Why killing ourselves in Waat, of Greater Akobo?

Posted: October 7, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Pal Chol Nyan

By Pal Chol Nyan, Juba, South Sudan


October 7, 2017 (SSB) — For over a week long now, there has been an intense fighting in Waat. The fighting is between the government forces and the SPLMIO loyal to Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

It is reported that the death toll is high and the destruction caused unimaginably. Victories scored aside, both sides accused each other of exaggerating figures of the casualties according to the VOA. Senseless as the killing is, it is not supposed to be dwelled on by people in their right minds and with clear consciences.

It is to be noted that those fighting are sons and daughters South Sudan and more importantly, Greater Lou Nuer connected by blood but divided by war and political ideologies engendered by the Juba Nuer massacre in 2013; and the revenge killings of the Dinka in the areas of the Nuer.

Briefly, the Lou Nuer is a community and a sub-clan of the Nuer tribe found in the Eastern part of the Nuer territory in the Upper Nile region. They are neighboring the Jikany, Gawaar, Murle and the Jonglei Dinka of Twic, Hol, and Nyarweng. It was part and parcel of the Jonglei State.

It was only recently when the States of South Sudan was created on what observers call tribal bases. The designers say they are taking towns to the villages. It was then that it became a state and afterward, two States.

It is still Bieh State as per the 21 states of the SPLMIO with Brig. General Koang Rambang as the incumbent Governor assisted by his Lieutenants and secretaries.

Waat, the scene of the fierce and the ongoing battle, is the Headquarter of Bieh State now hosting Akobo State, an offshoot of the former unified Bieh State. The Lou Nuer are the peaceful community in the real sense of the word. They have good reputations for hosting and even assimilating their neighbors. They are always united in purpose in times of peace and war.

With the December 15th, 2013 incident, things turned out to be what was not expected. It became the strongest stronghold of the SPLMIO until the signing of the Agreement for the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan on August 15th, 2015.In 2017, probably in April, the government forces entered Yuai/Uror County without any resistance.

It is widely believed that this happened as a result of the sharp divisions which rocked the SPLMIO in Pagak and after J1 incident of 2016.Many people say it was also with the consent of some of the tribal chiefs; a fact questioning the ability of the SPLA-IG to invade the Lou.

The Lou Nuer area being perceived as one of the vital survival spots of and to the SPLMIO under Dr. Riek Machar was a great concern and a headache to J1.It was sometimes compared to Tel Aviv and the Chinese Great Wall; this narrative comparison means it was to be invaded by hook or by crooks; even if it finishes the country resources and drying up government coffers.

My close and informed sources said that when the government merchandised division led by Lt Gen Malual Ayom Dor, then SPLA Deputy Chief for Inspection, managed to march to Waat amidst fierce and deadly resistance, the pressure in J1 was reduced. There were jubilations and sense of relief.

This special day was compared to the day that the Commander-in-chief of the SPLA sacked his strongest army Chief. It was never expected because it was, even to me, an impossible thing to do given the powers the General wielded.

By having entered Waat and Yuai, it seemed the backbone of the SPLMIO have been broken which did not see light by what is now happening. I think it is a news to some die-hards that rebellions or sitting governments with all the resources at its disposal in the World have never been crushed.

Yes, rebellions can be contained. With Waat under the government, the SPLMIO was based in Lanken and Walgak with their main Headquarter in Akobo. Now coming back to the case in point, the killing in Waat is uncalled for. The civil populations are displaced. They are starving. No access to medical and

No access to medical and healthcare. The government is said to be in control but confined in their bunkers. The SPLMIO occupies part of the main town and keeps on launching raids and assaults, a kind of an insurgency warfare.

I am saying this because the reports we are getting do not match. What we hear from the SPLA spokesman, who is the right person, is different from what the SPLMIO peace faction military spokesman is telling us.

The figures of the casualties in man and materials issued in the town are not consistent with the ones issued from Bilpam. This interferes with the logic being what is actually happening on the ground.

It seems the communication with the field command is not streamlined.

The little I know is that where there is a conventional national army with central command, it is the spokesman for that one army to communicate with the field commanders who are in the line of duty directing and commanding the operations.

What is being seen and heard in the various media outlets is not clear; it looks like a manifestation that there is no one channel of information follow which cast serious doubts on where the orders to fight were given. I am addressing the government here.

With the two commanders-in-Chiefs in Juba with their military spokesmen, it is hard to comprehend the reality doing itself on the ground. There are instances when even the State Authority of Bieh State in Juba is not informed on the statements being issued.

It puts the State in an awkward position and in a state of uncertainty. The worst part now is that with the escalation of violence, it is difficult to evacuate the wounded. It is inhumane to prevent them from being evacuated.

I have no powers to rein in on anybody but; I would, on a personal note, prevail on the commanders from both sides to show some kinds of remorse and allow the wounded from both sides to be evacuated to seek treatment. They are our people; no matter how much differences and grudges we may hold against ourselves.

It is an appeal even if others may wrongly think it is in their best interests for the war to continue. The ICRC Convention on war Laws provides that the lives of the wounded are spared and the dead accorded a decent burial. The wounded must have cared for regardless of which side they belong.

If either side of the warring parties never abide by and observe this, it could be a dereliction of duty and flagrant violation of the International War Laws. Fighting anywhere never solves problems, it worsens the situation. People fight and eventually, you see them in ties and suits on the table to iron out whatever differences and then find a peaceful settlement.

The International community nowadays works hard to ensure the Agreement is implemented as per its contents. It is better to give peace a chance. Instead of finishing ourselves which we shall later live to regret, let the South Sudanese turn to the voice of reasoning for the war to stop.

The two armies in Juba importantly need to unify their reporting systems. We are losing important souls from the two sides. There is no raison dè trè to trade unsubstantiated news about death and destruction.

If my memory serves me well, there was a program to form one National Army last May this year. Is that plan viable or dead? The answer is with those or he who said this. Let us meet another time.

The writer is a son of Lou Nuer, concerned South Sudanese and an opinion writer. He can be reached on palcholnyan2016@gmail.com

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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from, plus a concise biography of yourself.

  1. John says:

    you have got a point to say however,nobody will heed the advises that you put in that narratives because the innocent people are being used by the politicians to achieve their political agenda.Lou Nuer are our neighbour with
    good neighbourhood relation however,they are always available to be used by the politicians through violent ways to achieve their political game.Lets us rethink together why always Lou Nuer?


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