May, when the rain started to fall. (The siege of Tullushi started in december1991. NotE) They saw the danger of being there during the rainy season, so they withdrew, after making a lot of noise: “Oh, we have cleaned the Nuba Mountains of the rebels.” It was a lot of lies.

The Tullushi battle is legendary among the Nuba; can you tell me more about it?
Well, it was very big ya, but I cannot give details, because I was not there. Mohamed Juma’a was the commander of Tullushi battle. Of course I was commanding from the headquarters, but I had other things to take care of.

The Tullushi battle took place after the break-away of those of Riek (In August 1991 Riek Machar and other senior SPLA leaders had turned against John Garang, causing a split within the SPLA. NotE), and we had been cut off from the South. As a result, our logistics were very few, and I had to be very economical. When they made noise, I just gave them two or three boxes. And they would go and fight with it, and sometimes, of course, they captured ammunition from the government. They captured a lot of armament in the Tullushi battle. And I remember we killed a lot of Iranians.

Did you see their bodies?
Well, I saw their skeletons.

Although you were the main responsible person for the whole operation, most of the military activities were carried out.
By the commanders Like Abdel Aziz and Ismael khamis With Mohamed Juma’a yes, and the rest. It is true.

How was the working relationship with these commanders?
Well, since we entered in 1989 the relation was very good. And we worked in harmony until the split of Riek, when some people started to change their mind, like Awad Karim Kuku and Yunis Abu Sudur.

Awad Karim Kuku had joined Riek Machar in 1986. He had come with him to the Bentiu area, had been with him all this time, and he fought a lot of battles at the side of the Nuer, Anya Nya II especially. Awad Karim believed that the Nuer were more courageous than the Dinka – they had no fear of fighting. Okay? So when he heard that I declared my support to Garang, immediately after the mutiny, Awad Karim wasn’t happy. But he didn’t discuss it with me. I think he went and discussed it with those of Abu Sudur.

Yunis Abu Sudur had a different attitude altogether: he didn’t want to fight anymore. He thought there was a chance for him to have a good position, because when he was in the government army, his commander was Omer al-Bashir. So these men came together. They wanted to mobilize officers and forces loyal to them, in order to confront me.

Of course our intelligence discovered it and they warned me. I did my best actually to avoid problems. Right at the beginning, I called them and I said: “This is a very bad situation and we don’t know the outcome. But the important thing is that we should stick together in all cases. We have to stick together and we have to treat our people well, because if we are cut off, or if the whole thing collapses there, we have to be with our people here until the day comes that we can make an agreement with the Sudanese government or whatever.” That was my advice to them.

But as I said, each had his own ideas. Awad Karim, I think, believed that Riek would take over the SPLA, and he thought he had a lot of supporters here and there.

Did they themselves have a lot of support?
No, they just chose some officers here and there and NCO’s (noncommissioned officers. NotE). In the end I arrested them and we arrested those who were active: officers or NCO’s.

What happened to them?
Well, I put them in the prison. Then I took them to Fariang, out of the Nuba Mountains, so that there would be no problems inside. From there other forces were to escort them to Bahr al-Ghazal; I wanted them to go to the South, to stay there. I sent their wives to join them and they were marched off.

Unfortunately, there was this disease in Fariang: kala azar. (Visceral leishmaniasis; transmitted by sandflies; fever, weight loss, swelling of spleen and liver, anaemia; deadly if untreated. NotE) A lot of officers died of kala azar while they were walking to Bahr al Ghazal. Those who did reach Bahr al Ghazal, were put in the prison there. After some times Dr. John said: “We have to forgive them, whatever happened.” So those who had survived were released and they went to the South, to Kaya and so on.

Later, I think those of Awad and Yunis involved themselves with somebody called Abu Khazim, from Darfur. There were monitors between Uganda and Sudan, and they were trying to take them hostage or to drive them away. I think the security knew this and took them to prison. When I went to the convention (the 1994 SPLA convention in Chukudum. NotE), I was told that some people had broken out of prison. They had wanted to escape to Uganda first, but they ran into our forces and clashed with them. Some died on the spot; the others changed their direction to Zaire. But our forces there had closed the road and they clashed with them also. And this is where I knew Awad and Yunis were killed.

Could you describe the situation in the Nuba Mountains in 1990 and 1991?
In those years, the hunger was the most dangerous. Actually it convinced me that hunger is the most dangerous enemy. Yanni, we can fight with our enemies, against tanks, against what, but we cannot fight hunger.

What caused the hunger?
Shortage of rain. It was really a very bad time; a lot of people were suffering. And then some said that they wanted to go to the government.

They were expecting food from the government?
Well of course, on the government side there were relief camps from the UN. Meanwhile the government was refusing any relief to come to us.

What did you say to these people?
I told them it was better they went, instead of dying of hunger.

So they went?
Of course they went.

At some point you entered into negotiation with the government, is that right?
Well, actually it was initiated in 1990 by one of the ministers called Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa. He sent me a message, trying to tell me: “Yes, you have a problem, but this problem has nothing to do with the South. We are ready to sit with you as Nuba and solve this problem alone, without being part of the South,” and so on.

I replied to him that this was really the policy of the colonial powers: divide and rule. We are not claiming anything specific. Yes, it is true, we have our specific problems, but the problem is general. If we can solve the whole problem, then our problems automatically will be solved. I don’t think we can solve the Nuba problems without the Southern problem. And if we don’t want to fight the government, what do we do if the South is still fighting? That would mean we have to fight the South – either way we keep fighting. So, that was the first message from him and I replied.

Then, when those of Riek broke away, they tried again. A test of course; my reply was the same, but this time they also came through the governor of Kadugli. We exchanged a lot of messages, and he sent some of our people, who told me: “Oh, this is a good governor; he’s better than the previous one; people can make a deal with him.” I told them that I didn’t believe that, because he’s a governor, not the president. If one of my officers somewhere wouldn’t go along with my policy, I couldn’t leave him to his post.”

But they insisted: “No, he is good; let us try,” and so on. So I said: “Well, if that is the case: we have our grievances with this government. When this government came to power, they declared a ceasefire for six months in the South. They didn’t do it, even for a day, in the Nuba Mountains; upto now they are allowing relief to go to the South, they are not allowing relief to come to us. So how do I trust such a government and how do we deal with such a government? At least we need to know that they really mean what they are saying. If they mean it, then, at least they have to let the relief come. ” And they said: “Okay, let us sit and see whether the relief comes,” and so on and so forth. This is why we had the Tabanya meeting.

Representatives of Khartoum and of the governor of Kadugli came to Tabanya and met with our people. One of the issues was to allow free traffic between the government area and our places. The representatives agreed to it: everyone could go and come back freely. The people in our area had a lot of problems: they were lacking salt and so many other things, so they rushed to the town to buy whatever they needed – and then they were forbidden to leave. We stopped the whole thing at once.

When did the population start to abandon their villages in the plains or down the hills to flee up the mountains?
On their own, or when they are forced?

When they were forced.
Of course this is during the attacks and during the military burning of farms and so on.

The years following 1989, there were a number of attacks from the government and the Popular Defence Forces on villages throughout the Mountains: how did the SPLA respond to these attacks?
Well, actually the attacks on the villages didn’t start in 1989. At the beginning they used to come and fight us wherever we were, as SPLA. But the Tullushi battle in 1992 made them realize how difficult it would be for them to dislodge us. Then they started trying to take the people away from us, to drain us from the population. That is the policy they have been using upto today. Instead of engaging the SPLA forces directly, they go to undefended villages, surround them and take all the people to what they call ‘peace villages’.

How would you describe these peace villages?
Well, I didn’t see them, but what I heard is that they are places where people are collected. Sometimes the women are chosen to work in the houses, and men are taken to the agricultural schemes to work there. Children are taken to Koranic schools, so that they become Islam-oriented and so on. This is what I heard – beside the other abuses that are committed inside these peace camps.

There’s something called ‘peace from within’.
Ya, from 1992 also, they started to call an-Nafir as-Shaabi (literally ‘the co-operation of the people’. NotE). This meant that they were trying to persuade certain chiefs to go to their tribes and tell them: “Oh, you better come to the government.” They would give them some salt and sugar and other things that we lacked at that time, so they could attract people to follow them to the government areas or to the peace camps. That has been the policy of the government ever since they felt that they couldn’t easily finish the rebellion in the Nuba Mountains.

Has it been a successful policy?
To some extent, yes. First of all: since we entered the Nuba Mountains, until 1993, there was no tribalist attitude among the Nuba. But due to this policy, feelings of tribal rivalry were revived among the SPLA soldiers and the population. The government targeted almost every village. They would send a chief or somebody from the elite to go and talk: “You are this tribe, why do you follow of X or Z? The war is not good, we should stop it, and so on.”

What did you do to address it?
Nothing, except talking to the people: that this is the government policy of tribalism, of divide and rule and so on.

You travelled a lot to meet the people?
Sure, sure. Since 1989 I used to travel from place to place, to tell the people why we are fighting and what is our goal. I don’t think there is a place where I did not go. Maybe a small village, but. Sometimes a lot of villagers gathered in one place so that I could address them all at once. This way I have been visiting the whole area that was under our control.

You’ve been quoted saying: “I have always been more involved in politics than in fighting.”
Well, first of all, I do believe a politicised soldier is far better than just a normal soldier. And politicised people will know why they are fighting; they know why they have to resist or why they have to face these difficulties and so on. You can say I am rather a politician than a soldier. So I make rallies with the army and with the people.

And since 1990 we have been organizing the people so they feel participants in the struggle. We started in Nagorban, where I was staying. The people chose their representatives on a village level, payam (group of villages. NotE) level , and county level. The first year was a test, and when it proved to work very good, in 1991 we started to establish it in other places we controlled. One year later we held a census: not less than 400.000 people were living under our administration.

Is there a relationship between the hunger you talked about and setting up a democratic administration?
There is no relation. I thought we had to make people participate, especially the citizens. That is why we were trying to organize them: so they would feel that what was going on is not a military thing or an SPLA thing; it is our thing, our SPLA. That was the idea behind organizing them, and it had nothing to do with hunger, hunger is a different issue altogether.

How were the representatives chosen?
We called al the villagers together in a village congress, so that they chose their committee. The committee is a matter of eleven members, which should include the chief and a women’s representative – the rest they can choose freely. This is how each village chooses their representatives.

Then ten villages compose a payam. The representatives of these ten villages compose a base for the payam, and they too will select eleven from among them as payam administrators and representatives. Put it in mind that here also there should be a representative for women, and that the chief of the people’s court should be there. So, that is the Payam.

Five payams compose a county and the representatives of the five payams of course elect the county council from among them.

It must have been difficult; there were not many educated Nuba in the Mountains.
Of course, upto now there are only few educated people, but I don’t think it was that difficult. First of all, we wanted them to feed the army. And this had nothing to do with education. We wanted to try if they would be able to see and to tackle their problems themselves. If not, they could always hand it over to others and so on and so forth. It didn’t need any intellectual thinking, just common sense really.

But the people had little experience with ideas like democracy?
Ya, well, no. I think most of the Nuba had experience with a more traditional type of democracy. In the past, when there was any problem in the village, the elders of the village would come together to discuss it, and they would come out with some decision – which the village would follow. So it was not that strange.

The difficulty actually came as a result of the fear of the citizens from the soldiers. When the soldiers first came they were a bit harsh; they solved things with force and so on, so that was the difficulty at the beginning. But we encouraged the civilians and we always supported them, until they became more self-confident.

You say the soldiers were harsh: how did they behave?
Well, as soldiers. Most of them were okay, but soldiers always look down at civilians: even if they are educated, they are just civilians. And this was always the problem: when a soldier wanted something and someone wouldn’t give it to him, he could just take it. But mainly they were okay, especially in the Nuba Mountains. Some of course tried to use their weapons to steal and -, yanni, we executed them.

You said the people were suffering, and hunger drove them to the government side. Was this one of the developments that led upto forming the Advisory Council?
Once again: the hunger had nothing to do with governance or organisation. The Advisory Council met in September 1992: there was no hunger.

Hunger was no issue in 1992?
Not at all, ya. The hunger was in 1990, 1991

I had the impression that.
No, no, no, no, no, nothing at all. What led to the Advisory Council was a completely different issue.

I told you there were people who wanted to make a coup – or whatever you may call it. I had to arrest them and take them to the South. But of course I said: “If our people do not want to fight, it will be very difficult to push them. So it is better I take their opinion and see whether they want to continue fighting or not, after this period.” That was the idea behind the Advisory Council.

In 1992 we had all the organisations formed, including the different counties, so all county members were members in this Advisory Council; all the task force commanders; all the chiefs; representatives of the Christians and Muslims, and so on. We had around 200 members, and that is how we held the first Advisory Council. The meeting went on for four days.

The first two days actually I did the talking. About the history of the Nuba since the Kushite kingdom, all along, until the independence. How, after independence, the General Union of the Nuba was established and then how Komolo came, how people looked at the SPLA manifesto and how we joined the SPLA. I talked about what we gained all this time, and what we lost.

What had the Nuba gained – and what had they lost?
Taking up arms had given the Nuba a status they didn’t have before. They became more respected than before. Each government would try to have a Nuba minister – this had never been seen before. The Nuba people had even started to feel some self-confidence, they no longer feared being Nuba, and so on. Which was a very big gain. And of course, the losses were this war, the destruction, the death and so on and so forth. But this is the price of freedom.

So, after finishing I told them: “I am responsible for all that happened before, upto this day: I can take the whole responsibility. But from today on, it will be us to decide. Either we continue fighting, and this would be our responsibility – or we stop fighting, and this would be our responsibility also. And after that, we will let the individuals take their decision: If we decide to fight and some prefer to go to the government, they are free to do so. And if we decide to surrender and some want to go to the South and fight, they are also free to do so.” With that, I opened the discussion, and it went on for two days.

A very hot discussion, because some suggested that we should make peace with the government, and others did not want to stop fighting.

What were the arguments in favour of peace with the government?
Well, that there were a lot of dead, that there was hunger, that people were dying, they were naked, there were a lot of diseases, and so on. But I remember there were two women, who really stood up and argued against this.

They said: “Well, if it is a matter of death: you can die on your bed. If it is a matter of diseases: diseases have been always there, whether in peacetime or in war. If it is a matter of nakedness: our people usually were naked before knowing the clothes and so on. But we have been fighting for a goal. We’re halfway down the road: it is better that we continue instead of just leaving our goal halfway down. And this actually turned most of the people around. Especially men felt ashamed. And on the end the Council voted for continuation of the fight.

These ladies: were they members of the Komolo?
No, they were members of the counties, the women’s representatives.

They can be both, I mean.
After joining the SPLA, we didn’t tackle this question of the Komolo’s. Those who were Komolo’s were Komolo’s, those who are not -, we are all treated the same. It depends on what work you are doing.

One of the people who were for peace with the government was Telefon Kuku.
Ya, Telefon actually was the leader of our delegation to the Tabanya peace talks. I was receiving reports saying that he had several meetings with the head of the government’s delegation – whom I knew by the way – without having anybody with him. But what they discussed and what was going on exactly was not clear, so I couldn’t do anything as long as we didn’t have any evidence.

He only came out with his ideas during the Advisory Council. Actually, nobody was angry, it just gave a good discussion. But when the people voted for continuation of the fighting, Telefon got angry. Of course he had no right to be angry, because this was the people’s will. I think from then on, he started to have his own way of thinking.

In 1993 I was told to go to the Abuja peace talks (in Nigeria. NotE), so I went out. And of course, by then we had a lot of problems. As I told you, from 1992 onwards we had a difficulty of logistics. So when I went, I was trying my best to have some logistics to the Nuba Mountains.

The only possibility to get it there was by plane, but at that time, no plane had come to the Nuba Mountains or to Fariang. There was no airstrip in the Nuba Mountains, and whenever I would tell someone about the Nuba Mountains, he would think this was a government held area, and so on and so forth. Anyway, I had great difficulty in convincing some pilots to take these things to Fariang.

Once actually we agreed with somebody: he said it was okay; he was going to do this and that. So because Telefon was in Buram and Buram is near to Fariang I sent a message to him, that he should send forces to Fariang to collect the ammunition. At the last moment we made a mistake: the ammunition should have been covered, but it wasn’t. When the pilot came and he saw what the cargo was, he refused to bring it to Fariang.

Of course the soldiers went there, they waited and nothing was brought. We tried another pilot, he agreed. And then I think the first one came to the second one to tell him: “You are going to take ammunition,” and he too refused. We had a lot of difficulties. I remember we had even bought a small plane ourselves, that we had wanted to use to take at least a little, so that the soldiers in the Mountains would feel we were doing something for them. Unfortunately that plane came down and burned. A lot of difficulties.

Then he started to blame me: saying I am cheating them, I’m deceiving them, we’re deceivers, a lot of things.

That was Telefon?
That was Telefon.

Then, there was the SPLA convention, which we wanted to hold in Chukudum, in the South. We asked for some representatives from the Nuba Mountains, but Telefon discouraged the people to come, especially from his county. He said: “If there is a plane, we will go. If not, people shouldn’t walk all this way,” and so on.

Tabanya was his home area?
Buram, yes. So a lot of his people didn’t come, although the rest came, walking for seventy days to reach the area and so on. Instead Telefon wrote a very bad letter to me, describing the Movement(Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM. NotE) as a weak movement and a lot of other bad description. I felt that he couldn’t have said this unless he had a pact with some government forces.

It sounds as if he were very disappointed?
Well, I don’t know for what he would have been disappointed – unless because people didn’t go along with his ideas, or because of this question of ammunition and so on. That can not justify what he did. After a while, we heard of the army attacking and even occupying Buram. And Telefon was not serious about fighting them. So I gave orders to arrest him and put him in the prison.

He was known to be for a peace accord with the government, didn’t you keep a very close watch on him?
At the beginning I didn’t, but when he started to send these messages, actually I said that people should watch him. But of course the one who went there could not. he kept anything.

He was very clever at hiding what he was doing?
I think so.

You left in 1993, to attend the Abuja Conference.
The Abuja Conference, ya. And when I came back, I was assigned to prepare for the First National Liberation Council Meeting of the SPLA. I chaired the committee which was preparing for that, and then, I think the beginning of April 1994, the people came from different areas under SPLA control, whether Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile or the South. Then we had the convention in Chukudum.

Did you also chair the convention?
Yes. After chairing the committee, when we started I was elected as the chairman of the convention.

Would it be fair to say that what you managed to achieve on a smaller scale in the Nuba Mountains, was now going to be applied for the whole of the liberated areas?
Well, almost, this is what has been adopted. Of course, this question of forming self-government there, was going to be adopted as a law in the liberated area.

After the Chukudum convention, you didn’t go back to the Mountains?
Well, I couldn’t go without solving the problem of finding ammunition and getting it there. So we were trying this and that, until at last I managed to get five tons, which we took to the Mountains by plane; this was in May 1995. It was the first time, or the second time -, anyway, this is where we started to have planes going to the Nuba Mountains.

While you were outside the Nuba Mountains, Ismael Khamis was in command?
Ismael was in command, yes. He was responsible for all the current affairs; we only had contact if there was something to go there or to come out. We used long-range radios.

During the same time a new organisation was formed: the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Society.
NRRDO, or NRRDS yes, at that time. The Sudanese Government was still refusing any relief to the Nuba Mountains. The situation was really bad. We only managed because we made a peace agreement with the Missiriya (one of the Baggara tribes. NotE). In 1993 they started to bring some items like salt, sugar, clothes, and shoes. Although it was very dear, because of the need people rushed to buy.

Did they pay with money?
No, it was in kind of cows, whatever. There was no money.

So when I went out in 1993, I met those of the OLS (Operation Lifeline Sudan. NotE) in Nairobi, and I told them about the situation in the Nuba Mountains. They said they believed there was a need for relief there, but they couldn’t go to the Nuba Mountains unless the Government allowed them. Without permission they couldn’t do anything. But they were going to do this and that. Nothing happened.

While they were delivering relief in the South for.
In the South, in the North: OLS was delivering relief everywhere, except in the Nuba Mountains. To deliver relief, there had to be a triple agreement, between the SPLA, the UN and the Government of Sudan. Since the Government was refusing, they couldn’t do anything. Then I remembered those of African Rights: Alex De Waal, Yoanes and others. They came to Nairobi and met with some organisations, they convinced them that they should help the Nuba people clandestinely.

They had already been in the Mountains at that time?
No, not yet. But they collected some money and they made a forum, called NEAR. (Network for East Africa Relief: Norwegian People’s Aid and Christian Aid, African Rights, Medicins Sans Frontieres and New Sudan Council of Churches. NotE) This was the time we thought about making an indigenous NGO (Nongovernmental Organisation. NotE). Because the organisations in NEAR couldn’t go and stay in a situation such as ours, we had to have our own people, who could deliver whatever is brought, and implement it there. This is how NRRDO was formed.

In fact, the idea of forming an indigenous NGO existed before the formation of NEAR. There was a father from the Nuba Mountains – Beshir Ad-Dow; he’s now in America – who suggested it. I told him, “Well, let’s do it.” And I remember we had some Nuba people who wanted to participate in setting up the organisation, but of course they decided that they couldn’t continue with the SPLA. (This is later, after the founding of NRRDS: some members, like Mohamed Haroun and Yunis Domi, joined the government, others went for resettlement abroad. NotE) I told them: “If you want to help your people, this is the place you can do it.” Anyway, they made the constitution.

After the convention I had to come to Nairobi, in order to register the organisation. But there should be a committee of course. Since Beshir had left to America, to continue his studies as he said, I formed a committee, headed by Mohamed Haroun Kafi. In fact all members were people already in Nairobi, so that they didn’t cost us anything – there was no money at that time. After that they became part of NEAR, and it attracted a lot of donors, who gave money and so on and so forth.

So now there was money for NRRDO, but the committee was not elected: it was appointed. So I wanted those of NRRDO to go down to the Nuba Mountains, explain to the people there what NRRDO is and how it works, and ask them to elect the committee that runs the organisation. Mohamed tried to dodge his way out-, actually the majority did so. Only Kodi went down to meet with the people in the Mountains.

In the end they said the Advisory Council should elect the committee, and it was elected that way. Mohamed was assigned to Nafir, so we put Yunis Domi in his place, until. Then, of course, they assigned Neroun (Neroun Philip, present day executive director of NRRDO. NotE). Actually I was told about Neroun; his character and his career, so I advised them to appoint him as the head of NRRDO. This is how Neroun came to take over.

After some times, Mohamed Haroun went over to the Government, followed by Yunis Domi.

Sad story, that one.
Ya, well, not very sad. It’s normal. At least he didn’t take a lot of people with him. They were really only a few people – five or six – who were generally useless. Most of them were in Kakuma, others were in Nairobi. So it wasn’t sad. It would have been sad if the whole population had been divided or something like that, but five, three, four people wasn’t so terrible. They made a lot of propaganda out of it, but there was nothing.

In 1995 you managed to bring in a lot of logistics. Did it help that Abdel Aziz was head of logistics at that time?
Not necessarily, although he was head of logistics, it had nothing to do with Abdel Aziz. At that time he was almost handing over to go to eastern Sudan. And the main problem was transportation.

Meantime, in the Nuba Mountains, Kaluka was making the airstrips. (Osman Jagub Kaluka. NotE)
Kaluka said so?

Yes, he told me that he prepared the first airstrips.
Ya, he wants to make something for himself, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t at all. He was an officer, who was appointed to NRRDO, but I don’t think he was involved in preparing the airstrips. (Kaluka was SRRA secretary at the time, and probably was involved in some way or another. NotE)

We made an airstrip in Karkarai – I think, mainly I was the one. Was that the first one we made? No, the first one was in Tebari. And who did it? But of course: those of Ismael. And then there was Mohamed Kambal, who said he knew a bit about airstrips because he had been working on the airport and so on. So they were the ones who helped. Ya. The first airstrip we used was in Tebari; the second one in Karkarai and then, after that, in so many places.

Did the airstrips attract the attention of the Government army right away?
I don’t know.

I mean: now any airstrip is a target for government offensives.
This is a recent development, of the last two or three years; from 1997 onwards. They said: “Well, we can work out an arrangement with the South concerning its self-determination, but this can’t include the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. But the SPLA said: “No, we can only agree with self-determination is for all of us,” and so on.

Then, the Government took to the strategy of trying to re-occupy the Blue Nile and to close the airstrips in the Nuba Mountains, so it could declare that these areas were no longer part of the rebellion. The Government army fought the SPLA very severely in Blue Nile, but it was repulsed and defeated badly. So they came to the Mountains.

Actually, they sent seven convoys; they were repulsed. Then they started using long-range artillery to shell the airstrips from a safe distance. This is how they closed the airstrips of Tebari and Karkarai. We moved to Gidel – we had I think two airstrips there, or even three – until 1999, when they succeeded in closing down those airstrips too, with the long-range artillery. But of course we made other airstrips.

You came back in 1995 after an absence of one and a half, two years; how did you find the situation?
Well, I don’t know what I can say, but people were happy that I was back. They thought they had missed me while I was out. A lot of administrative matters and so on.

[I turned of the recorder to go through my notes. Actually I didn’t have many questions left. Maybe there had been events or developments I had never heard or read about, but Yousif couldn’t think of anything he wanted to add to the long story he had told. Instead he talked about his disease and I asked him whether I could record this part of the conversation as well. He had no objections.]

Actually, in 1997, when I came to Holland to talk with Novib (a Dutch NGO. NotE), we passed through London and I had a medical check-up. It was good, but the doctor told me: “You try to have your PSA measured from time to time too,” without telling what this PSA is or what it indicates. So from time to time I went to a doctor for a PSA – he didn’t tell me what it was either, nor what the results indicated or something like that, so I took it to be just a normal routine. (PSA: prostate-specific antigen. PSA blood test results are reported as nanograms per millilitre or ng/ml. Results under 4 ng/ml are usually considered normal. Results over 10 ng/ml are high, and values between 4 and 10 are considered borderline. The higher the PSA level the more likely the presence of prostate cancer. NotE)

In July 1998, I was told to go to Addis Ababa for peace talks. This is the time I started to feel pain in my back. I thought it was only a result of not covering my back during the cold evenings in the Nuba Mountains; I would just take a hot bath to feel a bit of relief and so on. I went to Nairobi, to Addis Ababa, went to Egypt, I came back: the pain was still there. I went to see a doctor to have the PSA measured.

That was in October, and before I had the results I was told to go to Norway. So I went to Norway, and there the pain really became hard to bear. Back in Nairobi the doctor told me: “Oh, it seems that you have cancer, but you have go to a specialist. So I went to the specialist and he told me: “Well, I need to make an operation, and then we will see whether it is cancer or not.”

When he said this, I sent a message to the doctor in London who had done that medical check-up in 1997, and he advised me I’d better come to London. Financially it didn’t matter so much, because in Nairobi they were asking a lot of money for an operation to see whether I might have cancer. In London they made a blood test and an X-ray scanning, and then the doctor told me it is prostate cancer.

I told him: “If it is prostate cancer, can we make an operation? He said: “No, because the cancer has already spread from the prostate,” and he showed me the dots on the X-ray. If it had been just in the prostate, it would have been a bit less problematic, but now that it had spread. So, he told me: “We are going to give you some injections (hormonal drugs to reduce testosterone production. NotE); if it works, that will be good. If not, then we try the alternative: radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”

So, I got the first injection and then was told to go and have another one every three months. I think the response was very good, because at the time I left London, the PSA level was 241, and when I returned after six months, it had dropped to 2.6. I was very pleased and I thought the whole thing was over. But unfortunately, it came back.

In July 1999, when I came to the peace talks in Nairobi, I started to feel my back again. I went to the doctors and I asked them whether it could have anything to do with prostate cancer. All of them were telling: “No, it has nothing to do with that.” I worked with this pain from July upto November. Then I said: “Ya, this is nonsense; let me go to London.” Here they discovered that the prostate cancer had returned.

Again, the treatment started well, and the injections controlled a lot of the cancer cells. Then I think some of these things went out of control. (The cancer was becoming androgen-independent. NotE)For example: if there were ten cells, at least four could no longer be controlled by the same medicine. The doctor gave me some other tablets and injections, but he also discouraged me a lot.

He said: “Oh, I believe the end will come soon. I doubt whether you could live for another one and a half year.” Besides he said: “There is nothing more I can do for you.”

And that was in.?
That was at the end of 1999 and the beginning of the New Year. On my way back to Nairobi I came through Holland – my body was too fat and.

Anyway, I went back in March, but in May I felt I was not all right, and I had a lot of pain. So I came to London again, and this time I changed the doctor. I turned to Norwich, this cancer centre, where I met with the doctors. Of course, they gave me some treatment. Radiotherapy, and they gave me injections that were hoped to stop the pain for some time. It wasn’t that successful though, but they thought the second treatment would be. They asked me to return after six months, and that is why I am here now.

Did they give you some more hope?
Yes, they have given me a lot of hope. Someone was telling me that I will have another injection that will control the rest of the four uncontrollable cancer cells. And they will use radiotherapy at the places of pain, so that it stops. Then there is another injection, which they hope will stop this pain at least for the coming six months.

[The recorder is turned off again. Yousif says that the past few years fighting the disease kept him away from the Nuba Mountains too often. It gives me the opportunity to ask a few more questions.]

I’ve been in the Mountains a few times, (in 1997, 1998 and 2000. NotE) and since you were outside, I saw the situation.

Deteriorating, yes. Things like discipline, moral. Do you have an explanation?
I think mainly the leaders are to blame, yanni. I don’t know why, but. Ismael (acting Governor Ismael Khamis Jelab. NotE) used to concentrate on personal things. He never gave too much attention to the military and the administration, that is why people disagree with him. And in fact, when I came out of the Mountains, I tried whether Mohamed Juma’a would be a good substitute, before Ismael came back.

But Mohamed also proved not to be a good national leader, so they lost trust in them – the people I mean. The an-nahim and sometimes the army. And when Ismael came back, there were constant clashes between him and Mohamed and-, of course this gives problems. This is the story. officers and the NCO’s and the soldiers. I think this is part of it.

Is it the length of this war, which wears people down in the end?
Maybe. You can’t be quite sure, but. No one knows exactly what is the problem, but this is what happened.

There will be a new commander: Abdel Aziz al Hillu.
Hopefully, ya. He will go there, and we hope things will change.

You’ve been fighting together with him, and he has taken large parts of the Mountains in the past. Do you think he is capable of doing it again, with the conditions so drastically changed?
Well, as I told you, he has a lot of military experience. So military, I think he can do a lot, ya

The Martyrs’ Day: Arok Thon Arok

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People
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Arok Thon Arok: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arok Thon Arok was a politician from Southern Sudan. He first served in the Sudanese military before he joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in 1983. He defected to the Sudanese government after his satisfaction with the Sudan People Liberation Army. He was therefore, given the 5th position in the high-ranking command of the SPLA before his defection.


Commander Arok Thon Arok was a Dinka Bor from the Twic community of Kongor. He is known by some to be related to Dr. John Garang De Mabior. Commander Arok was in Kongor in 1984 to 1985 as the regional commander for Bor. He almost died of thirst between Juba and Bor when he and his troops travelled in an area where there was no water. He patiently, endured and survived the trauma. He was succeeded by Commander Kuol Manyang Juuk as the leader in Bor. Commander Arok Thon Arok had a strong personality. He had some disagreements with the leadership of Dr. John Garang. In 1987 his wife died and he went to London to place his children in school.

Arok Thon Arok was a politician from Southern Sudan. He first served in the Sudanese military before he joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in 1983. He joined the Sudan government after his satisfaction with the Sudan People Liberation Army. He was therefore, given the 5th position in the high-ranking command of the SPLA. Commander Arok Thon Arok was a Dinka Twic/Tuic East from the Twic community of Kongor. He is known by some to be related to Dr. John Garang De Mabior. Commander Arok was in Kongor in 1984 to 1985 as the regional commander for Bor. He almost died of thirst between Juba and Bor when he and his troops travelled in an area where there was no water. He patiently, endured and survived the trauma. He was succeeded by Commander Kuol Manyang Juuk as the leader in Bor. Commander Arok Thon Arok had a strong personality. He had some disagreements with the leadership of Dr. John Garang. In 1987 his wife died and he went to London to place his children in school. Rumors had it that Commander Arok was imprisoned and later dismissed by Dr. John Garang de Mabior after he secretly made an agreement with the Sudanese government officials in London. His plan was to overthrow Dr. John Garang.


Rumors had it that Commander Arok was imprisoned and later dismissed by Dr. John Garang de Mabior after he secretly made an agreement with the Sudanese government officials in London. His plan was to overthrow Dr. Garang and lead SPLA back to Sudan. Despite such act of trying to overthrow Dr. Garang, he never meant to betray Southern Sudan. He was one of the commanders under whom safety and protection was experienced by the SPLA soldiers.

Return to Sudan

In early 90s Commander Arok Thon Arok returned to Khartoum. He was known as the leader of Twic/Tuic East group which was part of the Khartoum Peace Agreement signed by Dr. Riek Machar and the Sudanese government.


Commander Arok Thon Arok left Khartoum with the first Vice-president of Sudan, Major General Zubair Mohamed Salih, to the little town called Nasir near Malakal. He and other officers perished as the plane plunged into the Sobat River. The following were in that ill-fated plane. First Vice President Zubeir. Commander Arok Thon Arok. Governor Tongyiik Tut. Colonel Elijah Manyok Lual, Mr. Gang Chol Joak and Dr.Lam Akol who managed to escape and survived the tragedy. Commander Arok Thon Arok Continues to be one of the respected Southern Sudanese politicians in the history of Sudan’s politics.

The Plane Crash that Killed Arok Thon Arok

On February 12, 1998 Dr. Timothy Tutlam the former governor of Upper Nile was killed in a plane crash in a failed landing at Nasir airport 800 km South East of Khartoum airport near the Ethiopian border. The plane was carrying 57 senior military and political leaders, including Arok Thon Arok, one of the most prominent former rebels, whose group signed the peace accord with Khartoum, was among the 26 people killed.

The plane apparently tried to land on a small runway in the town of Nasir about 435 miles from the capital near the Sobat River a tributary of the White Nile and not far from the Ethiopian border.

The pilot lost control at the Nasir airport runway, and slide into the Sobat River, and then twenty six people out of fifty seven passengers were drowned in river, including father Dr. Timothy.

Here are the names of the Sudanese officials who were killed in plane crashed:

  1. Lt-Gen al-Zubair Muhammad, the first vice president of republic of Sudan
  2. Brig Arok Thon Arok, the South Sudan United Democratic Salvation Front, signatory of the Khartoum peace agreement
  3. Musa Sidahmed, the director of the Supreme Council for Peace Engineer
  4. Muhammad Ahmed Taha, the head of States’ Development & Peace Organization
  5. Police Maj-Gen Dirar Abdullah Abbas
  6. Lt-Col al-Fatih Nurein, the deputy head of palace protocol
  7. Osman Ibrahim Bura’ie, Zubeir’s secretary
  8. Lt-Col Jamal Fagiri, the director of al-Zubair’s Office
  9. Security Lt-Col Abdallah Babikir
  10. Security officer Abd al-Rahman al-Bagir
  11. Police Col Elija Manok
  12. Dr Timothy Tutlan, the Upper Nile Governor
  13. Abd al-Salaam Suleiman, Islamic
  14. Organization Officer Abdallah Babikir,
  15. General Security Forces Brig Taha al-Mahi
  16. Lt-Col Fath al-Rahman al-Sadiq
  17. Hashim al-Haj, television journalist
  18. al-Hadi Sidahmed, television journalist
  19. Mutasim Rustum
  20. Samuel Fashoda and so more>> >>

SUDAN: SPLA withdraws claims responsibility for plane crash

The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) today retracted earlier claims that its forces shot down a plane carrying high-ranking Sudanese officials yesterday, killing First Vice-President Al Zubair Mohammed Saleh and other prominent personalities. AFP quoted an SPLA spokesman in Nairobi, Justin Arop, as saying the plane was “hit by SPLA fire” and crashed near Wau in Bahr el Ghazal state. However, the Sudanese government said the plane crashed near Nasir on the Ethiopian border after making a forced landing due to bad weather. Another SPLA spokesman, John Luk, withdrew the claims today, Reuters reported.

The plane apparently slid off a runway into the Sobat river at Nasir. According to Arop, the plane was due to land at Wau – where there has been heavy fighting between the rebels and government troops – before going on to the government-held town of Juba. Media reports say former rebel Arok Thon Arok, a signatory of the 1997 peace agreement, also died in the crash, while Lam Akol of the pro-government SPLA-United was reported wounded. Burials took place in Khartoum today. IPS reports today that contrary to rumour, Riak Machar – president of the south Sudan Coordination Council – was not on board. There were reportedly 57 people on board the plane of whom 31 died – many by drowning when the plane sank into the river.

Arok Thon Arok Killed: BBC

A Sudanese plane carrying senior military and political leaders has crashed in southern Sudan, killing a number of people on board.

Among the dead is the Sudanese Vice-President, Al-Zubair Muhammad Saleh.

Correspondents describe him as a crucial link between the Sudanese army and the National Islamic Front, the dominant political force in the country.

Officials were visiting southern front 

[ image: Al-Zubair Muhammad Saleh]
Al-Zubair Muhammad Saleh

The officials were on a visit to the war front in southern Sudan, where government forces are fighting rebels seeking autonomy for the region.

Sudanese television said the plane crashed into a river as it tried to land in bad weather near Malakal, eight hundred kilometres south of Khartoum.

Two government Ministers, including the Information Minister, Brigadier Mohamad Kheir, were among the survivors.

Sudanese radio broadcast a statement by Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir announcing the news.

“The nation lost some of its devoted sons and leaders,” the statement said.

“One of those martyred is the honourable person, the dear brother Lt Gen al-Zubair Muhammad Salih, First Vice President.”

Death may affect peace accord

A correspondent for the BBC in Khartoum says the vice-president was the driving force in persuading six southern rebel factions to defect to the government side last April, and signed the peace accord on the government’s behalf.

One of the rebel signatories, Arok thon Arok, died with him in the crash, as did another leading government official involved in the peace process.

The correspondent says the death of these people, coming just a week after one of the rebel leaders, Cherubino Kwanyin Bol, re-defected to the rebel cause, leaves few surviving signatories of the accord and calls its future into question.

The Martyrs’ Day: William Nyuon Bany Machar

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People

William Nyuon Bany: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Nyuon Bany (died 1996) was a Southern Sudanese politician who was also a high-ranking officer in The Sudan People’s Liberation Army. While he worked as a commander of the SPLA he lived in Itanga small Ethiopian town in the Gambela Region. He was older than Dr. John GarangSalva KiirArok Thon Arok.

Commander Willima was a Nuer from Ayot. He was also related to the Dinka. He spoke Nuer, Arabic, Ethiopian and a little English.

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Military career

It is not clear whether Commander William was part of the Anyanya 1, however before the war broke out in Southern Town of Bor, He was in Ayot as a major in the Sudanese army. He served as a commander in Sudan for a long time before he joined the rebellion in 1983. Commander William Nyuon Bany and Kerubino Kuanyin Bol were two founder of SPLA before DR Garang Mabior Atem Join them. He was a man of zeal, courage and bravery. After he joined the SPLA he was appointed the 3rd high-ranking Commander after Kerubino Kuanyin Bol. Commander Salva was the 4th after William Nyuon Bany. Commander William Nyuon was also the Chief of Staff then a position currently occupied by Commander James Hoth Mai. William Nyuon was known for his commitment to the cause of South Sudan. Below is the list of the SPLA High Command Unit of which CDR. William Nyuon was a member. SPLM/A Leadership Biography

The line of succession was already determined by each individual’s senior in the POLITICO- MILITARY HIGH COMMAND. Below is the list according to their seniority 1. Cdr Dr John Garang, 2. Cdr Kerubino Kuanyin Bol 3. Cdr William Nyuon Bany 4. Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit 5. Cdr Arok Thon Arok 6 Cdr Nyacigak Nyaculuk 7. Cdr John Kualang 8. Cdr Dr Riek Machar Teny 9. Cdr Dr Lam Akol Ajawin 10 Cdr Yusif Kuwa Mekki 11. Cdr James Wani Igga 12.Cdr Daniel Awet Akot 13. Cdr Kuol Manyang Juk 14. Cdr Martin Manyiel Ayuel 15. Cdr Lual Diing Wol 16. Cdr Gelario M

After split of the SPLM/A movement 1991 the SPLA Highest Tough commanders was known as group 7.

1* CDR Dr John Garang, 2* CDR William Nyuon Bany 3* CDR Salva Kiir Mayardit 4* CDR Yusif Kuwa Mekki 5* CDR James Wani Igga 6* CDR Daniel Awet Akot 7* CDR Kuol Manyang Juk

Internecine Fighting in Southern Sudan

Commander William Nyuon Bany fought as an SPLA commander. In 1991 a split took place in the SPLA. Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol created their own group known then as “Nasir SPLA Section”. While Commander Nyuon was still with Dr. John Garang, he would later leave Garang’s SPLA in 1992 at town of pageri now locate in central Equatoria State as well. He did, however, try to rejoin Garang’s SPLA but was killed by one of the groups belonging to the South Sudanese armies Base in Bentiu Under command by Young High commander Peter Gatdet He captain. He is survived by a number of children most of whom live in the United States of America in Nebraska, Utah and Territories of Canada. Commander William Nyuon Bany was killed in 1996 in South Sudan by the forces of Elijah Hon Top, his fellow Nuer whom he had rescued in 1983 from being killed by the SPLM/A for being suspected of involvement in the death of Francis Ng’or Makiech.

Peace Efforts & Negotiations

Commander William Nyuon Bany exerted efforts to help reach a solution for Sudan while he was living in Ethiopia as a member of the SPLA. He also supported the merging of the SPLA and Anyany 2 in 1987. Commander William Nyuon visited Egypt in 1989 where he met hundreds of Sudanese students. He was fluent in Arabic and he encouraged many students to support the cause for freedom in Sudan. Dr. John Garang favored William Nyuon for his zeal, commitment and the fact that he was not a tribalist. He was a Southern Sudanese patriot who loved his people and the integrity of his land. The facts related to his death continue to be confusing as to who exactly was involved in his assassination. It is alleged that Nyuon Bany was killed by mainly Nuer according to the eyes witness, as during the 90’s tribal tensions between the Nuer and the Dinka were very high. With the SPLA ruling elite composed of mostly Dinka officers, William Nyuon rejoining the SPLA must have looked very dangerous to the Nuer. Nyoun’s bodyguards were also killed in the attack.

Who Is CDR. William Nyuon Bany Machar? “Who is really the CPA father? What would you say about the collapse of the Abuja II Peace agreement in May 1993?”

24 January 2011

By Gordon Buay

It was after mutinies at Bor Garrison, Ayod, Pochalla, Wangkai, and Pibor in May 1983 which was planned, organized and executed by then Major Kerbino Kuanyin Bol and Major William Nyuon Bany Machar that led to inception of SPLA/M under the leadership of Dr. John Garang deMabior at Bilpam in 1983.

It was after the formation of the SPLA/M at Bilpam that the internal conflicts start to ensue leading to the breakaway of Abdalla Chuol Deng and Samuel Gach Tut who were basically in favor of Kuot Atem’s leadership.

The fundamental differences were stated under the pretext of new Sudan and South Sudan independence. In fact the differences were the cover up for the power struggle as stated by some political analysts. Samuel Gach Tut was subsequently killed by the SPLA forces at Thiajak in1984.

No matter whether their move was right or not, Samuel Gach was highly admired and a lot was expected from him by majority of Nuers including CDR. William Nyuon who did not hide his outrage immediately after Samuel Gach death while accompanied by CDR. Kerbino to the incident site.

CDR. William Nyuon, who was the former Chief of Staffs and C-in-C of SPLA, made it clear to those who were against the SPLA principles to take their arma and fight until they reached the border of Bahar El Gazal and North Sudan, and to the other group including himself  to proceed thereafter. He also made it clear that the definition of SPLA is to gain international support both militarily and politically, and that there is no one tribe name called SPLA. He further went on by stating that SPLA should fight until its goal is achieved and not to fall short like Anyanya I and II- YouTube’s source.

CDR. William Nyuon was known for his bravery, zeal, courage and great enthusiasm for unity. One of the evidences was the decision made by him and Anyanya II leaders, Gordon Koang Chuol  and Stephen Duol Chuol to merge both parties under SPLA leadership of Dr. John Garang. The merger had not only allowed free movement of SPLA forces but result in historic victories against enemy.

It would not be exaggeration to mention the contribution of the present Chief of Staffs of SPLA James Hoth Mai who was regarded during the merger by CDR. William himself as a boy capable of uniting people. The role played by CDR. William Nyuon to prevent conflicts and conflicts escalation between SPLA/civilian and civilian/civilian was of great paramount.

One of the advantages of education is to enhance the capacity of interpreting, reasoning and judgment but due to high illiteracy in our population, most people are forced to trust and believe in all propaganda and criticism toward those of less educational background who were in fact dedicated their lives, energy and time to set our people free from the hand of enemy. This allowed opportunist to take advantage of situations. CDR. William Nyuon has laid superior and strong military foundation. This is witnessed not only by his achievements on the field ground as the Commander but also in social activities such as rhythm produced by one of the South Sudanese talented musician Nyajuok Keat. The emotions, courage, pride and bravery resided in everyone who has ever listened to Nyajuok’s song are quite inspirational. The song title is about Nyuon’s Machar Army, The Army of SPLA.

It is true that most people have been investing their confident on South Sudan Army (SPLA) to whether CPA protocol is respected by signatories or not.  If one would not only see the outcome of struggle but also the way the outcome is being achieved, one would surely to reckon CDR. William Nyuon as number one, of course CDR. Kerbino and CDR. Arok Thon had played crucial role but their contributions were limited by some reasons.

Fellow Southerners and Sudanese in general, when is the birth of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)? Below is Abuja Peace Conference witnessed by most of the top officials in the present GOSS. If you start reading Abuja Peace Conference bellow, try to get all of it until the end.

Abuja II- CDR. William Nyuon Bany

Not only was it the first peace conference between the GOS and the SPLM/A to be mediated by an African Government but it was also the first of its kind since the Nasir move and the development of a new strategy on peace. It was started in May 1992 in Germany-Frankfurt in attempt to find way to uniting the two factions or at least to send a unified delegation to Abuja. Nasir and Torit factions were led by Mr. Luk Jock and Mr. Bona Malual respectively in Germany.

Delegations who went to Abuja SPLM/A- Torit faction was represented by CDR. William Nyuon Bany and SPLM/A-Nasir by Dr Lam Akol Ajawin. It was on 10th May 1992 that CDR. William Nyuon Bany was met by Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Chairman under Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida in Abuja about the need for unifying the two delegations of the SPLM/A. This was private meeting at William’s hotel room.

CDR. William Nyuon was in fact hesitant to make quick decision since his was not sure about the reaction of His delegations but managed to go ahead to meet CDR. Elijah Malok who was well disposed to accept discussing uniting the two delegations. This was the support CDR. William Nyuon desperately needed to take a decision- said by INEC Chairman. It was the 1st time on Sunday 11/1992 that the 1st draft agreement was prepared and on the subsequent day the final version was read for signature.

The joint declaration was signed by CDR.William Nyuon and Dr. Lam Akol. This was the 1st time the joint declaration of common position on self-determination signed and it was the 1st time the words such as people of the South Sudan and other marginalized area were adopted into the lives of the Southerners.

It is worth mentioning the very firm stand taken by CDR. William Nyuon in particular on Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile in the process of Self-determination.

The two delegations of the SPLM/A in the Abuja peace conference resolved the following:
(1)- To jointly champion the right of the people of the Southern Sudan to Self-determination.
(2)- That the wishes of the people of Abyei, Nuba mountains, and Southern Blue Nile be taken into consideration during the process of Self-determination together with the South.
(3)-The two factions of the SPLM/A will adopt a common position on the issue of interim arrangement which will be necessary in the period prior to the referendum.
Cdr. William Nyuon Bany
Deputy Chairman and Deputy
Commander –in-chief SPLM/SPLA
And leader of the SPLA/SPLA (Torit)
Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Secretary for External Affairs and Peace Interim National Executive Committee SPLM/A and Leader Nasir Delegation.
It was then declared that the two delegations have there and then merged into one delegation.

To discuss the matter at the Lagos Airport, some members of Torit faction had second thoughts. Dr. Riak Gai Kok, a member of their delegation, challenged CDR. William Nyuon Bany Machar in the meeting questioning his mandate to sign such a document without authorization from Dr. John Garang personally. He was echoing a view expressed by Deng Alor and Dr. Justin Yac albeit in a milder manner.

The document agreed upon was sent to the Leaders of the two factions, Dr. Garang and Dr. Riek Machar. Dr. Riek on his part issued a statement to his delegation to represent the faction in the resumed reconciliation talks but there was complete silence from Dr. Garang.

It was in the second week of July 1992 that Dr. John Garang declared that there is nothing to do with Self-determination. The message by Dr. John Garang elaborated the position of the Movement that has been ever since 1983 that of a united secular, democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual Sudan. After CDR. William Nyuon received messages with simmering rage, he felt robbed of the victory he thought he had achieved in uniting the two delegations of the movement in Abuja and was poised to crowning it with the unity of those two factions. This was the beginning of the rivalry between Dr. Garang and his Deputy CDR. William Nyuon Bany which later developed into armed confrontations. (Document source).

So basically, it was Abuja II peace agreement adopted as Comprehensive Peace agreement (CPA) which was signed in 2005 by former SPLM/SPLA Chairman Dr. John Garang under supervision of United States Government.

Who is really the CPA father? What would you say about the collapse of the Abuja II Peace agreement in May 1993? What if Abuja Peace agreement was materialized, how many lives would have been saved? Where is CDR.William Nyuon Bany Machar today? What would you say about the education, Power struggle (self-interest) and eternal freedom? Who was the systemic power during SPLA struggle? Every question will answer itself on the final Day.

The last but not the least let everyone thank the President of the South Sudan, Chairman of the SPLM, C-in-C of the SPLA Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the his Deputy the Vice President of South Sudan Dr. Riek Machar Teny for their tireless work on implementation of CPA in order for Southerners to decide for their own final destination.

Let us not forget to thank the only ONE GOD (Deng-Tath) that He created every human the same and equal.

I currently residing in USA and can be reached:

 Slain Sudanese Warlord Mourned by His 10 Wives

September 22 – September 28, 1999


TO SOME, Sudanese warlord Major-General Kerubino Kuanyin Bol was a psychotic killer. But to his 10 wives and dozens of children, he was a loving husband and father who provided for their every need.

Bol, 51, thought to have fired the first shot in Sudan’s 16-year civil war, was killed last week in a mutiny by a disaffected commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Front.

His death was greeted with delight by aid workers who said he was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in his home province of Bahr el Ghazal in a brutal three-year terror campaign.

They also blame him for last year’s famine in which at least 60,000 people who had fled his militia died of starvation and disease.

But at his large home in an exclusive Nairobi estate last week, his wives wept and embraced as they prepared goat, chicken and vats of rice for his funeral service.

A group of some of his four dozen children sat and watched satellite television, while the older ones helped unload crates of beer from the back of a truck.

“My father was a brave man. He fought a lot but he taught us how to respect other people and to love other people,” said Bol’s eldest son, 24-year-old Malang Kerubino, who was educated in Cuba alongside the sons of rebel leaders from all over the world.

“Some people said they hated him but politics is a very dirty game.

His family and supporters said they were convinced that Bol was assassinated – but by whom they had yet to determine.

Bol swapped sides several times in Sudan’s civil war — which in its broadest terms pits the Islamist government against Christian and animist rebels in the south.

When he died he was on poor terms with both the government and the main rebel group the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

“We are sure he was assassinated,” said Commander Amon Wantuk. “But we have yet to determine the facts. He could be a victim of various conspiracies.”

The privately-owned Al-Sahafa newspaper quoted Mr Mohamed al-Amin, secretary of the political affairs department in the ruling National Islamic Salvation Front, as saying Bol, 51, had been killed by the forces of renegade commander Peter Gadiet.

Mr Amin said neither the Sudanese Islam-based government nor Matip had any hand in Bol’s death.

Bol was one of the founders of the SPLA, which has been fighting the government since 1983 for political and religious freedom for the mainly Christian and animist people of the south.

But, like other rebel commanders, he changed sides several times. For three years he held sway over his home region of northern Bahr el-Ghazal. .

After a long stint on the government side, Bol switched allegiance again in January 1998, briefly seizing Wau, the main town in Bahr el-Ghazal, from government forces.

Bol never regained the trust of SPLA leader John Garang and last year was accused of plotting to assassinate him in Nairobi.

The chubby, bespectacled Bol – never far from his silver-topped shooting stick – had kept a low profile in recent months and sought refuge in the home of Matip, in the neighbouring southern province of Western Upper Nile.

Maj-Gen Bol’s death brings to an end the life of a man who was an important factor, both positive and negative, in the liberation struggle of the people of south Sudan against the oppression and domination of the regime in Khartoum.

The name of the then Major in the Sudanese army, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, first came to prominence in southern Sudan when he fired and shot the first bullet against the regime of Gaafar Mohammed Nimeri in Bor town on May 16,1983.

The circumstance of Maj-Gen Bol’s death are reflective of the intricacies of the politics of liberation in south Sudan and the power struggle that has marred it since the inception of the Movement. It may not be possible at this stage to count him among the fallen heroes of the struggle for freedom and independence in south Sudan. This is because, apart from the fact that he fell on the wrong side, more often than not he had been responsible for many disruptions which cumulatively retarded the cause of liberation.

Maj-Gen Bol was the deputy of Col Dr John Garang de Mabior until July 1987, when he was arrested and detained for insubordination and administrative indiscipline. He remained in detention until his escape from jail in late 1992.

In March 1993, Maj-Gen Bol and his group of ex-political detainees, the late William Nyuon Bany and his splinter group known as SPLM/A Forces of Unity and Democracy and Riek Machar’s SPLM/A Nasir faction (named after Nasir town where the failed coup to oust Garang was staged in August 1991), coalesced to form what was then known as SPLM/A-United.

Maj-Gen Bol was not only a very controversial personality; he precipitated a political crisis at the level of the Movement’s leadership resulting in his re-defection back to the NIF regime engineered by the regime’s agents in Nairobi.

In October 1998, the Muthangari Police Station in Nairobi witnessed a shootout between supporters of Maj-Gen Bol and Dr Garang resulting in the death of one person

When the dust of the Nairobi episode settled and things started to move again, Maj-Gen Bol had relocated to Mankien, where he was hosted by Maj-General Paulino Matip and where he met his death last week.

Obituary: Kerubino Kuanyin Bol

KERUBINO KUANYIN BOL was a flamboyant, trigger-happy southern Sudanese soldier best remembered for supposedly firing the first rebellious shot when the imposition of Islamic Sharia law in September 1983 triggered a second round of civil warfare in the undeveloped, largely animist and Christian southern regions of the Republic of Sudan.

Kerubino was born into a simple Dinka family of mixed farmers in Twic county in Bahr al Ghazal province in 1948 – along with many Africans of those times, his exact date of birth is not recalled – during the uncertain closing years of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium.

Especially in the south, that political arrangement was largely symbolic and real influence was wielded by expatriate colonial commissioners and missionaries. They disliked and often despised the northern political movements and leaders and, instead of actively promoting internal self-government, as often as not maintained an introverted paternal authoritarianism which did nothing to help prepare the population for independence.

Kerubino attended a Roman Catholic mission primary school and passed on to the intermediate level. Those were anxious days for bright young men such as him who worried what the future might bring. That Sudan was to be the first of the new independent nations of Africa meant less to him than the imminent reimposition of “Arab” and Islamic influence – even dominance – in his region which he had been conditioned to dread.

Despite talk of federation, in 1955, the year preceding national independence, a battalion of southern soldiery mutinied and the era of civil conflict was born. Along with many of his age, Kerubino at once abandoned formal education to enlist with the rebel southerners – the Anya Nya – and fight for the independence of southern Sudan.

In Khartoum, the capital in the north, governments both civil and military came and went, but civil war dragged on until the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 granted regional autonomy to the south. Kerubino opted to stay on in the reconstituted armed forces. Sadly, in 1983, revisions of the Sudanese state framework and patterns of government, coupled with the rising influence of the Islamic factor in national politics, caused the fragile peace to break down.

Ensuing troubles were by no means confined to the south, but on 4 June 1983 an army officer, Col Dr John Garang de Mabior, a Dinka like Kerubino, led the garrison at Bor in another mutiny and, on 16 October at Itang, formed the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/SPLA).

Kerubino, as a lieutenant-colonel, complete with a shooting stick with a silver handle, was soon prominent as an SPLA field commander. By this time he had transferred several of his wives and many of his children to a compound in Nairobi, in Kenya, where he would on occasion meet the foreign press.

In 1986, after the overthrow of President Gaafer Mohamed Nimieri, another attempt to bring peace took place, this time at one of the former emperor Haile Selassie’s old residences at Koka Dam, Ethiopia. Along with Awad El Karim Mohamed, Secretary-General of the National Alliance of the Sudan, Kerubino countersigned the declaration as “deputy commander-in-chief SPLA and deputy chairman SPLM provisional executive committee”.

A lasting settlement proved elusive and, in 1987, Kerubino led SPLA forces north and succeeded in capturing a string of towns in Blue Nile Province. Deceived by the ease by which he had defeated government forces, he aspired, it is believed, to seize the SPLM leadership by ousting Garang, but his conspiracy was betrayed: he was arrested and spent six uncomfortable years in a necessarily itinerant guerrilla prison.

By 1992, when he managed to escape, serious divisions had developed within the SPLA and Kerubino decided to throw in his lot with a group of so-called “renegades” who co-operated with a “Peace from Within” initiative sponsored by the Sudanese government. Eventually a “peace agreement” was signed and a co-ordinating council for the south was set up only for Kerubino to disagree with the composition of the proposed regional government.

The regime sought to establish him as a leader in his – and Garang’s – home province, but the Dinka largely rejected him and even Dinka youth, recruited from displaced persons encamped around Khartoum, abandoned his militia and left for their own villages. Meantime the turmoil and mayhem this caused greatly exacerbated famine in the region and subsequent deaths were estimated to have exceeded 60,000. Kerubino’s responsibility was heavy.

In January 1998, forces under Kerubino’s command briefly seized Wau, the main town in Bahr al Ghazal, on the strength of which, ever impulsive and governed by whims, he promptly applied to rejoin the SPLA. His decision was welcomed by Garang, but he was attached to headquarters rather than being given a top field appointment.

Angered, in no time at all he once again offered his services and sword to the ruling National Congress in Khartoum, where the regime’s intelligence chiefs pride themselves on their undoubted ability to harness divisive ethnic tensions in support of their political masters.

In 1998, Kerubino came to be accused by some of plotting to assassinate Garang on one of the latter’s visits to Nairobi for IGAD (Intergovernmental Agency for Development) peace talks. Earlier this year, back in Sudan, he attached himself to the South Sudan United Army, a pro-government militia led by one Paulino Matip. However the latter fell out with Peter Gadiet, yet another renegade commander, and in ensuing internecine struggles, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol was shot.

The exact circumstances of his death are murky and unlikely to affect any eventual outcome of the ongoing civil strife in Sudan. Kerubino’s impetuous opportunism had long since discredited him even as a Dinka warrior. His own vanity apart, few ever ranked him as a national leader in Sudan. Yet he was undoubtedly a sad and wasted product of the unresolved cultural, historic and religious divisions that continue to deny a decent life to the troubled citizens of one of this world’s most hospitable nations.

He took several wives and had more than 20 children.

Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, soldier: born Twic, Sudan 1948; died Mankin, Sudan 10 September 1999.

Kerubino’s Background Leading up to Wau

Kerubino, a founder of the SPLA, was held by SPLA Commander-in-Chief John Garang in prolonged arbitrary detention from 1987 to 1992, for allegedly having plotted a coup against Garang.3 He, his deputy Faustino Atem Gualdit, Arok Thon Arok,4 and other former SPLA commanders escaped south to Uganda in late 1992, where they eventually were recognized as refugees. They made their way to Kenya where they joined an SPLA breakaway faction formed in 1991 and headed by former SPLA Commander Riek Machar, a movement later called the South Sudan Independence Movement/Army (SSIM/A).5

Kerubino proceeded to recruit followers from among his own Dinka of Bahr El Ghazal (he was born in Paywayi in Bahr El Ghazal and went to school in nearby Gogrial6) and formed a separate fighting force based close to the government garrison town, Gogrial. His alliance with the government of Sudan dated from 1994; he was expelled by Riek Machar from his rebel force (then SSIM/A) in January 1995 for that reason.7 From 1994-97, he fought the SPLA, but mainly inflicted substantial damage on his own people in Twic, Abyei, and Gogrial counties, parts of Aweil East, and south into Wau County, all in Bahr El Ghazal. While the SPLA had support from local Dinka chiefs and people in Bahr El Ghazal, Kerubino, allied with the AArabs,@ did not.

Riek and Kerubino were reunited in the SSIM/A upon signing the Political Charter with the government in April 1996. They were the only ones to sign for the rebels.8 In this charter the parties pledged to end the civil war, and to conduct a referendum, Aafter full establishment of peace@ and at the end of an interim period, Ato determine the political aspirations@ of the people of southern Sudan.9 On April 21, 1997, that charter was incorporated into a Peace Agreement with the government, which Kerubino signed as Commander-in-Chief of SPLM/A (Bahr El Ghazal). Among the former SPLA commanders who signed the Peace Agreement, Riek and Kerubino were the ones who actually headed fighting forces. In 1997, Kerubino relocated his forces close to Wau.

Wau in 1997

Wau, the second largest town in the south, with an estimated population of 120,000 at the end of 1997,10 was tense from the time that the SPLA, in a surprise move in May-June 1997, captured three towns on the road leading northwest to Wau: Tonj (only sixty miles to the southeast of Wau), Rumbek, and Yirol.11 This campaign rolled on from a major March 1997 SPLA offensive from the Ugandan border in which Yei was captured and thousands of Sudan government troops (and their Ugandan rebel protégés, the West Nile Bank Front based in government-controlled southern Sudan) were killed or captured.12

One high-ranking Wau civil servant described the panic in Wau at the fall of Tonj:

When the government forces went to Tonj [to fight the SPLA in April 1997] the people in Wau thought that the government forces were so huge that none could defeat them. They were defeated by the SPLA and there was panic in Wau. We found out about the defeat when the soldiers ran back to Wau.

First to run back was the BM [multiple rocket launcher firing 122 mm rockets singly or in a salvo], mounted on a truck. Other soldiers came on swollen feet, wounded. The northerners wanted to run away. If the SPLA forces in Tonj had gone to Wau then, Wau would have fallen. The northerners took their families by air to Khartoum, even the senior officers.13

In May 1997 Kerubino fought the SPLA in and around Gogrial (one hundred kilometers northeast of Wau), and succeeded in preventing the SPLA from capturing this garrison town. One Wau resident said this fighting came close enough to Wau so that those in Wau could hear the sound of heavy guns. They also heard rumors of hundreds of people killed, Dinka on both sides. In one opinion, “Kerubino certainly did a favor for the government by stopping the SPLA from taking Wau at that time. Kerubino defended the Arabs by killing his own people.”14 However, the SPLA succeeded in May 1997 in capturing Wunrok to the northeast of Gogrial;15 Wunrok had been a Kerubino stronghold until then, and was the place where he held an ICRC plane and crew hostage in late 1996.16

After Tonj fell in May 1997, the governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Ali Tamim Fartak, said, “All in the state are currently in a state of maximum alert. . . . The government, the national peace forces in the state and forces of Kerubino Kwanyin [sic] are (gathered) in one bunker for the defense of the nation.”17 The government made it very difficult for men to leave Wau for outlying rural areas; women were permitted to leave and return after a thorough search.18 The SPLA also detained some people leaving Wau; there are reports that displaced in the camps on the outskirts of Wau limited their movement due to SPLA attacks on the more venturesome.19 All these factors made it hard to cultivate beyond the perimeter of Wau. The same appeared to be true in other government villages; in the small village of Ariath on the railway north of Aweil residents feared venturing out of the narrow secure radius to cultivate because of the SPLA, limiting their economic recovery.20

After May 1997, some educated Dinka who held positions as government officials defected to the SPLA from Wau, disappearing to the other side. These included two of the very few medical doctors in Wau,21 and Dr. Martin Marial, dean of the college of education and vice chancellor of the University of Bahr El Ghazal.22

The security situation in Wau, tense since the SPLA victories in April and May 1997, worsened in October, when there was an SPLA mortar attack on Wau. Starting in November 1997 there was shooting nightly in Wau, either by nervous government forces or in exchanges of fire with the SPLA. The military supply train, so notorious and so vital to the garrison town of Wau, reached Wau in October 1997, stayed a few weeks, and moved north from Wau in late October, with six closed cars.23

By Gray Phombeah
BBC News website

John Garang was a government army officer sent to quell a mutiny of 500 southern troops who were resisting orders to be shipped north. It took him 22 years to come back.

John Garang

Garang fought for more than 20 years

Thus began the story of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which fought one of Africa’s longest-running wars between the Christian and animist South and the Muslim, Arab-speaking North.

Instead of following his superiors’ orders, Mr Garang went on to encourage mutinies in other garrisons and set himself at the head of the rebellion against the Khartoum government.

 He was one of the few senior southerners who really believed in the concept of a united Sudan 
Peter Moszynski

Between 1983 and the peace agreement signed in January 2005, Sudan’s civil war took nearly two million lives and left millions more displaced.

The war officially ended and John Garang was appointed first vice-president – a position he held for only three weeks before he was killed in a helicopter crash.

Dodging bullets

With his beard, bulky physique, and jet-black skin of his Dinka ethnic group, he came across as one of the most complicated rebels on a continent that has seen every shade of self-proclaimed revolutionaries and liberators.

The rebel leader with a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the United States spent his early and middle life in the bush planning to blow up oil wells.

Despite his being at the centre of the Sudan conflict for so long, very little was known about Mr Garang the man.

John Garang

A military man who believed in a military solution for his country

He was, at best, described as a difficult man caught up in a complicated war.

“Becoming Vice President after 22 years leading a guerrilla army in the bush John Garang was an expert in survival: someone who knew how to bend with the wind yet maintain his political objectives, someone who knew how to seem all things to all men,” says Peter Moszynski, a Sudan specialist who covered the war for many years.

“Above all he was someone who understood the cardinal rule of political longevity: keep your friends close but your enemies closer…

“He was also one of the few senior southerners who really believed in the concept of a united Sudan and his passing will greatly strengthen the call for secession”

Gill Lusk – deputy editor of Africa Confidential and a Sudan specialist who interviewed the ex-guerrilla leader several times over the years – described Mr Garang as a proud man.

“He’s a man with charisma and his leadership qualities are quite obvious,” Ms Lusk told the BBC News website.

“He’s very much a professional military man, a man who believes he’s clever.

“He likes grand ideas, and has a great sense of humour – at least among his people.”

Blowing horns

John Garang was born in 1945 into the southern Dinka group famous for worshipping the sky, playing music on ram’s horns and their love of roast meat.

His family was Christian and he went on to study in the United States.

He studied at Grinnell College, Iowa, and later returned to the US for military training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir

President Bashir came to an agreement with Garang

Mr Garang’s first taste of guerrilla warfare was at the start of the civil war with the southern-based Anya Anya movement in 1962.

Ten years later, the Khartoum government signed a deal with Anya Anya and the south became a self-governing region.

Mr Garang and others were absorbed in the government army and moved to Khartoum.

But five years after oil was discovered in southern Sudan in 1978, the civil war erupted again – this time involving the government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM, and its military wing, the SPLA.

The ideological profile of SPLA was as shadowy as Mr Garang himself.

 John Garang did not tolerate dissent and anyone who disagreed with him was either imprisoned or killed 
Gill Lusk

He varied from Marxism to drawing support from Christian fundamentalists in the US.

There was always confusion on central issues such as whether the SPLA was fighting for independence for southern Sudan or merely more autonomy.

Friends and foes alike found the SPLA’s human rights record in southern Sudan and Mr Garang’s style of governance disturbing.

Murky world

“The SPLA has definitely changed quite a lot over the years for the better,” Gill Lusk said as the war ground to a close.

“But in the past it was guilty of committing serious human rights violations in southern parts of the country.

“John Garang did not tolerate dissent and anyone who disagreed with him or the leadership was either imprisoned or killed.”

Government prisoner

The SPLA was accused of human rights abuses

In the murky world of guerrilla warfare, John Garang survived attempts on his life from those within and outside his movement.

“He outfoxed everyone else by being cunning, by staying one step ahead,” says Peter Verney, editor of Sudan Update and Independent Information Services.

“You can tell by the type of security around him whenever he travels.”

But he was credited for keeping the movement together through turbulent times.

By 1986 the SPLA was estimated to have 12,500 armed men, organized into 12 battalions and equipped with small arms and a few mortars, according to Sudan specialists who monitored the war.

By 1989 the SPLA’s strength had reached 20,000 to 30,000 and rose to between 50,000 to 60,000 in 1991.


Speaking before his death, Peter Verney said a new Garang had been emerging out of the ashes of Sudan’s bloody war.
“He was aloof before, very much to himself.”He has been consistent,” Mr Verney argued. “He has been carrying the hopes and aspirations of southern Sudanese – and he has known all along that they would ditch him if he didn’t deliver.”

“But we are seeing him now becoming more approachable, becoming a politician, even a statesman.

“There is a new sense of dignity and openness about him – or perhaps just PR.”

His premature death leaves an unfulfilled mission, and great uncertainty in the south.

The Martyrs’ Day: Letter to Glory in the name of Gen George Athor Deng

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People

PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd - South Sudan

By Atok Dan Baguoot 

Dear Gen Athor Deng,

It was exactly on the 19th December at 10:a.m. local time in Juba that your news of being besieged at Morobo county in Central Equatoria state hit the market. Few minutes later, you were pronounced dead in a gun battle that involved SPLA soldiers. You had died as a villain according to your assassins but on the other hand you were a hero when one revisits stories of struggle.

Your death took Juba and the entire South Sudan a surprise because upright mental persons could not come to term with reality that you had come to graduate sections of your army in military training near at this end point. On that day when the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, flanked by the SPLA Spokesperson, Philip Aguer Panyang went to media to declare the news, the next thing one asked was the…

View original post 1,116 more words

South Sudan commemorates 2nd Martyrs’ Day since independence

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Junub Sudan

Salva Kiir Declares July 30th National Martyrs Day In South Sudan: 2007

July 30, 2007 (JUBA) — The Sudan’s First Vice President and President of the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, has, today, declared July 30th to be observed annually as a national martyr’s day in Southern Sudan.

31 July 2007 –By Isaac Vuni

Addressing hundreds of thousand people at late Garang mausoleum square during the Second Anniversary Commemoration day of Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s death in Juba, capital of southern Sudan, President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced that the July 30th day will be a national holiday in entire southern Sudan to be observed annually.

“As we write our history with our own blood, let us also remember those who founded our heroic movement including all those who played vital role in our struggle of 1983 and are not longer with us. Besides Dr. John Garang de Mabior, there were others who died on the wrong sides but still they are the people who started SPLM/A and some of the commanders are; Kerobino Kwanyin Bol, William Nyun Bany, Arok Thon Arok Lt. Col. Francis Nyor Ngor, Yusif Kuwa, Martin Majeir, Nyacigak Nyasuluk, Galerio Modi Wurnyan and Tohon Kulang Kout among many others who died at the wrong time but the role they played in the beginning of the SPLM/A movement will never be forgotten;” said Salva Kiir.

He also called upon all members of GoSS governments and every house hold in southern Sudan to take the coming population census seriously by ensuring that people of southern Sudan are all counted in order to disapprove those who used to estimate southern Sudan population at only eight million.

Southern Sudan President also reminded the many southern Sudanese separatists to follow and respect the CPA protocols that say unity of Sudan should be given first priority but if it fails then the only option is to exercise the right of self determination for total separation of southern Sudan through voting in a referendum.

Mayardit told the congregations by saying that “We are not renegotiating the CPA but we want to put in place as it was signed on January 9th 2005.”

He congratulated SPLM general secretariat for having organized the ever first meeting of Diasporas in the capital of southern Sudan.

“During my recent visit to the government of China, I was able to let them known that most of the oil is in southern Sudan,” disclosed Mayardit.

In his opening prayer for the occasion, the Catholic Bishop Paride Taban said: “Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior has obtained freedom through the CPA, hence his lordship calls upon all southern Sudanese to transform Sudan into economically strong state through hard working, and self sacrifice.” He further urged southern Sudanese to stop tribal laziness by putting away laziness and drunkenness.

Meanwhile the Anglican Bishop Michael Lugor called for unity of all southern Sudanese to champion the vision of late Garang. Then the prelate gave a walking stick crafted out of hard hood to President Salva Kiir Mayardit as a symbol to protecting his leadership in governing government of southern Sudan.

Luka Monoja, minister of GoSS cabinet affairs and the chairman of organizing committee of the second commemoration of Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s death said that late John Garang de Mabior was a learning animal that never satisfied of learning in order to develop and hence Minister Monoja called upon southern Sudanese to take learning seriously and also to emulate and embrace the vision left by John Garang for effective development.

Monoja further indicated that this year second commemoration anniversary was organized by both the SPLM and Government of Southern Sudan—-Salva-Kiir-declares-July-30th-national-Martyrs-day-in-South-Sudan.aspx

South Sudan commemorates 2nd Martyrs’ Day since independence
New Sudan Vision
(Juba, South Sudan) – July 30th or Martyrs’ Day is a mother of the days in the Republic of South Sudan, not confined to the recent contemporary history of our Nation. Not only for those fallen heroes and heroines of the two known liberation wars, the 

South Sudanese/Granite State Phenom’s Story Spreads Far and Wide
New Hampshire Public Radio
Guor Marial is a South Sudanese refugee who spent his high school years in Concord. He has now qualified to run the Olympic marathon. In the past few weeks he’s had a lot of press: Time Magazine, the Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, 

South Sudan accuses Sudan of bombing village
JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan accused Sudan on Saturday of bombing one of its villages just two weeks before a U.N.-imposed deadline on peace and oil negotiations between the two nations. Military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said Sudanese 
US leads sanctions warnings to Sudans over peace talks
Business Recorder (blog)
The United States is leading international warnings to Sudan and South Sudan to step up efforts to reach a peace accord this week or face possible UN sanctions. The UN Security Council has given the rival neighbours, who this year came close to all-out 

Pharmacist Technical Supervisor Needed

Posted: July 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

A leading South Sudanese Pharmaceutical company is looking for a pharmacist technical supervisor as per the following minimum requirement:

1)       A South Sudanese national

2)      Graduate of pharmacy from a recognized university

3)       Registered pharmacist at and recognized by RSS/MOH Pharmaceutical department

4)      Minimum total period of experience of two years.

5)      Willing to accept full time job.

–          The incumbent duty station will be Juba with some duty travel to other South Sudan states as and when necessary.

–          Entitlements package will be discussed upon successful performance at the interview but other than a very attractive salary it includes future training and development abroad with reputable pharmaceutical companies.

–          Only short listed candidates will be contacted for the interview.

–          Application along with copy of the CV should be kindly sent to the following email address:

By Yasir Arman

Tomorrow the 30th of July, as we commemorate the memory of Dr. John Garang and celebrate his life and contribution as well, he would be one of the rare Sudanese who can be honored on the divide of both countries and by many Northern and Southern Sudanese and by Muslims and Christians.  He was and he is above the divide being ethnic or geographical, and he had crossed many areas on this great divide.  And as we all know, Dr. Garang was his vision, the vision of the “New Sudan”, a vision that was essential and in essence based on the commonality of the Sudanese historical and contemporary and what brings the Sudanese together in the past, present and future, the peaceful co-existence and the common wealth that respects diversity of all forms.
Today Dr. Garang is not around, but his vision never dies.  In actual fact, South Sudan and North Sudan they cannot do much without his vision.  They are both very diverse and the massive majority of the two countries are marginalized and only the vision of the New Sudan can deliver peace, food, democracy and stability.  Both countries cannot achieve progress without true recognition of their diversities in a true democratic state that respects human rights, the rule of law and accountability, builds a caring society that would address the issues of marginalization including women’s rights and taking “towns to people, not peoples to towns”, the famous jargon of Dr. Garang.  The two countries are in need of such a great vision. 
Dr. Garang was a true democratic Pan Africanist who believed in the unity of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town and as charity starts at home, he was for the unity of Sudan and he made the biggest attempt to preserve that unity on a new basis against all odds.  Now as we have two Sudans, the vision of Dr. Garang remains valid and needed by both countries, and it is also valid to re-unite Sudan, a unity between two independent viable countries and democratic states that share the same values.  The present situation full of challenges and liabilities that can be changed into assets requires a huge work and struggle by all democratic forces in the two countries.  Areas such as Blue Nile and South Kordofan can be and they should be a role model of economic and social integration between the two countries given the historical and social ties as well as the rest of the border states between the two countries. 
As we commemorate and celebrate the life of Dr. Garang by those who are from Northern Sudan, for us Dr. Garang is a true son of Northern Sudan as well as of South Sudan.  He is a point of the link between the two countries and a great hero of our lifetime, and in my humble opinion, he was the most important Sudanese personality in the last century, and it will take both Sudans fifty to one hundred years to bring a wonderful charismatic leaders such as him, full of sense of humor and intelligence, a real human being.  The good news is that his vision remains valid and never dies.  In fact, it is the only game in town for both Sudans.
Yasir Arman
July 29, 2012

The Martyrs’ Day: Biography of the late Joseph Haworu Oduho

Posted: July 29, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, People

Obituary: Joseph Oduho: By Douglas H. Johnson

Thursday 01 April 1993
Joseph Haworu Oduho, activist and politician: born Lobira, Southern Sudan 15 December 1929; founding member and first president, Sudan African National Union 1962-64; President, Azania Liberation Front 1965-67; Minister of Housing, Southern Regional Government, Juba 1972-75; Minister of Public Service and Manpower, Southern Regional Government, Juba 1979-81; founding member Sudan People’s Liberation Movement 1983; died Kongor 27 March 1993.
THE DEATH of Joseph Oduho last week, a victim of the latest fratricidal fighting within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), has shocked Southern Sudanese throughout the world. He was one of the few survivors of the Southern Sudan’s first post-independence generation of radical politicians, and his death has not only cut a link with that early period of the Sudan’s political development, it has nearly ended any hope of reuniting the factions who have been disputing for power within the Southern Sudan since the fragmentation of the SPLA in 1991.
Born of the Latuka people in Torit District, Equatoria Province, Joseph Oduho was educated in Catholic mission schools and became a teacher in the years immediately leading to the Sudan’s independence from Britain and Egypt in 1945. His first political demonstration in 1953 protested against the exclusion of the Sudan’s Southern and African leaders from political negotiations between the Northern (Arab) parties and the Egyptian government.
He was elected to the Sudan’s first post-independence parliament in 1957, an advocate of political federalism for the Sudan’s underdeveloped regions, until the army took power in 1958. He was one of the first politicians to flee into exile in 1960, combining with other exiles, the late William Deng among them, to form the first exile movement, later known as the Sudan African National Union, in 1962. Together he and Deng published the first statement of Southern Sudanese political objectives, The Problem of the Southern Sudan (1962), in which they argued for the self- determination and independence of the non-Muslim South from the rest of the Sudan.
Oduho spent the next 10 years in exile or in the bush as a leading figure in a succession of Southern Sudanese exile-guerrilla independence movements. He was involved in a number of internal quarrels, and he finally broke with the movement in 1971 when the commander of the ‘Anya – Nya’ guerrilla army, Joseph Lagu, subordinated the political wing to his military organisation. Oduho was sceptical of the qualified autonomy which the Khartoum government of General Nimeiri offered the South at Addis Ababa in 1972, but despite his doubts he accepted the opportunity of peace and joined the transitional regional government in Juba and served as a minister in several successive regional governments.
Oduho’s combative personality never left him, and he frequently quarrelled with his colleagues over what he, and many others, saw as Khartoum’s failure fully to implement the 1972 agreement. He was firmly committed to the unity of the Southern Sudan and opposed the former guerrilla leader Joseph Lagu, when he proposed the dismemberment of the South and a retreat into a separate ‘Equatoria Region’. Shortly after Nimeiri unconstitutionally dissolved the Southern Region in 1983 Oduho once again went into exile and helped to found the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the political wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, under the command of John Garang.
Once again Oduho eventually found himself at odds with the military, objecting to Garang’s subordination of the political wing to the military command and spending several years in detention in various SPLA bases. He was released during inter- factional fighting among the SPLA in September 1992 and went to East Africa, where he was in contact with other anti-Garang leaders in the movement he helped to found.
Last week he flew to Kongor inside the Southern Sudan to meet with dissident military leaders to discuss ways of developing a broad-based leadership. Many Southern Sudanese hoped that, his quarrelsome past history notwithstanding, his position as respected elder statesman would overcome the increasingly vicious animosities which continue to rend the movement. Shortly after his arrival fighting broke out once again between the factions, and Oduho was killed. It is possible that he was the main target of the attack. Pugnacious to the end, he was a man of great humour, courage and political integrity.
Early years 1929-1960
Joseph Oduho was born into the Latuka community of Lobira in what is now Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria state in Southern Sudan on 15 December 1929. He was educated at Isoke Catholic Diocese Elementary School and Okaru Intermediate School, and became one of the first students at Rumbek Secondary School. He studied in Nyapeya in Uganda, then in Bakht Al Ruda Teacher’s Institute, earning a Diploma in teaching in 1950. Following this he was a headmaster in intermediate schools in Maridi, Okaru and Palotaha.
In 1953 Joseph Oduho led a protest against the lack of representation of southern, non-Arab people in the negotiations over Sudan’s independence.
He was arrested in Maridi after the 1955 mutiny in Torit, accused of conspiracy and sentenced to death. He was released in the general amnesty after independence on 1 January 1956.
Oduho was elected to the first post-independence parliament in 1957. He spoke in favor of a federal organization for the underdeveloped regions of the south. The army seized power in 1958 and Joseph Oduho fled the country in 1960.
Exile leader 1960-1972
Joseph Oduho was a founding member and the first president of the Sudan African National Union (1962-1964).
He and William Deng published the first formal declaration of Southern Sudan objectives in ”The Problem of the Southern Sudan” (1962). In this paper they argued for independence of the non-Muslim south from the Muslim north of Sudan.
Joseph Oduho was one of the leader of the exiles seeking independence. Between 1965 and 1967 he was president of the Azania Liberation Front. He finally broke with the exile groups in 1971 due to disagreement with Joseph Lagu, commander of the Anya-nya guerrilla fighters, who wanted to subordinate the political wing of the movement to the military wing.
Oduho was committed to the unity of Southern Sudan, while Lagu wanted to withdraw into a smaller “Equatoria” region
Southern Sudan government member 1972-1983
On 3 May 1972 the Addis Ababa Agreement 1972 was ratified as “The Southern Provinces Regional Self-Government Act 1972”, bringing a temporary halt to the civil war. Joseph Oduho and Samuel Aru Bol were appointed to the southern executive.
He was given the position of Minister of Housing in the Southern Regional Government, Juba (1972-75).
In 1975, Joseph Oduho was accused of plotting for southern secession and was arrested, but was released in 1976 after an amnesty declared by President Gaafar Nimeiry when the South Sudan Union (SSU) and northern political parties had come to an agreement.
Joseph Oduho ran successfully for election in 1977.
He was appointed Minister of Cooperative and Rural Development (1978-1980) and Minister of Labour and Administrative Reforms (1980-1982). He was a member of the SSU Central Committee.
In 1982 there were disturbances across the south, with some ethnic minority leaders calling for greater decentralization.
Joseph Oduho was opposed to this, consistently advocating southern unity. He though that decentralization and tribalism were being fostered by northern politicians in order to weaken the south
Second civil war 1983-1993
In 1983, President Nimeiry dissolved the Southern Region that had been established following the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement.
Joseph Oduho went into exile again and became a founding member of the SPLM.
When the party was established on 16 May 1983, Joseph Oduho was made chairman and Colonel John Garang, a Dinka army officer, was made commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Later Oduho was deposed by Garang, who made himself leader of the SPLA/M.
For several years Oduho was imprisoned by the SPLA. He was released in 1992 and went to East Africa, founding a movement of opponents of Garang.
In March 1993 he flew to Khartoum to meet with dissident leaders, and then to Kongor in Jonglei State for further meetings with a view to broadening the base of SPLM leadership.
A fight broke out between factions at the meeting on 27 March 1993 in which Oduho was killed (he was killed with Mj. Gen. Kuackang from Nuer tribe) during the fighting between Kuol Manyang and Reik Machar at Panyagor in Kongor
Synopsis of Joseph Oduho’s Bibliography
Date: Tuesday, April 08 @ 00:00:00 UTC
Topic: Main News
Prepared by Otuho-Speaking Students’ Association (OSSA)
Joseph Oduho Haworu was born in Lobira village, which is about 42 miles east of Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria State (EES), in 1927. He is believed to have joined Isoke Catholic Diocese Elementary School, Ikotos County, in 1937.
He was admitted in Okaru Intermediate School from where he excelled to become one of Rumbek’s Secondary School Pioneer Students. He attended a Post Secondary education in Nyapeya in Uganda. Later on, Oduho was admitted in Bakht Al Ruda Teacher’s Institute from where he graduated with a Diploma in teaching in 1950. He worked in Maridi, Okaru and Palotaha Intermediate Schools as a headmaster. In Maridi he was arrested after the mutiny in Torit, accused of conspiracy and was sentenced to death by the authorities in Khartoum. He was released in a general amnesty that was issued immediately after independence on January 1st, 1956.
In December 1960, Oduho, Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Alexis Bakumba and others crossed the border into Uganda and the Congo.
While in exile, Oduho and his colleagues formed Sudan African National Union (SANU) and became its first president. SANU is a short form of the Sudan African Closed Districts National Union (SACDNU) formed in 1962 under the leadership of Oduho. He amongst others was arrested by the Ugandan authorities after officially launching SANU in Uganda in 1963. He was released but did not abandon the struggle. He crisscrossed the world in search of friends who sympathized and supported the struggle of the South Sudanese people until the signing of Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972.
After the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972, Oduho was appointed Minister of Housing and Public Utilities in the first Regional Government of South Sudan called The High Executive Council (HEC). He was arrested by the Khartoum and Juba authorities in 1975, accused of plotting to breakaway the South from the North. He was released in 1976 in yet another amnesty issued by President Numayri in the success of the so-called Al Wifaq Al Watani or National Consensus (Reconciliation) between SSU and the other northern political parties. He stood for elections of 1977 and won his seat. He was reappointed Minister of Cooperative and Rural Development in 1978-1980. He was reappointed in another administration as Minister of Labour and Administrative Reforms 1980-1982. Oduho was also a member of the SSU Central Committee.
In 1982, there were discontents from all over the South, reactions to what became to be known as an exercise of tribalism in the HEC government. Equatorians and other minorities in the South called for decentralization of the South so that power could be devolved to the greater regions of Bahr Al Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria. Oduho resisted this move, stressing to all South Sudanese, young and old, about the dangers of decentralization. He said if bought by all, the idea was aimed at weakening the South, which was emerging as a powerful democracy at the time. Oduho told others that decentralization was a self-destruct mechanism carefully designed by Numayri and Turabi. He was a member of the Committee for the Unification of the Southern Sudan. Again Khartoum and Juba authorities arrested him but they released him in 1983.
Having suffered under his government in the South and the authorities in Khartoum, Oduho believed that the country was not yet ready to coexist and prepared to leave. He was smuggled out of Torit by a Good Samaritan to Kenya from where he joined the Bor-Ayod Mutineers under the leaderships of Majors Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon Bany. He became the first SPLM politician to lead the Political and Foreign Affairs Committee of the SPLM. Oduho co-chaired the drafting of the Penal and Discipline Laws of the SPLA in 1984, (He was arrested in 1984 after the return of the delegation which he led to Europe. The delegation was to enlighten the international community on the struggle of the South Sudanese people for freedom, justice and equality. He was briefly released in 1987 but with passport and other useful documents withdrawn from him by the SPLM/A.
He was rearrested in 1988-1989 only that this time he was kept in an isolated area on the mountain top of Jabal Boma or Boma Mountain. He was released in 1991 to come to his home village, Lobira, to bury his late son, Alt-Cdr. Kizito Omiluk Oduho. While in Lobira Oduho realised that he was still under surveillance and his Lobira villagers knew that and prepared to smuggle him out of the village. But before that happened, SPLA soldiers came to Lobira and ordered him down the Lobira Hill. He refused but SPLA soldiers opened fire on the Hill and many innocent lives were lost on both the SPLA and the villagers’ sides. Oduho was then moved by the villagers to a border town called Madi-Opei between Sudan and Uganda.
While in Madi-Opei, he wrote a note to his son, Ohiyok Oduho, to help rescue him or he will be killed by SPLM/A whom, he said, attempted to kill him while in the Madi-Opei Catholic Missionary. Ohiyok Oduho called his maternal Uncle in Canada, Paul Odiong Dominic, to assist. Paul Odiong approached an old friend of the Late Joseph Oduho, Prof. Stores McCall, in Canada and asked him for assistance. McCall responded and about 1,000 USD was sent from Canada and Ohiyok Oduho contributed another 1,000 USD. to hire a Cessna Aircraft from Kenya which landed at Kitgum Airstrip. Ohiyok drove to Madi-Opei, about 27 miles North of Kitgum, and evacuated Joseph Oduho to Nairobi in February 1993.
On his arrival to Nairobi, was taken by his son, Ohiyok, to Nairobi Hospital where he was admitted to the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He had developed diabetes, and had a flat heart, which the Cardiologist Doctor, David Silverstein, said could have ceased from work up on the plane, had the flight extended for a little longer. He was released after four days of intensive care at the ICU.
As a veteran Sudanese politician, Oduho was approached in Nairobi, Kampala and beyond Africa by South Sudanese concerned with the situation at home. His son, Ohiyok Oduho, told him that it was time he retired from politics because politics in the South was becoming dirtier by the day. Oduho told his son that he was the only surviving founder of the South Sudanese struggle and could not feel happy to retire if he did not unite the people of the South for whom he had surrendered his life to. Oduho said it will be difficult to negotiate with Khartoum if there were more factions.
In order to fulfill his vision of reunifying the people of the South, Oduho, through the assistance of a Catholic organisation called People For Peace In Africa, organised a reunification conference in Nairobi in late February 1993. All factions were invited, including Torit Faction or the mainstream of the SPLM/A under the leadership of Dr John Garang. SPLM/A disassociated itself from this reunification conference and instead planned to destroy it. As the reunification conferees converged at Panyagor, in Jonglei State, to organise and announce the reunification of more than four factions that broke away from the SPLM/A mainstream, they were attacked by the SPLM/A mainstream. Oduho was caught alive by the SPLM/A and was executed there and then. The execution of Oduho was carried out on this date and month in 1993.
This information should not be misunderstood as being aimed at dividing the people of the South. The real aim of releasing this information as it is, however, is to correct the distorted information on surrounding Oduho’s death. He wasn’t a simple man and as such the people for whom he sacrificed his life ought to know how he died. His death was and continues to be both strength and loss to the people of South Sudan. Strength because he believed that he would one day die in the cause of the struggle and did not care whose bullet would get him first. Loss because the South needs people like him today to help unite and guide its people.
As heard and read from this short synopsis, Oduho died while trying to unite the struggling masses of South Sudan. OSSA therefore will do everything in its power to work and fight for the unity of the South Sudanese people and certainly cherish such legacy left by a hero this country will never forget for the contribution made by him, and fellow heroes like Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Aggrey Jaden, Alexis Bakumba and Dr John Garang, just to mention but a few of the many heroes the South and Sudan as a whole has produced.
Leaving Bittterness Behind
Lagu’s counterpart at the time, the head of the movement’s political wing, was a man named Joseph Oduho, and it was the late Oduho who introduced Lagu to the Israeli ambassador and political attache in Kampala, Uganda, where there was a growing Israeli presence in the late 1960s. “We have a common concern, and that is fighting the Arabs,” Lagu wrote in the letter he gave the attaché, asking him to pass it on up through the ranks.
The commander went on to offer a deal: If Israel would support Anyanya, Lagu promised to tie down the northern Sudanese armies so as to prevent them from joining the Egyptians and other Arabs from attacking Israel in the future.
“I waited for a response, but the problem was that Eshkol died. He never even saw that letter,” says Lagu. “But luckily, he was followed by a woman who must have found that very letter and she contacted me. They were interested in the part where I said we would tie down the north, and believed we might even manage to tie up some of the Egyptian forces who would come to the north’s assistance.”
Golda Meir summoned Lagu to Israel, “practically smuggling him in,” as he tells it. And during that first two-week trip to the country and the territories – in between tours to military bases around the country, from the Golan Heights to the Sinai and the West Bank – the Sudanese commander met with the prime minister in her Jerusalem office. They spoke about religion, and Lagu told her how, he recalls, “the Christian southerners considered Jews as the cousins of Christ.” They talked arms. And then shook hands on a deal.
Short-lived relationship
Soon after, a shipment of weapons reached Juba from Israel – mainly two- and three-inch mortars, anti-tank missiles and light machine guns taken from enemy Arab countries during the 1967 war.
“They did not give us new weapons, or ones that were manufactured in Israel,” Lagu explains, “as they did not want to be publicly known to be helping us.”
Later, three Israeli advisors arrived and joined the rebels in the bush: a military advisor, a technician and a doctor. While other arms were coming in from Congolese rebels and international arms dealers, the Israeli assistance, Lagu explains, was what tipped the scales: “This helped transform my movement, and we became a force to be reckoned with. We began to make a real impact in the fighting against Khartoum.”
                                                                                 Speech Delivered by Col. Ohiyok Oduho
Your Excellencies Brig. Aloysious Emor Ojetuk, Guest of Honour, Uncle Bona Malual, Patron of this occasion, Dr Kamilo Oduwa, the Supervisor of this gathering, Your Excellency Mayom Koch State Minister at the GoNU Ministry of Irrigation, Hon. State MPs, State Council and National Assembly MPs, My fellow Otuho community and its leadership, Otuho-Speaking Association (OSSA) Leadership and membership, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the late Joseph Oduho’s family and on my own behalf, I greet you in the name of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. Please, allow me to extend my sincere greetings and appreciations to you for attendance and to the OSSA for making this day a success.
As a serious students’ body, OSSA has been and will remain to be, with the community’s support, the pride of the Otuho-Speaking Community. This being the case, OSSA needs to be seriously cautious of the politics in the South. There are politicians who are bent on dividing South Sudanese people on tribal lines. You do not follow them. Instead, exert efforts against division and all its vices.
Division is so useless that it could earn you nothing but hatred which likely develops into conflict. Joseph Oduho whose commemoration we are marking today did fight for the unconditional unity of his people. Oduho’s last mission in politics was to reunify fragmented brothers and sisters in the struggle. The fragmentations being referred to were the splits in the SPLM/A in 1984 and 1991. Please browse the Internet and don’t be shocked when you see the amount of information you would get. Thus, as young men and women who have recognised his efforts, OSSA needs to follow one of the noble legacies Oduho left behind: serious effort to unite the people of South Sudan unconditionally. Occasions such as this do unite people and as such must be encouraged in order to perform its wonders.
As a family of the late Oduho, we would like to reiterate to you, OSSA members and today’s honourable presence that we have missed our father; and have done so for the last 15 years and – God knows – we will continue to miss him forever.
However, there is one thing that encourages us as a family to live on as we remembered our father: his unresolved fight against those regimes in the Sudan that thought they would continue unabated to suppress the Sudanese people, especially those from the Southern part of it.
We are aware that our father was a friend to the late Philip Khabbush; with whom he was detained at one time by Numayri’s regime. We are also aware that our father supported and encouraged both Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa to sustain the struggle of the Nuba people.
We strongly uphold our father’s ideals and shall continue to cherish his legacy of unity. Therefore, on behalf of the Oduho family, I assure you who gathered here today that the Oduho family will continue to fight for the unity of the South Sudanese people.
Even though we are aware that our father was killed by fellow comrades in arms, trying to avenge for his death is foolish. It is only a fool who would think that such an action would bring Oduho back to live. An “eye for an eye” theory is unacceptable because it would leave many without eyes, and one could just imagine how disastrous that would become!
The least we, as family members could do, is to ask those who ended his life to remember him and colleagues like Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Alexis Bakumba, Martin Majier, Benjamin Bol Akok, Akot Atem de mayan, Nashigak Nyashulluk, Samuel Gai Tut, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, William Nyuon, Peter Kidi, Garang Agwang, Mario Muor-Muor, Joseph Malath, Martin Kajivura, Pierre Ohure Okerruk, Kizito Omilluk Oduho, Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa whose forces participated in the liberation of South Sudan, and Dr John Garang who delivered all of us home, just to mention but a few of our heroes.
On behalf of the family once again, I appeal to the authorities in the GoSS to transfer the resources necessary for a serious campaign, that has to be instituted by them with the aim of promoting unity of the South Sudanese people, dealing with tribalism and introducing heroes’ day in the South to appreciate and commemorate the efforts of those who gave their lives for Southern Sudan.
The Oduho family concludes by earnestly urging OSSA to join hands with the rest of the other students’ associations in the South and Sudan as a whole to remember the heroes of this country; those who shed their blood to make the Sudan a country others could emulate.The peace agreements signed between the government and the Western and Eastern Sudan rebels and between SPLM/A and the Sudan government, especially the Comprehensive Peace Agreement spearheaded by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, the most unique, I must say, of our contemporary heroes, did offer hopes for a comprehensive Sudanese peace and unity.
Finally, I would like to appeal to all the South Sudanese to forgive each other so that we could concentrate on the development of Southern Sudan.
Thank you very much and May God Bless You all?
Col. OhiyokDavid OduhoKhartoum, April 4th, 2008.

In Memory of Uncle Joseph Oduho


By Bona Malwal
Khartoum, Friday 4th April 2008

If being asked to stand up to address an occasion as memorable has commemorating the death of a leader is an occasion of honour and respect for those who are asked to do so, then being asked to stand before you today, you the young and the not so young of Southern Sudan is a very special privilege and honour for me. Thank you so much my dear sons and daughters, brothers and sisters from the Otuho community of Southern Sudan, for inviting me.For a country like Southern Sudan, where matters are not as normal as they should be, it is not only tempting to want to talk straight; it is indeed an obligation and duty to talk straight. This is exactly what I am going to do. And I ask for your individual indulgence in advance.

I stand before you with very mixed feelings on this very momentous occasion, because seeing the turn of events in our Southern Sudan Community today; it is very difficult for me to say with clear heart, that my teacher and political mentor, Joseph Oduho, has not died in vain. He spent his entire life struggling and in the end, he died in the hands of Southern Sudanese. We must believe and pray that his blessed soul is now in heaven.

After struggling for the cause of Southern Sudan for so long; escaping death in the hands of the true enemies of the cause of Southern Sudan; escaping the Kangaroo death sentence passed on him by the kangaroo courts of Northern Sudan after the Torit uprising of August 1955, Ustaz Joseph Oduho was gunned down in cold blood on 28th March 1993 by the hand of his own Southern Sudanese children, using the guns Joseph Oduho himself may have helped provide to these children for the liberation of our people from the tyranny imposed on the South by Northern Sudan.

It is impossible, as I stand before you, participating in this glorious occasion, marking the death of Joseph Oduho, to escape the thought that this great hero of the cause of Southern Sudan may just have died in vain.

As we remember Joseph Oduho, we must not forget that without freedom for all who are still alive in Southern Sudan; without total freedom from fear of any kind; especially fear from the rampant lynchmanship in Southern Sudan, in the hands of some of our own; without pride in the way the government of Southern Sudan conducts the affairs of Southern Sudan today, it will be difficult to avoid the bitter conclusion that Joseph Oduho and all the fallen heroes of Southern Sudan have died in vain.

It would be dishonorable for those of us, who witnessed the political life of Southern Sudanese heroes like Joseph Oduho, to see so much that is going wrong in our community today; to see the squandering of the well earned political power of the people of Southern Sudan and the resources of the ever heroic people of Southern Sudan being used for causes that are not of the people of Southern Sudan and not say that things are not well in our society today.

We all need to work together, to correct those who believe that the power of Southern Sudan is their power and authority for them alone, over the people of Southern Sudan. The would be authorities of Southern Sudan today, seem to think that they have the right to use that power unjustly and unfairly against any member of the community of Southern Sudanese. All of us need to stand up straight and firm to be counted against internal hegemony, political bigotry and internal tyranny.

It is not enough anymore, for us to be fed with the falsehood that it is Northern Sudan that is preventing rehabilitation and progress in Southern Sudan. It is not true that Northern Sudan is any more responsible for the mal administration of Southern Sudan since July 2005, since when the present government of Southern Sudan was formed. The current government of Southern Sudan is totally autonomous from the North, almost independent from the North, in its decisions and in its processes.

The North may not be giving the South its total fifty per cent share of the oil revenues from the oil wells of the South. I do not know about that, because if the North is not transparent with the government of Southern Sudan about the transfer of oil revenue to the South, then how transparent is the government of Southern Sudan with its people about how it spends what ever percentage of the fifty percent oil revenue it receives from the North? Are we only entitled, as Southern Sudanese, to know what Northern Sudan is not doing for us and we are not entitled to know what the government of Southern Sudan is doing with our resources for us?

I say these things on this occasion, because I know that Joseph Oduho would not have expected from me anything less. He was always an outspoken frank man. As my teacher in the formative years of my life, I hope I have learned something about frankness from Joseph Oduho. I am proud of that.

Joseph Oduho died struggling for the cause of Southern Sudan. It is ironic that he eventually died in the hands of his own community; a community he so struggled for. It is a great shame on us as Southern Sudanese, that Joseph Oduho did not die in the hands of the enemy of Southern Sudan, who wished him dead on so many occasions in his life.

Joseph Oduho was sentenced to death in absentia in 1955, following the Torit Uprising of August of that year. This is in spite of the fact that Joseph Oduho was a civilian, a teacher and was not even in Torit at the time of the uprising to have been an accomplice.

Joseph Oduho was elected to the 1957 Parliament from Torit as one of the members of Parliament from Southern Sudan. He sought from the floor of the National Parliament in Khartoum, to hold Northern Sudan accountable to the promise of federation, on the basis of which, members of parliament from Southern Sudan voted for an independent Sudan on 19 December 1955.

When Northern Sudan handed power to General Ibrahim Aboud in November 1958, to avoid answering the Southern Sudan demand for federation and in order to let the military repress the South, rather than concede Federation to the South, Joseph Oduho was one of the team of Southern Sudanese parliamentarians who joined the Anya-Nya Liberation Movement, to continue the struggle for the cause of the South. He and other Southern Sudanese did so, rather than to submit to the Northern Sudanese military machinations.

Together with other similar heroes who fell for the cause, like Reverend Father Saturnino Lohure, the Anya-Nya cause delivered autonomy for Southern Sudan under the 1972 Addis Abba Agreement. Joseph Oduho took part in the political and the government leadership of the South under the Addis Ababa Agreement. In the end, the North abrogated the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1983.

It is important for many of you young Southern Sudanese here gathered today, to know that as much as Ustaz Joseph Oduho was a Southern Sudanese separatist par excellence, he was also an unswerving Southern Sudanese Unionist. During the great KOKORA debate in Equatoria, in the early1980s, Joseph Oduho led the crusade for unity of Southern Sudan amongst Equatorians. He and a small, but brave number of leaders from Equatoria, who stood so steadfastly for the unity of the people of Southern Sudan, were treated almost as traitors to Equatoria. Joseph Oduho was undaunted by such classifications.

In 1984, only one year into the SPLA led war against the North, because this was only one year after KOKORA succeeded to split Southern Sudan, most Equatorians saw the SPLM/SPLA as a reaction to KOKORA and stayed away from it. In an open letter to Equatoria, Joseph Oduho implored Equatoria to join the SPLA, not because there was shortage in the personnel fighting the war, but because he saw that history was being made for Southern Sudan. He thought it was important for Equatoria to be part of that history. Equatoria heeded Joseph Oduho’s advice and joined the SPLA in droves.

The yesterday’s leaders of KOKORA are today the leaders of the SPLM/SPLA. It is ironic that the leaders of KOKORA of yesterday are not just the leaders of a united Southern Sudan today; some of them are currently the advocates of the idea of “A New Sudan”.

As a perpetual struggler for the cause of Southern Sudan, even though he was already in an advancing age, Joseph Oduho saw no choice for himself but to join the SPLM/SPLA in 1983, at its foundation, to continue the struggle. It is ironic that he remained a prisoner in the hands of his own people, until he met his death at Panyagor, in Jonglei, in 1993, in the hands of his own children. He was killed at the age of 67, while on a peace mission, trying to reconcile the warring factions of the SPLA

It is impossible to speculate how providence judges atrocities like the death of Joseph Oduho. But I am tempted by my human failing to believe that the always fair Almighty God has put the soul of Joseph Oduho into heaven.

If Joseph Oduho died a tragic death the way he did, it is almost inescapable to believe that Joseph Oduho would love the Machakos Protocol of 2o July 2002, which is the first Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which gives the people of Southern Sudan a referendum on Self-determination, in the year 2011, to be successfully carried out. Southern Sudan must not allow that noble right of Self-determination, to be subverted by those we currently see usurping the rights of the people of the Southern Sudan for their own anti- Southern Sudan causes.

As a pupil of Joseph Oduho, I am privileged and proud to stand before you here gathered today, to hold those who are responsible for the implementation of the CPA, to carry out Self-determination referendum as the final act of the CPA without deviation.

Joseph Oduho was my teacher and protector at a very young age for me. After completing Rumbek Secondary School, Joseph Oduho became an intermediate school teacher at St. Anthony’s Bussere Intermediate School in 1951. He joined and taught me in my second year intermediate school. He was a great footballer and became our sports teacher. He played in our school team, many times matching us youngsters against his old team of Rumbek Secondary School. He always protected us against older football opponents from elsewhere. He once put us into a football pitch battle in Wau town, because one of our young team mates was kicked in the stomach by an older player. He physically knocked down the offender player and kicked him in the stomach. We became engulfed in football pitch warfare with the Wau town crowd, with Joseph Oduho as our protector.

The Need for Truth & Reconciliation

It is a well known fact of life that in any war situation, there occurs excesses and war atrocities. Southern Sudan was no exception to this. What is important, is how a traumatized society, like the Southern Sudan society, deals with these issues at the end of the war. It is important to tell the truth about who did what against whom, during the war and to reconcile the society before it forgives the excesses of the war and then move on. South Africa and Mozambique have led us in this. Rwanda is going on with the same process at the moment in a very impressive way. With so much internal atrocity against each other during the war, Southern Sudan cannot avoid telling its truth to each other and then to reconcile. It is impossible to assume that leaders like Joseph Oduho have died the way they did and that nobody responsible in Southern Sudan cares to make public how they died.It is necessary for the Government of Southern Sudan, therefore, led by the SPLM/A that was largely responsible for the war atrocities within Southern Sudan, to now establish a truth and reconciliation commission, to lay to rest the ghosts of war and to enable the society to reconcile and to move on.

Southern Sudan cannot afford to have lost heroes like Joseph Oduho in vain and as we falter from the paths and principles for which Joseph Oduho and others lived and died, let us remember that Southern Sudan cannot afford to fail. May Almighty God rest the soul of Joseph Oduho in eternal peace?

Jonglei State: ‘Unregistered Shops’ Demolished

Posted: July 29, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Why is the Government Destroying People’s Livelihoods When They have provided None?

A bulldozer destroyed shops in Bor that the Jonglei state government claims were illegally inhabited, on Friday. Goods left without shelter after shops were demolished in Bor, July 28, 2012. The destruction has left thousands of South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) worth of goods without shelter during the rainy season; many of the residents called on the government to wait for the onset of the dry season. “They [government officials] don’t want us to be here in Bor,” said a resident whose shop was destroyed. Some residents cried upon seeing their livelihoods in jeopardy. The prices of construction materials rose dramatically in recent months with a piece of iron costing 55 SSP (US$12). Erecting shops like the ones being demolished costs up to 10,000 SSP, (US$2,262) owners claim.,43388