The Murle and the Terror Culture of Cattle Raiding and Child Abduction in Jonglei state

Posted: March 27, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Anyuon-Magedem D’Gomba, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Anyuon-Magedem D’Gomba, Nairobi, Kenya

Murle dancing

Act of Terror

March 27, 2017 (SSB) — In its most basic definition, the term terrorism refers to any act that is perpetrated for the purpose of causing terror.

There is no any universal definition as to just what acts are considered terrorism, but it is commonly considered to be an action that causes fear and/or harm for a political, ideological, religious, or social and economic objectives.(legal Dict)

 Acts of terrorism deliberately target civilians, neutral military personnel, or other non-combatants, with blatant disregard for their safety.

To put it more simply, when a group of two or more people commits acts of violence or force against people or property, for the purpose of intimidating or coercing a government or civilian population, in furtherance of social or political objectives, it is considered a domestic terrorism.

The international community and the world has joined in to the attention drawn by a single tribe in South Sudan.

 For decades now, the Murle’s bandits had been terrorizing its neighbors around their territory, attacking and engaging in cattle raiding and child abduction, resulting to numerous death of innocent people among the victim tribes.

The Murle’s Culture/history

The Murle as they called themselves are also called “Bher” by the Dinka and “Ajebe” by Luo and Nuer communities.

They, at most cases practice Animism, being pastoralists in a country where localized and unpredictable shortages occur in rain, drinking water, bush fruits and cattle grasses.

This necessitates a partly nomadic lifestyle over large distances. As a result, in times of shortages they have frequently come into conflict with numerically larger groups, including the Dinka Bor, Nuer, Anuak, Jie, Mundari, Bari, Lotuho, Toposa, peri, kachipo, Boya, Didinka, and Lopon.

With no hesitant to stop there, the Murle have also extended to cross to the region of the eastern Africa and are attacking the Ethiopians tribes across the border of South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Being a community that depend on raids and wars to earn living, the community is made up of an age-set/groups, tasked with different responsibilities and the group responsible for carrying out the raids aged between 15 to 35 of ages.

These groups believe that the older ones cannot deny them their right to raids since the other generations have been doing it and they may sound more inferior in their time.

Amongst the age sets in descending order are the Mara, Dorongwa, muden, titti/thithoch, Botonya and Lango. The Botonya and Lango are the ones responsible for carrying out the raids.

The current governor of Boma state Hon. Ismail Konyi belong to muden and the deputy minister for labor, Hon. David Yau yau belong to Botonya. Sometime called Buothoth.

As a culture, the Murle men who qualify for stealing and raiding took the initiative for pride and strength and influence others to adopt the norm.

 They praise thieves and killers as a true men in their society. Those who don’t participate in the acts are vilified to be weak men who cannot carter for their lives and families and may be denied the right to marry girls of their choices.

The Murle rarely eat foods made of grains and vegetables. They depend mostly on meat as their stable food.

 In the scarcity of such resources, the Murle has never come into treaty with any of their neighbors.

The Dinka Bor in their attempt to make peace even after no cause has got its calls on deaf hears.

The Murle believe that it is a culture, stealing and taking people’s properties by force and killing the owners.

The terror culture as a source of income

The Murle, like the Dinka and Nuer have a tradition in which men can only marry when they pay a bride wealth of several dozens of cows.

But in the absence of Education, jobs and other domestic produces, there are very few possibilities to earn or garner dowries and living.

 As a result, the only way to acquire cows for marriage, quicker than through breeding them, is by stealing.

The Murle’s children are brought up like the young ones of the birds. Upon attending some ages, they are introduced to the usual routines of which the climate and the environment rules and became a master.

Hunger is what to stay with and to eradicate it, one may need an invention. Something incurable.

As this became the economic culture, Peace and treaties signed with the Murle shall bear no fruits as many believe that, telling a Murle to stop such an acts is like telling a farmer to stay without farming and stay till the dry season comes and you live to answer God on where to feed his/her children.

There believes to be reasons of default measures to live a peaceful lives with Murle.

The government in its quest may try to build schools in their areas but one wonder where are the kids in classrooms.

According to the report of the research by Plan International (2016), a research carried out in the counties of Gumuruk, Likuangole, Pibor and Veterah.

  Pibor had two schools with a number of 668 students while the six schools of Gumuruk had only 1,040 students.

 Approximately less than 200 students per school. The Likuangole County had 515 while Labarab enrolled with 274 students.

The South Sudan’s national bureau of statistic 2008 – 2014, estimated the population of the current Boma state at 168,670 people. A population unproportionate to the one required and expected for students joining classes.

Teachers too have their seasons to go to steal for they also wanted to marry or rather there may be no teachers due to lack of basic educations.

The national government may consider high schools dropouts to be their leaders to avoid compliance of marginalization.

A situation which led a high school theologian to acquire guns instead of bibles leading to the birth of cobra faction which later earned him a high military rank and a national deputy ministerial position.

 Eradication of the terror acts/solutions.

Since the human rights law requires the State and the world to take steps to protect the right to life which includes measures to prevent terrorism and in this case a domestic terrorism,

However, any measures taken to counter terrorism must be proportionate and not undermined.

In particular, laws designed to protect people from the threat of terrorism, and the enforcement of these laws, must be compatible with people’s rights and freedoms.

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right must be protected.

 No one shall be able to take people’s life for granted.

Everyone too has the right to own property and if taken illegal, should be an offense whether by community or individual,

Therefore, the world should name Murle tribe a terror community and failure to cease from the acts should be treated with counter terror measures.

A warrior is not what you think of as warrior as once said by Sitting Bull. The warrior is not someone who fight because no one has the right to take another’s life.

The warrior for us is one who sacrifices himself for the good and freedom of others for the Countries are fought through the just war of liberations.

You can reach the writer by

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

  1. Alam says:

    Murle are the rare Neanderthal of South Sudan. You can not continued to terrorized your neighbors for this long


  2. Onyi says:

    You whoever wrote these have nothing to do.You are just stupid Peron who doesn’t know what to do.


  3. Basher says:

    Interesting read. I’m sure solutions can be reached.


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