Posts Tagged ‘lou nuer’


Jonglei state Conflict Analysis: Why Second Disarmament Is Not a Solution

By Agereb Leek Chol, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Protecting civilians should be the primary job for the government. However, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) has failed tremendously to stop massacres in Jonglei state. In Jonglei’s Tribal Conflicts: Countering Insecurity in South Sudan estimated that 2,500 people were killed in 2009. My research dating back from 2005 until 2012 finds that 7334 were killed in Jonglei state because of cattle raids, counter attacks, and rebels casualties. These killing were exacerbated by the 2006 ‘forcible disarmament’, which left the Nuer and the Dinka Bor vulnerable to Murle’s raiders? The GoSS failed to simultaneously disarm everyone in Jonglei state.

As a result, the Murle raiders took this opportunity and attack the Lou Nuer clan sometimes in January 2009 in Akobo, in which children were abducted. As a response, a well-armed youth from Lou Nuer from Akobo, Uror, and Nyiro counties lunched launched retaliatory attacks in Likuangole between 5 and March 13, killing 450 people. In April 18, 2009, the Murle gunmen retaliated by killing at least 250, and abducting women and children. Homes were burned down and 16,000 people were displaced (Crisis Group, 2009). The Dinka Bor on the other hand, experience similar attacks, but never retaliated until their official attacked in February 8, 2012, which left dozens dead or wounded.

The cycle of violence is has been described as ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy in which one tribe attack and the other retaliate.  However, the GoSS and news media have called these conflicts “intertribal violence” and have invoked the primordial assumptions that guns are the main cause of the conflict. Calling these conflicts “intertribal violence” masks the main causes of violence. The Governor of Jonglei state has tried over and over to bring peace among the warring tribes, but often is violated by Murle’s raiders. The influx of modern weapons during the civil war between the north and south Sudan has change how wars were fought. Today, one man can massacre a whole village with one guns compared to the traditional weapons.

Looking at the conflict in Jonglei state, the problem is a multifaceted issue, and this is clearly different than simple conflict due to ethnicity or clans. The data I collected from 2005 to 2012 shows that 8059 people were killed and 2432 were wounded as a result of rebel attacks, cattle raids, and retaliation in South Sudan. Majority of these attacks are carried out using assault rifles, AK47, grenade launchers, and machine guns. Disarmament is one step to bring stability in South Sudan, but is second disarmament in Jonglei state the only solution? How can the GoSS main peace after the disarmament? Perhaps the GoSS should understand that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’.

In the article, Challenges to Protection of Civilians in South Sudan: A Warning from Jonglei State, Ingrid Breidlid and Jon Lie write,

“While several of these conflicts have erupted as a result of traditional cattle-raiding practices and competition over resources (land, water and livestock), socio-economic grievances and legacies of the civil war, including ethno-political tensions, contested administrative and tribal borders, youth unemployment, erosion of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, lack of integration of former militias, and the proliferation of arms have further contributed to the complex security scenario. In many cases, these factors have in turn been manipulated by political actors at the local, state, and/or national levels for political and economic purposes” (2011, 10).

The following tables will give the narrative of the conflict. The tables will also discuss the main causes of the problem, and how the government of South Sudan responded to the conflict. These tables will also indicate the month, year, and the location to identify which part of the country has experienced more conflicts. A report by International Crisis Group (ICG) , Jonglei’s Tribal Conflicts: Countering Insecurity in South Sudan writes, “given long histories of attacks and counter-attacks among Jonglei tribes, pinpointing how and where a particular conflict cycle began is difficult, but a look at recent events relating to each situation offers context to 2009’s violence” (2). This is why one needs to be aware not to generalize if one tribe is mentioned more than the other.

A. Lou Nuer and Dinka Conflict

To understand the conflict between the Dinka and Lou Nuer in Jonglei state, one has to look at what event exacerbated the violence. The conflict between the Lou Nuer and Dinka communities in 2009 has been in many ways the most “volatile” and “politicized”. The Dinka is the largest tribe in the South with the Nuer being the second. The current President of South Sudan is from the Dinka tribe and the Vice President is Nuer. The conflict between the Dinka and Nuer is not a recent phenomenon. Dinka and Nuer have raided one another for cattle for centuries, but often made peace with one another, and in fact supported each other communally and inter-married for centuries. However, the political split in 1991 between Dr. Garang de Mabior, from Dinka and Dr. Riek Machar from Nuer over the leadership of the SPLM/A is still vivid in many minds. This split led to the death of 2,000 thousands of Dinka Bor under Dr. Riek Machar leadership (Amnesty International, 1992).

From January-May 2006, the SPLA carried out a “forcible disarmament” of Lou Nuer communities in Wuror and Nyirol counties. Brewer writes, “Nuer-Dinka tension flared in the late 2005 when the Lou Nuer, one of the main Nuer groups, requested permission to graze their cattle in the lands of the Dinka Duk County before their seasonal migration (Brewer, 2010, 3).  This obviously was not tension resulting from a difference of mere ethnicity or bloodlines, but scarce distribution of physical resources.  International Crisis Group writes,

“During the dry season, they must travel with their cattle to the toiche areas in search of water and grazing areas. If they go west, they enter either Dinka or Gawaar Nuer territory. If they go northeast to the Sobat River, just across the border in Upper Nile state, they enter the territory of another Nuer sub-clan, the Jikany. Lastly, if they travel south to Pibor, they enter the territory of the Murle. In short, Lou must migrate either to Dinka, Gawaar, Jikany or Murle territories to sustain their cattle, a reality which is itself a primary trigger of conflict” (2).

During the meetings, Lou Nuer refused the demand because they have never been asked to do so in the past. “The campaign was initiated at the request of communities who needed to negotiate access to cattle camps. It sought to remove weapons from local pastoralist groups, primarily the Lou Nuer, many of whom perceived it as a political crackdown” (HSBA, 2006, 4). According to Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA), the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) made it clear that forcible disarmament  would proceed if weapons were not surrendered voluntarily (2006, 3). HSBA writes, “The reason many civilians were reluctant to disarm were that the terms of the campaign were never entirely made clear. Compensation was offered by the Jonglei governor, Philip Thon Leek, a Nyarweng Dinka from Duk County, for voluntarily returned arms, but the details concerning the source of these funds were lacking” (2006, 3).

Given these ambiguities, the Lou Nuer and Gawaar refused to hand over their arms, justifying their position that they needed to protect themselves from neighboring Murle, who retained their weapons. When the SPLA started to disarm Lou’s civilians, the White Army attacked the SPLA, and this altercation led to the death of 1,200 Lou, and 400 SPLA soldiers. International Crisis Group (ICG) writes,

“The devastation generated considerable resentment. The Lou felt singled out, which increased their perception of a state government biased in favor of the Dinka because they were the only community disarmed at the time, they were left vulnerable to the neighboring Dinka and Murle. Cattle raiders took advantage of the newly vulnerable Lou, who as a result began rearming over the next eighteen months”(Crisis Group interviews, Bor, 27 October 2009; Juba, 2 November 2009).

The government failed to organize a successful civilian disarmament because there were no clear guidelines followed by the SPLA. HSBA defines civilian disarmament as “a generic concept that encompasses a wide variety of interventions. These range from tightened regulatory mechanisms for private arms possession and forcible firearms seizures, to public awareness and sensitization campaign and weapons buy-backs, , collection, destruction programs” (2006, 2).  Clearly, these measures were not articulated well enough in the CPA, otherwise the government might not have run into these problems. According to HBSA, the SPLA collected some 3,000 weapons in Lou Counties and 708 guns from Rumbek central and Rumbek east. However, collecting these weapons resulted in the death of 1,200 White Army youth from Nuer and 400 SPLA soldiers as well as thousands of deaths during periodic cattle raids.

Table1. Dinka and Lou Nuer conflict from 2006-2012

Month & Year Location ETHNICEthnic group—instigators EthnicEthnic group—victims Total death Casualties ChildrenAbducted Arson Displaced GOSSresponse MainMainCause
May, 2007 Jonglei state (Duk) Dinka Lou Nuer N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Investigate-d by theGovernor 20,000 head ofcattle stolen
May, 2009 TorkeijUpper Nile Lou Nuer Jinkay Nuer 71 50 N/A N/A N/A N/A Land disputesAnd retaliation
Aug,2009 JongleiWernyolPanyangor Lou Nuer Dinka 42 64 N/A N/A 24,000 Security services deployed RetaliationFor thetheft of 20,000

cattle

Sept, 2009 JongleiDuk padiet Lou Nuer Dinka 167 N/A N/A N/A N/A Police deployed Slow responseby GOSS
Jan 7, 2010 Wunchai,Warrap Nuer Dinka 140 90 N/A N/A N/A N/A 5000 cattlestolen
Jan 6, 2010 TonjWarrap state N/A Dinka & Nuer 40 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Cattle raid
Sep, 2011 MayenditUnity  state “Raiders fromWarrap” Dinka 28 18 N/A N/A N/A N/A Theft of100,000 cattle
Total 488 222 24,000 125,000

In May 2007, the theft of 20,000 cattle by Dinka of Duk County from Lou Nuer led to many skirmishes. Governor Kuol Manyang led a team to investigate and reclaim stolen cattle, but the cattle were disbursed in many areas, especially in Wernyol.  Only hundreds were able to be reclaimed. The Lou Nuer felt that the government wasn’t doing enough to protect them. Again in January 2009, seven wildlife and police personnel were killed in Poktap, in Duk County, on a convoy delivering salaries to state employees in Lou-dominated Nyirol country. This incident prompted a suspicion that Dinka citizens and Duk County commissioner were behind the attack.

By 2009, tensions were rising between these communities and it needed a response from Governor Kuol Manyang, who then convened a peace conference with chiefs and representatives of Dinka and Lou Counties. The chiefs made recommendations to address Lou’s demands regarding Poktap’s attack, recovery of stolen salaries, compensation for families killed, and the return of 20,000 cattle stolen in 2007. According to International Crisis Group, the paramount chief of Uror County, Gatluak Thoa, from Lou Nuer tribe made it clear that if these recommendations were not pursued, the government would be responsible for any fallout. Gatluak Thoa gave the government three months before taking matters into their own hands.

By August 28, 2009, Lou youth attacked Wernyol, in Twic East County, killing 42, wounding 60, and displacing hundreds. Immediately, National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) were dispatched to confront the youth. This step by the government prompted criticism because the government intervenes when the Dinka tribe is under attack, but not the other way around. On September 20, 2009, the group of 1,000 Lou youth struck Duk Padiet, targeting not cattle, but administrative centers.  One hundred sixty seven people were killed including civilians, police, and SPLA soldiers. This incident indicates that the conflict is now politicized. The main concern by Lou Nuer disarmament is because it ‘exposes them to their tribal enemies’ because the government can’t protect them, and that the neighboring tribes should have been disarmed at the same time (Young, 2007, 12).

B. Lou-Murle conflict

To address Murle’s conflict, one needs to understand the history of war in this region.  Murle region was controlled by Ismail Konyi, a leader of Murle Pibor Defense Forces. During the North-South civil, the Ismail Konyi rebels were fighting against the mainstream SPLA with the support of the Khartoum government. Despite Konyi being integrated in GoSS government in 2006, his relationship with the Khartoum government still exists. During the government disarmament period in 2007, Konyi was dispatched to Pibor to collect arms from his tribe. However, Ismail Konyi never carried out what he was asked to do. International officials in Pibor County stated that “Ismail Konyi was using funds intended for disarmament to buy local support and undermine the commissioner” (Crisis Group interview, UN disarmament expert, Juba, 2 November 2009). Immediately, Governor Koul Manyang and the Commissioner wrote to the President for his removal. The President demanded Ismail Konyi return to Juba, in which he refused and instead returned to Khartoum. Three months later, Ismail Kony returns to Juba.

In 2008, GoSS Vice President Riek Machar returned to Pibor with Ismail Konyi to dissuade Murle from attacking Lou Nuer. In early 2009, Riek Machar and Ismail Konyi traveled to Lou to inform them of the new Murle pledge for peace. Soon after these officials left, Murle raiders attacked areas in Akobo County, which severely discredited any ‘peace negotiation’. The Lou Nuer rearmed themselves again to retaliate against the attack by Murle.

Table2.  Nuer and Murle conflict from 2006-2012

Month & Year Location ETHNICEthnic group—instigators EthnicEthnic group—victims Total death Casualties ChildrenAbducted Arson Displaced GOSSresponse MainMainCause
March, 2009 Akobo &Pibor,Jonglei Lou NuerMurle 750 1000 N/A N/A N/A Ismail Konyi dispatched 600 cattlestolen
March,2009 PiborJonglei Lou Nuer Murle 450 45 N/A N/A 5,000 N/A Retaliation
April, 2009 Jonglei,Akobo Murle Lou Nuer 250 70 N/A N/A 16,000 Lou-MurlePeace talk Retaliation onMarch attack
August, 2009 Jonglei,Mareng Murle Lou Nuer 185 18 N/A N/A N/A Governor condemne-d the killing N/A
August, 2011 Uror, Jonglei Murle Lou Nuer 640 861 208 7924huts N/A SPLA forces deployed Theft of 38,000cattle
Dec, 2011 Pibor, Jonglei Lou Nuer Murle 3,000 N/A 1293 60,000 SPLA & UN dispatch Retaliation attack, wWhich of375,186 cattle

stolen

March, 2012 Nyirol, Jonglei state Murle Nuer 30 15 NA N/A N/A N/A 15, 000 headsOf cattle stolen
Total 5305 2009 1504 0 80,000 428786 cattle

January 2009 attack in Akobo resulted in Lou youth from Akobo, Uror, and Nyirol Counties attacking the Murle from March 5-13, killing 450 people. On April 18, 2009, Murle gunmen retaliated by killing 250 people in Nyandit. They also abducted children and women. During this attack, 16,000 people were displaced (Human Right Watch, 2009). The “tit -for-tat” clashes between Lou and Murle reoccurs because the government is not doing enough to stop the Murle from attacking Lou. The Murle leaders aren’t doing enough to discourage youth from raiding other villages.

One interesting data about Nuer and Murle conflict is December, 2011. The attack by lou youth from Nuer, which claimed 3000 lives is disputed by the U.N. The U. N officials who were in area think the numbers were in hundreds. The themes in this section include child abduction, cattle raids, and retaliatory attacks from both tribes. The data shows that 208 children were abducted by the Murle. However, I predict these numbers to be higher.  Jonglei state government rarely keeps records of attacks, which makes it hard to track those abducted.  According to Jonglei state government report in 2009, 380 children were abducted. (Breidlid & Lie, 2011, 10). This piece of data is missing in the table. This clearly shows that the data is possibly missing more cases.

C. Lou Nuer-Jikany Nuer land dispute

The Lou and Jikany are sub-clans of the Nuer tribe; however, both clans have been in conflict with each other because of prior land disputes. The Lou and Jikany for example, are from Nuer tribe, but they are also involved in similar feuds paralleling the Dinka and Murle. So, why then do we still call the conflict as “inter-tribal violence” if two sub-clans from one tribe are fighting against one another? The conflict between Lou and Jikany stems from the North-South civil war.  International Crisis Group writes, “In the 1980s, the SPLA carved the South into operational zones. However, some interpreted these as administrative boundaries and began moving accordingly. Lou occupied areas along the western bank of the Sobat, traditionally home to the Jikany, resulting in significant Jikany displacement to other parts of Upper Nile state” (7).

In January 2009, Wanding payam, a disputed territory, was handed back to the Jinkany communities; however, the Lou tribe who once inhabited the area in the 1980s never fully left the territory. In the spring of 2009, a “series of cattle theft, the murder of Jikany trader in Akobo and abductions of Lou children brought more tensions between Lou and Jikany. In May 2009, Lou youth retaliated killing 71 and wounded 50 people”(Crisis Group interviews, Lou, Juba). After this event occurred, the government didn’t take any initiatives to stop the conflict in order to prevent further retaliation.

D.  Dinka and Murle conflict

Table3. Dinka and Murle conflict from 2006-2012

 Month & Year  Location ETHNICEthnic group—instigators EthnicEthnic group—victims Total death Casualties Women &ChildrenAbducted Arson Displaced GOSSresponse MainMainCause
October, 2007 Bor, Jonglei Murle Dinka N/A N/A 2 N/A N/A N/A Child adduction
Dec, 2011 JaleJonglei Murle Dinka 42 17 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jan, 2012 DukJonglei Murle Dinka 47 7 N/A N/A N/A UNDispatch-ed 200 heads ofCattle stolen
February, 2012 Bor, Jonglei Dinka Bor Murle 9 11 N/A N/A N/A N/A Retaliation
Total       98 35 2        

The Dinka Bor and the Murle inter-tribal conflict is reported that cattle raiding and child abduction are the main causes. However, the data collected from 2006 to 2012 shows that one boy and a girl were abducted in Bor. The killing in December 7, 2011 in Jale payam in  Jonglei state is believe to be an intentional killing by the locals. According to Borglobe news reports, the “Murle raiders always target to abduct children, but surprisingly, they killed children and elderly this time in a move seen as a hate violence” (Borglobe, 2011, 7). The data presented above doesn’t explain the entire conflict between these tribes. There is no doubt that many children have been abducted in Bor and other places then the data shows. The Jonglei state police lack the capacity to investigate these abduction.

E. Armed rebels groups in South Sudan

Jonglei State, Warrap State, Unity State, and Central Equatoria are some of the areas that are experiencing rebel conflicts in addition to ‘intertribal cattle raiding’.  Table 4 below maps rebels’ activities in the South Sudan. The rebels groups which are creating havoc in the South belong to a former SPLM/A commander, George Athor who rebelled  during the April 2010 elections after losing to the governor of Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang Juk. George Athor’s rebellion was politically motivated. Despite his death in December 2011, his rebels are still active in Jonglei State.

Table4. Rebel attacks: South Sudan rebels and the LRA from 2006-2012

Month & Year Location Instigators Total death Casualties Arson Displaced GOSSresponse MainMainCause
May, 2006 Motot, karam , Yuai,Jonglei South SudanRebels 113 N/A N/A N/A N/A Disarmament campaign
May, 2006 Uror, Nyirol,Jonglei South Sudan Rebels &SPLA 1600 N/A N/A N/A N/A Disarmament campaign1200 Lou youth and 1400 SPLA killed
Oct, 2009 Terekeka,CentralEquatoria LRA rebels 30 N/A N/A 22,000 N/A N/A
Oct, 2009 WesternEquatoria LRA rebels 205 135 67,700 N/A N/A
Oct, 2010 Mayom,Unity State South Sudan Rebels 75 18 N/A N/A SPLAforcesdispatch 600 cattleConfiscatedRebel’s homes
May , 2011 Nyandeit,Unity State South SudanRebel 86 N/A N/A N/A SPLAForcesdispatched RebelsAttacking SPLAstations
June, 2011 Tony, Warrap state South Sudan Rebels 50 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dec, 2011 Pigi ,Jonglei South Sudan Rebels 9 13 N/A N/A SPLAForces dispatched VotingFraud
Total 2168 166

The second armed group is the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), a rebel group made up of forces formerly loyal to Peter Gadet who had accepted an amnesty from the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit. However, majors of SSLA forces haven’t been integrated into the SPLA and they pose a threat to peace. The data collected from 2005 to 2011 shows that together George Athor’s and Peter Gadet’s rebels’ clashes with the SPLA have killed 2168 people in South Sudan. The SSLA accused the government of South Sudan of corruption and underdevelopment. According to the BBC, “they are angered by what they believe is the domination by the Dinka ethnic group” (BBC, October 29, 2011). Senior officers – majors — of these rebels are from the Nuer tribe. Their confrontation with government soldiers has resulted in the deaths of many civilians.

The third rebel group is the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), which is under the leadership of Joseph Kony. This rebel group is at war with Ugandan government, however, they are operating in the border of Centeral Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and the Congo.  The LRA is a proxy rebel group being used by the North to disrupt peace in South Sudan. Despite South Sudan becoming an independent nation, LRA are still killing civilians in their villagers. In The Lord’s Resistance Army in Sudan: A History and Overview, Mareike Schomerus writes “Khartoum ran a proxy war through the LRA against the SPLA and UPDF, while the LRA obtained supplies and assistance in its attempt to overthrow Museveni” (2007, 18). According to the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report from June-August 2011, 70,000 people were LRA-induced IDPS in Western Equatoria since 2008. In Cakaj’s article, The Lord’s Resistance Army and the Threat Against Civilians in South Sudan, a UN report indicated that 205 people in Western Equatoria were killed in October 2009, and 135 people were abducted. Over 67,700 people were displaced from their homes as a result of LRA attacks in this region (Cakaj, 2009, 2).

Cultural Abuse

Clearly, cattle raids, and child abduction are the main triggers of the conflict. The question is why does Murle raid other tribes for cattle and abduct children?  According to Gurtong website, “The Murle social and cultural life is centered round their cattle. They breed them, marry with them, eat their meat, drink their blood and milk, and sleep on their hides. The Murle compose songs full of references to the herds captured in battle or raids from their neighbours. Raiding and stealing of cattle is a question of honour and valour. Every important social event is celebrated by the sacrifice of a bull in order to ensure the participation of the ancestral spirits as well as to provide food for the assembled guests and relatives. Kinship obligations are expressed in terms of cattle”. To put it succinctly, the Murle culture is somewhat abusive because “the Murle compose songs full of references to the herds captured in battle or raids from their neighbors.  If this is true, how do we expect the disarmament to materialized knowing that the Murle raiders will rearm to carry on their tradition?

Child abduction

In case of child abduction, how does this translate into “intertribal violence”? This discourse suggests that these tribes are fighting because they hate each other base on their tribal identity. I would assume that the Murle tribe abduct women and children to make them part of their community. Perhaps Abner Cohen’s explanation which “placed a greater emphasis on ethnic group as a collective organized strategy for the protection of economic and political interest” (Jones, 1997, 74) might shed some light on this issue. Whether these abductees are assimilated into Murle’s culture or sold into slavery, this business has created a deep hatred against the Murle tribe. Typically, the Murle tribe abducts women and children ranging from one year old to sixteen years old. No one knows exactly when this tradition of child abduction started in Murle’s culture. Recently, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit was quoted saying that the Murle tribe are suffering from “syphilis” during the aftermath of Yar and Ajak abduction. The abduction of Yar and Ajak in 2007 made headlines in American news media. Their uncle, a Lost Boy from Minnesota State University mobilized his classmates to write petitions to the U.S government. The students’ work became known as Save Yar Campaign.

The question is what laws are put in place by the GoSS and the Jonglei parliament to retrieve those abducted to their parents? What form of identification should be followed once they are identified? What is the level of punishment? Perhaps deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing should be used to identify the victims. Relying on physical identification marks to identify these victims can complicate the process. Recently, when 6000 youth from Nuer tribe launched attack in December against the Murle tribe, they brought back women and children who identify themselves as Dinka Bor. For example, one family whom I know identifies their daughter which was abducted in 1997, and now she’s claiming to be Murle. She speaks Dinka language fluently and she fit her mother’s identifications. What do you do in this case? DNA testing is expensive, but parents should be given the option.

Cattle raids

Cattle keeping have been the tradition in these communities for centuries. The question is what mechanism has been put in place to protect cattle camps? What laws are put in place to punish cattle thieves? What laws are put in place to manage grazing land? We have to predict that not everyone is going to hand over their guns. What is GoSS’ position on those who defected from the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA)? These defectors have been implicated in the raids. The attack on January, 2012 in Duk Padiet County is interesting because the commissioner believes that Murle’s soldiers in the SPLA carried out the attack. According to the (thenewnation.net), the commissioner reported that “Some of the attackers who were killed during the clashes with the local youth were wearing SPLA uniforms” (thenewnation, 2012, 18).

Why civilians demand weapons?

The Small Arms Survey field research, which focused on social factors fueling the civilians’ demand for weapons, suggest the following to be exacerbating the violence:

  • Protection of livestock from cattle rustling. The majority of people in Jonglei live in rural areas and they rely on livestock as a source of livelihood, arms are important to protect cattle
  • Protection from crime against individuals, their household, and their communities: the failure by the government to provide security forces locals to acquire guns to protect themselves from violent crimes
  • Communal self-defense and deterrence: “Pastoral wars- over pasture, farmland, and wells, but also arising from political and commercial rivalries played out between elites—are endemic in the region. Communities unable to protect and defend their communal resources risk them to better-armed rivals. As a result of these and other security dilemmas, tribes seek to maximize their firepower as a form of deterrence” (HSBA, 2007, 3).
  • Anticipation of renewed political violence/civil war; there is a fear among South Sudanese that war might resume again because of rebellion and Khartoum’s threats makes the locals adamant to increase their arsenals to protect and fight in the next round of war.
  • Cross-border insecurity from armed groups: Lord Resistance Army (LRA) activities in the border of South Sudan, Uganda, and Congo have led to insecurity and displacement in South Sudan. This group has been accused of killing, kidnapping, and banditry in. Rebel’s confrontations with the SPLA have led to the death of many civilians. These alone force civilians to acquire guns.
  • Bride’s wealth and dowry: the demand to pay dowries among pastoralist tribes in South Sudan exacerbates the conflict because young men want to follow traditional customs. This indirectly increases the demand for small arms in order to carry out cattle raiding and when locals knowingly continually demand high dowry in cattle-scarce areas this is a form of “culture abuse”.
  • Offensive attacks: Communities who often carry out attacks on other tribes benefit from the spoils of conflict. These benefits include stolen cattle, children, and house goods.

The government of South Sudan is aware of these issues mentioned above. How are these problems framed as ‘tribal issues’ since the conflict is a multifaceted problem? How is disarmament a solution if these problems are not address? In order to solve these issues, the government first needs to abandon this term, and deal with the insecurity. This language reifies the discourse. The question is how can the government of South Sudan (GoSS) disarm civilians peacefully and maintain peace? What the government forgets to understand is the underlying motives for why these civilians refused to hand over their arms. As an SPLA official during the campaign stated, “You’ll kill 500, but the rest will hand the guns over. It is necessary to use a well-equipped force to disarm. We don’t want to hurt anyone, but we must start somewhere, and we must do our best to provide security to those disarmed” (Brewer, 2010, 7). The government only seems to be interested in collecting arms, but neglects civilians’ protection. This attitude that killing 500 people will deter people to hand over their guns voluntary is problematic.

Who is responsible for the many deaths in Jonglei State and other part of the country? The government which failed to provide protection or the civilians who take matters into their hands and retaliate?

Recommendations to the Government of South Sudan (GoSS)

In order for the government to stop the violence, the following issues must be addressed.

  • Conduct disarmament simultaneously in ten states. First, the government needs to deploy police and SPLA soldiers in all counties so civilians feel protected, and then disarm all civilians. Soldiers should remain until a South Sudan police force is well equipped enough to take over. The government should also make it clear that that civilians found with guns after the disarmament will be fined and sent to prison.
  • Armed police officers in order for them to respond to well-armed criminals. Most importantly, build police stationss in 11 counties, Payams, and bomas. These stations can easily communicate when these criminals raid and abduct children.
  • Create gun control laws. For those who wish to own a gun for hunting, they must apply and receive approval from the government.
  • Build better schools and hire South Sudanese to teach skills to earn a living.
  • Control South Sudanese borders to stop weapons supply. Without well trained border security officers, guns will always return to the hands of civilians.
  • Regulate cattle business: The GoSS needs to put in place a formal system to monitor cattle’s sale. In order for someone to sale their cows they have to show proof of ownership. South Sudan is not ready to engage in a free market where by the market decide the prices.
  • Raiders should never be pursued by cattle owners. Camp leaders should report the attack to the police to pursue the attackers.
  • Fixed bride price for tribes who still practice dowry payment.
  • Abducted children should be documented immediately. To combat this, the government must create a department that investigates cases of kidnapped children until they are returned to their parents.
  • Pastoralists in search of grazing land have to request in advance before they can travel. It has to be approved by local leaders, and signed by county commissioners. Should there be any damage to local farms, the cattle owners should compensate for the loss.
  • The GoSS should establish a ‘state army’, which can respond to any emergency in each of ten states instead of rely on the national army.
  • More representation of each tribe in the parliament. This will prevent small tribes from being marginalize in the government.

It is my hope that with these recommendations put forth by South Sudan’s leadership and the Jonglei state administration, the ‘intertribal cattle rustling’, which the government calls “intertribal violence”, will decrease.  Disarmament will never eliminate cattle rustling and child abduction. The GoSS must work hard to create strict laws that punish those who are involved in the child abduction business. South Sudan’s borders need to be well secured; otherwise, illegal guns will be a threat to peace in South Sudan.

The Author is a student at Clark University, Worcester, MA. He can be reached at schol@clarku.edu

References

Breidlid, I., & Lie, J. (2011). Challenges to Protection of Civilians in South Sudan: A Warning from Jonglei State. The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs1, 1-45. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from the The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs database.

Brewer, C. (2010). Disarmament in South Sudan. Center For Complex Operation 1. Retrieved September 28, 2011, from http://ccoportal.org/sites/ccoportal.org/files/7_disarmament_in_sudan.pdf

Cakay, L. (2010, January 12). The Lord Resistance Army and the Threat Against Civilians in South Sudan. Enough. Retrieved February 24, 2012, from http://www.enoughproject.org

Jones, S. (1997). The archaeology of ethnicity constructing identities in the past and present ([Online-Aug.].ed.). London  Routledge.

Schomerus, M. (n.d.). The Lord Resistance Army in Sudan: A History and Overview.smallarmssurvey.org. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/pdfs/HSBA-SWP-8-LRA.pdf

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IRIN humanitarian news and analysis from Africa, Asia and the Middle East – updated daily. (n.d.).IRIN  humanitarian news and analysis from Africa, Asia and the Middle East – updated daily. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.irinnews.org/

News24, South Africa’s premier news source, provides breaking news on national, world, Africa, sport, entertainment, technology & more. (n.d.). News24, South Africa’s premier news source, provides breaking news on national, world, Africa, sport, entertainment, technology & more.. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.news24.com

Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian . (n.d.).  Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian . Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.guardiannews.com/

BBC – Search results for Africa. (n.d.). BBC – Homepage. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/africa

Bor | Southern Sudan | Jonglei | News. (n.d.). Bor | Southern Sudan | Jonglei | News. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.borglobe.com/

Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. (n.d.). Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Gurtong. (n.d.). Gurtong Peace Trust . Retrieved March 4, 2012, from http://www.gurtong.net

Herald Sun |  Latest Melbourne & Victoria News | HeraldSun. (n.d.). Herald Sun |  Latest Melbourne & Victoria News | HeraldSun. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au

Kuich, B. T. (n.d.). Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan. Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.sudantribune.com

ROSENBERG, M., & BOWLEY, G. (n.d.). The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com

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News | English. News | English. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.voanews.com


Activists march in Juba earlier this year in protest against the government’s slow response to ethnic violence in Jonglei state. Fresh fighting in the troubled state has claimed more than 200 lives, officials said on March 11. PHOTO | FILE |
By MACHEL AMOS, Sunday, March 11  2012

More than 200 have been killed and several others are missing in fresh fighting between two rival ethnic groups in the troubled Jonglei state of South Sudan officials said Sunday, raising stakes ahead of a disarmament exercise set for mid this month.

The fighting erupted Friday morning in cattle camps in Akobo County when armed men from Pibor in the same state crossed in from the Ethiopia borders and attacked the area, Jonglei state Local Government minister Duop Lam said.

“This was big fighting and more than 500 are killed or missing. I heard that there are more than 200 patients. If you have fighting with 200 patients like this, people who died will be more,” Mr Duop said.

“They mobilised themselves in not less than 3,000. They are moving back to the Murle land. The army was in Akobo and this people went through the Ethiopian border,” the minister added, referring to the attackers who he said came from Pibor.

The Murle of Pibor and the Lou-Nuer of Akobo hold longstanding hostilities over cattle, grazing lands and water points.

Major attack

The army spokesman, Col Philip Aguer Panyang said “many have been killed and many cattle were taken.”

“I am told that the attack was big. It was a big attack by the armed Murle,” said Col Aguer on Sunday.

Earlier, the army said it had deployed about 10,000 soldiers in all the 11 counties of the state to carry out disarmament and provide protection to the already disarmed communities.

Col Aguer said it was not clear how the SPLA in Akobo failed to buffer the attack.

The prevalence of the clash and the magnitude of the damage caused have been exacerbated by the presence of illicit arms in the hands of the civilians.

Friday’s deadly clash comes at the heels of a voluntary disarmament exercise mid this month in which President Salva Kiir said he would not tolerate resistance from the armed tribal youths.

More than 3,000 people are reported dead in such waves of violence in Jonglei state since January.

Ethnic hostilities have threatened to undermine stability of the Africa’s newest state since the euphoric independence last July.

http://www.africareview.com/News/200+killed+in+Jonglei+fighting/-/979180/1364124/-/14c2gfg/-/

Jonglei: “Over 500 people killed or missing” after Akobo attack – commissioner 


March 10, 2012 (BOR) – Jonglei State’s Akobo commissioner says between 500 and 800 are missing some of them feared dead following Friday’s dawn attack on cattle camps and villages by armed Murle tribesmen.

JPEG - 58.1 kb
In this UN file photo of 2009 tribal attacks in Jonglei, the family of a SPLA officer who was killed during the fighting in Duk Padiet mourn him at a funeral at the family homestead.

“About 500 to 800 people have either lost their lives, missing or abducted,” Akobo county commissioner Goy Jooyol told the Sudan Tribuneby phone Saturday evening.

“There are reports that many children are abducted,” he added. Due to the remote location Sudan Tribune has not been able to independently verify the claims.

Commissioner Jooyol repeated his calls for “help from well—wishes and friends of Akobo because our resources” are overstretched. Jooyol described the situation as “a real disaster.”

He said: “There are no medicines and it is very difficult to reach” Dengjok Payam (district) which is about 90 kilometres north of Akobo town.

Joshua Konyi, the Pibor County Commissioner, where the Murle tribe are from, told Sudan Tribune that he was aware of the attack. However, the chairperson of Murle youth in Pibor, Nyany Korok, said that the Akobo attack had not come to his notice.

After 6,000 Luo-Nuer attacked Pibor County over December and January Konyi claimed that over 3,000 people had been killed in the raid, although this figure has been dismissed by the UN Mission in South Sudan.

“The number of people who dead in any attack can’t just be estimated. But for sure the death toll be high”, Jooyul said.

DISARMAMENT CAMPAIGN

The clashes in Pibor triggered revenge attacks in Luo-Nuer and Dinka Bor areas caused and has led the government to deploy 12,000 soldiers to the state in preparation for adisarmamentcampaign that is expected to begin in the next few days.

The Akobo County attacks are likely to make the process more complicated with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir already indicating that South Sudan’s military will use force if weapons are not handed over voluntarily.

Kiir is expected to visit Jonglei State capital Bor on Monday to officially begin the disarmament process.

Cattle raids, like the one in Akobo on Friday, often occur in remote areas with poor roads making it hard to the South Sudan army (SPLA) and peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan(UNMISS), to respond.

MURLE WITHDRAW WITH CATTLE

Akobo commissioner Goy claims that the attackers withdrew from the Dengjok area with 500,000 after occupying nine cattle camps on from Friday morning until Saturday. He said that several of the raiders had been killed and that armed local youth were pursuing the raiders.

Sudan Tribune has not been able to independently confirm reports that up to 290 dead bodies have already been discovered.

Some Jonglei State MPs visited the area today using UNMISS helicopters on Saturday but they did not give any statements to the press upon their return to Bor.

The Akobo Commissioner has told Sudan Tribune that due to swampy nature of the area and the many rivers many people had nowhere to escape to. Some people had drowned in rivers as the fled the attack which began 5am on Friday, Jooyul said.

Cattle are kept in the swampy Dengjok area to the north of Akobo County during the dry season.

Jooyul said the numbers of dead would be made public in a few days time once local administrators had given him a comprehensive report.

TWIC EAST ATTACK

At least two people were killed and two others survived with injuries in a separate attack on Twic East County at 2am on Saturday, Twic East commissioner Dau Akoy told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

Akoy said 65 cattle were raided by the attack in the Nyang area of Twic East. The attackers killed a woman and a man while they were sleeping, he said.

Disarmament is perceived by most people in the state as the only way to achieve peace and reconciliation in Jonglei.

(ST)

http://www.sudantribune.com/Jonglei-Over-500-people-killed-or,41862

Hundreds killed as fresh ethnic clashes erupt in South Sudan’s Jonglei

Daily Nation – ‎
Photo/FILE Demonstrators appeal for peace and an end to ethnic violence in South Sudan in the country’s capital Juba on January 9. By MACHEL AMOS NATION Correspondent JUBA, Sunday Hundreds of people have been killed and several others are missing in 
Reuters AlertNet –
March 11, 2012 – Los Angeles, Calif. – International Medical Corps is responding to a recent outbreak of inter-communal violence in South Sudan. Following a violent cattle raid in the village of Romyereh in Upper Nile State on March 9, 
AllAfrica.com – ‎
Bor — Jonglei State’s Akobo commissioner says between 500 and 800 are missing some of them feared dead following Friday’s dawn attack on cattle camps and villages by armed Murle tribesmen. “About 500 to 800 people have either lost their lives, 
Africa Review – ‎
Activists march in Juba earlier this year in protest against the government’s slow response to ethnic violence in Jonglei state. Fresh fighting in the troubled state has claimed more than 200 lives, officials said on March 11.
Anyuak Media – ‎Mar 10, 2012‎
BY THE AKOBO ANYUAK COMMUNITY, This is the first time the Anyuak of Akobo appear in your office as a Community. This is a serious interruption during your tight work schedule. Thank you so much for allowing us to present ourselves to you.
AllAfrica.com – ‎Mar 10, 2012‎
Bor — Armed raiders alleged to be Murle tribesmen have taken control of cattle camps and villages in Dengjok Payam (district) of Akobo County, Jonglei State killing many people, sources have told Sudan Tribune. The fighting, that began at 5am on Friday 
In violence between Sudan and South Sudan, ‘echoes of Darfur’
Washington Post
NAIROBI — Renewed cross-border clashes between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan are raising fears of a worsening humanitarian crisis, with some officials warning that the violence is reminiscent of the conflict in Darfur.
Russian Peacekeepers Pull Out From South Sudan
RIA Novosti
All personnel and Mi-8 helicopters from the Russian air group in South Sudan have left the country, RIA Novosti correspondent reported. The move follows a Russian presidential decree after the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) ended on July 11, 2011.
South Sudan MPs Take Lessons From Govt
AllAfrica.com
By James Karuhanga, 10 March 2012 Two Members of Parliament from the newly independentSouth Sudan Friday met with members of the lower chamber’s Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth with the aim of learning from Rwanda’s experiences.

Bringing water to thirsty South Sudan
Charlotte Observer
Sherry Roese is organizing the “Carry the Jerry 5K and Relay” to benefit Water is Basic in South Sudan. COURTESY OF SHERRY ROESE On July 9, 2011, South Sudan secured its independence after a long and terrible civil war. This second war of the 20th 
Jonglei State Governor calls for perseveration of wildlife resource
Sudan Tribune
March 10, 2012 (JUBA) — The governor of South Sudan’s Jonglei, Kuol Manyang Juuk, has called for preservation of wildlife in eight month old country arguing that if it is properly preserved tourism could be a way to diversify the economy away from oil.
South Sudan officials say over 200 killed in fresh Jonglei fighting
Africa Review
PHOTO | FILE | By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Sunday, March 11 2012 at 16:56 More than 200 have been killed and several others are missing in fresh fighting between two rival ethnic groups in the troubled Jonglei state of South Sudan officials said 

US Envoy Softens South Sudan’s Stance On Outstanding Issues – Agency
AllAfrica.com
Khartoum — US special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman has contributed to soften the position of the South Sudanese delegation in the talks on outstanding issues in Addis Ababa, said Sudan’s official news agency. Talks on issues related to oil, 

Sudan: EU Urges South Sudan, Sudan to Reach Agreement in Addis Ababa
AllAfrica.com
The High Representative also called on Sudan and South Sudan to redouble their efforts to find a negotiated solution to all outstanding post-secession issues, in particular oil, citizenship, borders and Abyei, in the current round of talks being 

Emirati helps set up new airline in newly independent South Sudan
gulfnews.com
By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor Dubai: An Abu Dhabi-based UAE national is helping to set up an airline, Juba Air, in the newly independent African state of South Sudan, Gulf News has learnt. Captain Samir M. Al Sayed Al Hashemi, chairman and chief 

Dear all,

While the RSS is in the process to start the disarmament, communities in Jonglei are slaughtering themselves. Yesterday morning, the Murle community attack Jier, a district within Nyirol county. They came in good number with RPG-7, and many military weapons. The fighting took place while children and women were in the villages. They wounded many women and children and left 13 dead on spot. They took all cattle.
Similiarly, two days ago, they attack Uror county cattle camps and they fought with youth. They youth in Uror defeated them and killed seven Murle members. Its unbelievable for the government to disarm people who are being attacked in dially bases. If the other communities are disarmed and murle are not disarm because they are in bush, they will returned back and slaughter all Jonglei communities. The government should think of finding those Murle who are currently in Bush…..the SPLA Murle defectors.
The commissioner of Pibor has announced that there are no Murle men in the villages. A position clarification that the government should think about rather than telling people that you must bring your guns. Who will bring the guns of Murle? I think these two communities should be given a chance to do what they wanted; otherwise, inappropriate disarmament is not a solution…………….I believe after the Lou Nuer are disarm, and then the government will fail to protect them, it will be a biggest blast, and finding guns in South Sudan is simple. More options should be explored before the disarmaments. It would be a good thing to analysze the challenges that will happen after. If the Nuer, and Dinka are disarm, then Murle are not disarm well, what will happen? Let said the Murle turned against the community that were disarmed and slaughter and take their cattle, what would the other communities do?
Our government is not doing much. In Decemeber, they called the youth that the government will deal with Murle to bring 180 children from Lou Nuer community back and leave cattle to Murle. This agreement has not been fulfiled. The youth thought that there will be a dialogue between the communities before the disarmament take place. However, the approach made by our government in Juba has not been materialized as to bring the children back or mobilize Murle to accept peace. My fear is that when the Dink Bor, The Nuer and perhaps the Anyuak are disarm by the government, the Murle community will get a big opportunity to finish all these tribes. Government has a policy of “No internvention into tribal conflict.” Murle usually come close to the SPLA military camps and chase people around but the SPLA forces never intervent. So the question will always be, who will protect people from Murle?
Murle are in bush and the issue has been confirmed by the commissioner himself that “there are no men in the villages in Murle areas.” Now, they are even using a route to the area of Malakal. As soon as the disarmament finish, the Murle men will kill all people and this is the worse part of it because all civilians in the region will seek guns again within the limit time and then carry on offensive attack against the Murle. I would only love if the government try to use dialogue and delay the disarmament until the rainy season because Murle do not go to bush in the rainy season.
Gatkuoth

Inter-ethnic fighting and failed promises put Salva Kiir’s administration on the spot

Photo/FILE Inter-ethnic fighting and failed promises put Salva Kiir’s administration on the spot

By MWAURA SAMORA msamora@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Thursday, March 1  2012

The YouTube video footage shows a patient groaning in pain in a bare bed. His left leg and shoulder are swathed in bandages through which blood seeps from the underlying wounds.

The narrator explains that the injured man, like the rest in this crowded Juba Hospital ward, is a victim of the recent upsurge of tribal violence in the neighbouring state of Jonglei.

“They came at dawn and opened fire randomly on fleeing people, killing women, children and the elderly before burning the houses,” Yien Tap, another patient with less severe wounds explains in the footage.

“Even those who fled were followed in the bush. We survived by hiding”.

The 25 year-old is lucky to be alive after Murle warriors descended on his village, killing more than 50 people and abducting many more as they drove away thousands of cattle.

The attack he is talking about is part of a series of raids that have besmirched the newly independent South Sudan as critics blame it for abandoning its liberation war era promises and failing to rein in negative ethnicity.

The Jonglei conflict pits the dominant Lou Nuer against the Murle.

Reportedly fuelled by need for grazing fields, cattle rustling, excessive dowry demands and negative politics, the clashes have claimed thousands of lives according to some officials and left many more destitute in displaced peoples’ camps.

The chaos peaked in January when more than 6,000 armed Nuer tribesmen, called the White Army, marched through Murleland in a scorched-earth operation that left in its wake a trail of blood, smouldering villages and thousands of homeless people.

Vowing “to wipe out the entire Murle tribe from the face of the earth as the only guarantee against long-term security of Nuer’s cattle” according to a Juba-based blogger, the Nuer climaxed their murderous march in the town of Pibor, where unconfirmed number of people were killed.

Pibor County Commissioner Joshua Konyi claimed that the invasion left more than 3,000 people dead but UN and Government of South Sudan officials said the figures were unconfirmed and may have been inflated.

Aid agencies said more than 60,000 were in urgent need of help after being rendered homeless in a region where UN and government centres are far and wide between swathes of bandit-infested, barren wilderness.

The 800-strong combined force of UN and government soldiers holed up in the dusty town could nothing other than warning residents to flee their homes.

The inaccessibility of this state the size of Bangladesh, late deployment of troops from Juba and reluctance to intervene in a historical tribal conflict have been cited as the reasons why authorities were unable to stop the advance of the deadly column.

The Nuer were revenging against a spate of attacks on their villages by the Murle late last year where dozens of people, mostly women and children, were killed or abducted.

Nuer Youth in the Diaspora (NYD), a group claiming to represent members of the community abroad, endorsed the revenge attacks claiming they were a justified act of self-defence.

“It should be recalled that the right of self-defence, which includes pre-emptive strikes, is a right that can be exercised by communities in absence of a functional government that guarantees security,” the NYD said in a statement to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).

“Unfortunately, a functional government does not exist in South Sudan and different tribes in the South live in Hobbesian anarchy in which men live without a common power to keep them safe”.

The Lou Nuer blame their woes on the government of President Salvar Kiir which disarmed them in 2006 in an operation where, it is claimed, more than 300 died.

The new state is accused of failing to do the same to the Murle who have since been taking the advantage of the tilted balance of power to mount cattle raids and child abductions.

“The Nuer community in USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia must raise funds for the White Army to defend property and cattle of Nuer civilians,” the NYD resolved.

These sentiments were backed by the Ngudeng Historical Society Association, a group that oversees the community’s religious heritage, whose chairman declared the Murle have committed a sacrilege by attacking the holy city of Wec Deang.

The shrine is the birthplace of Prophet Ngundeng, a religious legend of the Lou Nuer people. Stories are told of how the holy man killed British soldiers with a swipe of his divine rod when they tried to attack the holy place in 1902.

“They first attacked Dengjok Payam and killed over 30 civilians and took over 20,000 head of cattle… on January 14, 2012, the Murle fighters attacked Prophet Ngundeng’s bieh (Pyramid) and killed innocent civilians,” complained the Society’s chairman and the prophet’s grandson Gai Ngundeng.

“All Nuer officials, politicians, students, soldiers, youth, doctors, lawyers and White Army have to fight Murle youth and to bring them to justice for attacking the holy city of Wech Deang”.

Media and aid agency reports indicate that the animosity between the two communities is so fierce that even in Juba Hospital where most of the injured are nursing their wounds, the Nuer are housed in different wards from the Murle with police officers placed at the door to take care of any eventualities.

According to United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the conflict has displaced more than 50,000 people, a situation aggravated further by the recent fighting in Sudan’s southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states which forced 75,000 Sudanese refugees to cross over into South Sudan’s Unity and Upper Nile states.

With UN-backed peace talks having collapsed last December, there are no signs of lasting peace in the foreseeable future. But the Nuer-Murle conflict is just one of the numerous internal feuds afflicting the infant state.

Throughout the history of the region, conflicts have been the norm rather than the exception. From wars pitting tribes over pasture lands to blacks fighting against Arab domination, South Sudan is one of the continent’s oldest battlefields.

Although the formation of South Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1983 created a unified front through which a consistent war of independence from the north was waged, the movement also experienced breakups and revolts throughout the 22 year-old campaign.

But a peculiarity of this conflict is that many rebel groups and armed militia have emerged and flourished after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 and the 2010 general elections.

The SPLM has pointed fingers at Khartoum but many observers tend to differ, accusing the movement of planting the seeds of discord by failing to deliver its pre-independence promises like provision of services, creation of employment and particularly the inability to address negative ethnicity.

“Minority tribes who joined the SPLA in their thousands found themselves left out in the movement’s leadership and participated only as cannon porters and nothing else,” complains an anonymous on-line writer to the SSNA who goes on to claim the root cause of current tribal hostilities has been abated by the current regime.

“It took Col John Garang and his henchmen nearly three years to create fictitious titles like the one known as “Alternate Members” of Politico Military High Command to accommodate few non-Dinka like Galario Ornyang, James Wani Igga… and Dr Riek Machar in the SPLA leadership’s hierarchy”.

With his name withheld by SSNA for “security reasons”, this author launches a scathing attack on the SPLM government which he blames for the high number of rebel movements that have been popping up in every corner of the new state in recent times.

“The Political Bureau (PB) which is the highest political organ of the ruling SPLM is actually a rubber stamp used by one ethnic group (Dinka) to dominate others by using their numbers to impose decisions on others,” he alleges.

The discontent stirred by the dissatisfaction with the Juba-based administration has led to the emergence of several rebel groups in recent times, the most prominent being South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA) and South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), said to be in the process of forging a united fighting alliance.

The two group’s new friendship is said to have bee triggered by the killing of SSDA leader Gen George Athor Deng in December by government forces along the Uganda-South Sudan border.

The 49 year-old Athor was a former member of the SPLA high command who revolted after losing the race for Jonglei governorship during the 2010 general elections.

“Another Athor will emerge tomorrow unless real progress is made in providing political and economic opportunities to communities that feel marginalised in the process of independence,” explained John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project that operates in South Sudan.

“The South Sudan government, with international support, must address inter-communal divisions within the South”.

As we went to press the South Sudan Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said that the government had signed an agreement with Athor’s fighters to be incorporated in the national army.

The fighters, he added, had accepted President Salva Kiir’s amnesty.
As things stand now, the delivery of social services in South Sudan remains a tall order for the SPLM government partly because of the unresolved oil revenue sharing formula with Khartoum.

The South Sudan government recently claimed that the north had stolen more than two million barrels of her oil worth $200 million and stopped pumping it to the north for export.

http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/DN2/The+stain+on++South+Sudan+/-/957860/1357080/-/item/0/-/hhrf4l/-/index.html


                                                                                   Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
                                                                                    The UN estimates 140,000 people need help

Prosecute Those Responsible, Seek International Investigation

FEBRUARY 10, 2012
This goes far beyond traditional cattle-rustling. The conflict is far more vicious, involving the deliberate targeting of villagers, including women and children, for abuse and has taken on dangerous ethnic and political overtones.
Daniel Bekele, Africa director

(New York) – South Sudan should urgently ensure an effective and independent investigation into the violent, ethnic-driven attacks in Jonglei state, and arrest and prosecute those identified as responsible, Human Rights Watch said today. To assist this task, it should promptly ask the United Nations and regional organizations to establish a commission of inquiry.

“To stem this horrific cycle of violence, the organizers have to be held to account,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “For speed and credibility’s sake, the government should ask the UN and African bodies for help.”

Since early January, 2012, the government has repeatedly promised to investigate the attacks and hold those responsible to account, but it has not made any apparent progress in investigations or arrests. There have been new attacks and counter-attacks in January and February, and threats of more to come in March. To help South Sudan move forward with investigations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon could appoint a commission of inquiry consisting of experts, including South Sudanese, and request support from the African Union, Human Rights Watch said.

On December 23, 2011, according to UN estimates, 8,000 armed men, largely from ethnic Lou Nuer villages in central Jonglei state, attacked ethnic Murle villages in the eastern part of the state, starting with the town of Likwongole. The attackers burned and looted homes; killed and injured people using machetes, sticks, knives, and guns; abducted women and children; seized hundreds of thousands of cattle; and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes to hide in the bush.

Intelligence gathered by government forces and the United Nations peacekeepers had indicated some time in advance that such attacks were imminent, and both the UN and the government warned residents of local communities to flee. However, because of unsuccessful government efforts to mediate with the communities and an inability to move extra forces into the area swiftly, the government and UN forces in the area were too greatly outnumbered to intervene. A witness who was at the scene several days after the attack told Human Rights Watch he saw 12 dead bodies, including three women who appeared to have been raped with blunt objects.

A week after the attack, despite a visit by Vice President Riek Machar to the area to speak to the leaders of the armed group in an effort to stop the violence, the attackers pushed south to the town of Pibor. The presence of United Nations peacekeepers and South Sudanese forces in Pibor may have averted wholesale destruction of the town. However, it did not prevent the attackers from burning down parts of it nor from proceeding further south into more remote villages where initial testimony gathered by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission indicates that the attackers killed, wounded, and abducted many more people.

The death toll and full impact on communities is still being determined. Murle leaders reported that more than 3,000 had been killed, while UN monitors have been able to confirm just a fraction of that figure and have not released an estimate of total casualties.

Scores of people from both Murle and Nuer communities are being treated for machete and gunshot wounds at clinics in Pibor, Juba, and Malakal, and international aid groups are struggling to provide assistance to more than 140,000 people affected by the attacks and counter-attacks.

“This goes far beyond traditional cattle-rustling,” Bekele said. “The conflict is far more vicious, involving the deliberate targeting of villagers, including women and children, for abuse and has taken on dangerous ethnic and political overtones.”

In early January, President Salva Kiir vowed to “work to ensure those behind this attack are identified and brought to justice,” and the government spokesman, Dr. Barnaba Marial, said the government was in the process of setting up an investigation committee to arrest perpetrators. However, Human Rights Watch is has not been able to get any information that any arrests have been made in connection with the conflict.

Meanwhile there have been retaliation attacks by Murle in January and February 2012, and a statement issued on February 4 by a group calling itself the “Dinka and Nuer White Army” indicatinganother attack is being organized for March 1 .

The South Sudan Human Rights Commission and the human rights team in the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) have both carried out fact-finding investigations, but both reports, seen by or described to Human Rights Watch, are preliminary and focus on documenting testimony and violations over questions of responsibility. Neither fulfills the need for a thorough investigation, capable of identifying the perpetrators with a view to bring them to justice, Human Rights Watch said.

Political sensitivities may also be at play, and officials and parties on the grounds are quick to make allegations that government politicians in both Sudan and South Sudan are playing a role in stoking the violence. In January South Sudan’s president, vice president, and spokesman all publicly warned “politicians” against inciting violence.

Groups inside and outside South Sudan have issued statements supporting the violence. One press statement issued on December 25 by “Lou and Jikany Youth in Jongeli State” said the youth had captured the town of Likwongole and had decided to “wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth.” A self-appointed “Leader of Nuer Youth in North America” issued additional statements, announced the formation of the “Nuer White Army,” and publicly claimed he had raised $45,000 in the United States and Canada to support the attacks.

Jonglei state has a history of violent clashes between the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka communities. Easy access to guns,  the tactic of targeting women and children for killings and abduction, and hostile rhetoric have all contributed to the surge in violence in recent years, with more than 1,000 killed in March and April of 2009alone.

No one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for the 2009 attacks, and the lack of accountability and failure to put into place an effective and equitable grievance procedure, help perpetuate the inter-communal conflict.

In recent weeks, the South Sudanese government has indicated that it is planning a civilian disarmament operation of the affected Murle, Nuer, and Dinka communities. Civilian disarmaments have become a standard government response to inter-communal violence, but on occasion these operations have themselves turned violentand could spark further violence if the decision to disarm a particular community is seen as leaving it vulnerable to attack by its armed enemies.

If the government proceeds, it should ensure the operation is community-led, even-handed in respect to the scope and timing of the disarmament of each community, and carried out in a way that respects human rights, Human Rights Watch said.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/10/south-sudan-justice-needed-stem-violence

South Sudan told to arrest killers

Sat, 11 February 2012

JUBA — South Sudan must honour promises to investigate, arrest and prosecute those responsible for an explosion of bloody ethnic violence in war-wracked Jonglei state, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. “To stem this horrific cycle of violence, the organisers have to be held to account,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW’s Africa director, adding UN and African bodies should help for “speed and credibility’s sake.”
“The government has repeatedly promised to investigate the attacks and hold those responsible to account, but it has not made any apparent progress in investigations or arrests,” the New York-based rights group added. UN peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians have been unable to reliably assess how many people were killed during the brutal attacks last month.
That left forces in the area “too greatly outnumbered to intervene” HRW said, with government officials and UN peacekeepers telling civilians to flee for their lives ahead of the marauding force. Meanwhile, more than 129,200 people have fled fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since June 2011, the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) said
yesterday. The refugees had largely fled to the newly
independent South Sudan or neighbouring Ethiopia, although the UN said those nations were struggling to cope with the inflows.
The conflict along the border kicked off last year, just before the south formally gained its sovereignty from the north.
Sudan’s army has been fighting the northern wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — the ruling party of South Sudan.
“Aid agencies are concerned that food insecurity in parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile could reach emergency levels early this year,” UNHCR said. — AFP/dpa

http://main.omanobserver.om/node/82821


Tuesday, 7 February 2012, 3:51 pm
Press Release: UN News

New York, Feb 2 2012 6:10PM
The United Nations relief chief today visited areas in South Sudan hit by recent ethnic violence and met some of the victims of a vicious cycle of raids and reprisal attacks, describing what she had seen as “a terrible situation” with people having lost loved ones, property and livelihood.

“I am extremely concerned that humanitarian premises were specifically targeted, and we lost critical supplies, which slowed our relief operation,” said Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, speaking to reporters after visiting Pibor and Walgak in Jonglei state.

“I urge all parties to respect humanitarian premises and personnel, so that we can help the people of Jonglei,” she said.

Deadly clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in late December and early January displaced tens of thousands of civilians and prompted UN agencies to launch a major humanitarian operation to assist those in need.

“We are working to meet basic life-saving needs – food, water, medicine, household items. Many of the areas we need to reach are very remote and can only be reached by air, making this operation hugely expensive compared to assistance delivered by road,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

She emphasized her concern over the humanitarian situation in the country as a whole, saying it remained “extremely precarious” and could deteriorate fast, with food shortages having already worsened this year.

“If oil production is shut down, many people will feel the effects – humanitarian needs will inevitably increase, and the combined efforts of the Government, the aid community and the donors will not be enough. The scope of this crisis cannot be ignored,” she said.

Authorities in South Sudan have threatened to shut down oil production because of a lack of progress in talks to resolve a dispute with neighbouring Sudan over revenues and tariffs for the use of Sudan’s infrastructure to export the commodity.

The UN and humanitarian partners have this year requested donors to provide over $760 million for humanitarian needs in South Sudan. “But we can only do so much. Government leadership is vital,” said Ms. Amos.

She said the UN appreciated Government leadership in the highly complex return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their villages of origin, but stressed that returns must be voluntary, and conducted in safety and dignity.

“Since my last visit here in 2010, signs of change in South Sudan are already visible, and I can see it here in Juba. But perhaps the most significant change is in the hearts of the people, proud of their hard-won nation, the newest independent country in the world. The world must not let them down,” said Ms. Amos.
Feb 2 2012 6:10PM
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06 Feb 2012 14:42

Source: Alertnet // Katy Migiro

Internally displaced people fill up a container with oil as they distribute food in Pibor county, Jonglei State, January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Isaac Billy/UNMISS/Handout

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (AlertNet) – A 30,000-strong ethnic militia, known as the White Army, has announced it plans a major operation in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, raising fears of fresh violence following tribal clashes which have already displaced 140,000 people since December.

The warning comes as aid workers rush to deliver food, shelter and medical supplies to the vast eastern state before March rains make the roads impassable.

The White Army, composed of armed Nuer and Dinka youth, said in astatement posted online that it would launch Operation Savannah Storm on March 1 to secure its territories against Murle youth, accusing them of raiding neighbouring communities.

South Sudan’s Lou Nuer and Murle cattle-herding communities have become involved in a cycle of deadly revenge attacks, initially over water and grazing land. Women and children have been abducted during the conflict.

“Quarantining Murle youth is the effective mechanism that shall prevent them from abducting kids of their neighbors,” said the Feb. 4 statement.

In December, a column of 6,000 to 8,000 Lou Nuer, a subgroup of the Nuer,  marched on Murle towns and villages, killing scores of people. The United Nations, with just over 5,000 peacekeepers, was unable to stop them.

South Sudan, which became the world’s newest state last July after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal with Sudan ended decades of civil war, is a poor country awash with weapons. Security is fragile and ethnic rivalries, sharpened by hate speech, are putting a strain on nation-building efforts.

MURLE MUST ‘PAY A PRICE’

The White Army said its new operation would be defensive, not offensive.

“Operation Savannah Storm is different from the operation that was launched in December,” the statement said. “There is no intention to attack Murle’s villages and towns.”

However, the White Army will “look for armed Murle youth in the bushes” and make the Murle “pay a price” for their January attack on the holy city of Wec Deang.

The city is home to a sacred pyramid constructed by the Nuer prophet Ngundeng.

The prophet’s grandson recently said: “All the Nuer in USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia must come back to South Sudan to join the war against Murle who defiled Nuerland by attacking (the) holy city.”

The White Army also asked Nuer and Dinka soldiers in the South Sudanese army to contribute ammunition and military hardware to the operation.

The expanded militia will also involve Nuer from Ethiopia, according to the statement. It said that a delegation visiting their tribesmen in South Sudan offered to join Operation Savannah Storm as the Murle had also “terrorised” the Ethiopian Nuer and stolen their cattle.

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, who visited Jonglei last week, said the spike in inter-ethnic violence had compounded the difficult humanitarian situation.

“Before the crisis in Jonglei, humanitarian partners were already over-stretched, carrying out some 30 emergency operations across the country,” Amos said.

“In some of the worst-hit areas, there are only a handful of partners on the ground.”

http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/south-sudan-ethnic-militia-warn-of-major-new-operation

Nuer and Dinka White Army To Launch ‘Operation Savannah Storm’ Against Murle Armed Youth

Armed Youth in Murleland, December 2011. Photo: ST
Nuer and Dinka White Army Will Launch Operation Savannah Storm
Media Release
Nuer and Dinka White Army, Uror County, Jonglei State, South Sudan
Date: February 4th, 2012

February 4, 2012 (SSNA) — The leadership of Nuer and Dinka White Army composed of representatives of Lou Nuer, Jikany Nuer, Gawaar Nuer and Twic Dinka received the delegation of Ethiopian Nuer today at Pieri Payam, Uror County. The leader of the White Army, Bor Doang, received a letter from Ethiopian Nuer last month that a delegation would be visiting him to discuss the threats posed by armed Murle’s elements.

After receiving the delegation from Ethiopia, the Nuer elders slaughtered five bulls to Deng (God) to bless the delegation from Ethiopia and any operation that the Nuer on both sides of Ethiopia and South Sudan would launch to protect civilians from armed Murle youth and SPLA deserters. The elders informed the leadership of the White Army that the Grandson of Prophet Ngundeng, Gai Lel Ngundeng, who is currently in Juba, will bring the Divine Rod to Wec Deang to bless the White Army by slaughtering bulls. The leadership of the White Army was instructed to visit Wec Deang to receive Gai Lel Ngundeng before launching any operation to receive blessings from God of Prophet Ngundeng.

After opening the meeting, Bor Doang introduced the leader of Ethiopian Nuer delegation and thanked him for the trip to Pieri Payam to meet his brothers who have been subjected to insecurity by armed Murle youth. The leader of the Ethiopian Nuer youth, Goliath Chuol Chai, stood up and said that the reason they walked for many days on foot is because the insecurity posed by armed Murle men is not any longer a problem unique to Nuer and Dinka civilians of South Sudan. He said that Murle terrorized Ethiopian Nuer and led many civilians to abandon Bilpam Kebele (Kebele is Amharic word equivalent to Payam in South Sudan), Makwei and many areas. Since 2006, Murle had stolen more than twenty thousand heads of cattle from Ethiopian Nuer. The latest is January, 18, 2012 when Murle attacked many villages of Jekow Woreda (County) and took more than one thousand heads of cattle. He also added that on January, 20, 2012, Murle cattle rustlers went as far as Pinyudo refugee Camp and took over five hundred heads of cattle belonging to South Sudan refugees.

The leader of Twic Dinka White Army stood up and said that Murle massacred more than two hundred civilians from January, 10—24, 2012 in Duk Padiet, Pawiel, Jale and Twic East. He thanked Bor Doang for sending a force of one thousand Nuer youth who saved a lot of lives in Duk Pawiel when Dinka came under attack of heavily armed Murle. The quick response of the Nuer demonstrated brotherly unity that was forged in December, 2011 when both communities jointly launched Operation Ending Murle Raiding and abductions. He added that the nature of war with Murle has changed because more than four thousand SPLA soldiers of Murle deserted their bases and joined their people. In January, Duk Pawiel, Duk Padiet and Twic East were attacked by armed Murle who deserted from the SPLA army with heavy weapons ranging from RPG-7 to 12.5. When they attacked Duk Pawiel, a Colonel with his SPLA military uniform was among the dead bodies of Murle fighters.

Bor Doang told the participants of the meeting that Murle have so far killed more than three hundred Lou Nuer since January, 7, 2012. He said that Murle soldiers who attacked Wec Deang in January deserted the SPLA army bases in Upper Nile State with the intention of massacring innocent Nuer and Dinka civilians. The attack of Wec Deang not only defiled the holy place of Prophet Ngundeng but also led to death of innocent Nuer civilians. It is the first time since 1902 that an armed group could attack Wec Deang and massacre civilians. The Nuer youth were enraged after hearing the attack of Wec Deang because it is an affront to all Nuer, including Nuer of Ethiopia, that the place of Ngundeng’s pyramid could be attacked by Murle. Bor Doang concluded that Murle deserters of the SPLA who did that must pay a price for insulting Prophet Ngundeng.

The leaders of Ethiopian and South Sudanese Nuer and Twic Dinka have unanimously passed the following resolutions which shall come into effect immediately starting from February 5th, 2012:

1. The Lou Nuer, Gawaar Nuer, Jikany Nuer, Ethiopian Nuer and Twic Dinka shall contribute a force of 30,000 well armed youth for the launching of Operation Savannah Storm which shall commence on March, 1st, 2012. The Nuer clans of South Sudan shall contribute 20,000 to the operation while the Twic Dinka and Ethiopian Nuer shall contribute 10,000. The operation will be permanent until Murle do not pose security threats to their neighbors.

2. The objective of the Operation Savannah Storm is to secure the border of Nuer (both South Sudan and Ethiopia), Anyuak (both South Sudan and Ethiopia) and Dinka so that armed Murle youth will not raid neighboring communities as they have been doing so far. Quarantining Murle youth is the effective mechanism that shall prevent them from abducting kids of their neighbors.

3. Each Nuer and Dinka clan is responsible for organizing its youth and putting logistics together to carry out the operation in March. It is resolved by the leaders and the participants of the meeting that the youth of each group must contribute cows that shall be used as food for the 30,000 forces that will carry out the operation.

4. The Nuer and Dinka White Army appealed to Nuer and Dinka soldiers of the SPLA to contribute ammunition and military hardware to the youth that shall take part in the operation because Operation Savannah Storm is the only one that shall create a buffer zone of security to prevent cattle rustlers of Murle from carrying out raids and abductions.

5. The Operation Savannah Storm will not target Murle’s women, children and the elderly. The White Army that shall take part will only be at the border to prevent cattle rustling and look for armed Murle youth who may be hiding in the bushes.

6. The Nuer and Dinka White Army want to inform the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and international NGOs that Operation Savannah Storm will not target Murle’s villages and towns. The operation will be confined to the border. Any operation that will take place beyond the border to look for armed Murle youth in the bushes shall not include villages and towns. We want to assure the UNMISS that Operation Savannah Storm is different from the operation that was launched in December, 2011. The objective of this year operation is to secure the border and there is no intention to attack Murle’s villages and towns.

7. The Nuer and Dinka White Army would invite UN forces to stay with them at the border after launching the operation in order for the UNMISS to know that the new operation is not intended to attack Murle’s villages and towns.

8. After launching Operation Savannah Storm, the leadership of the White Army may invite international media to the field to witness for themselves that the intention of the operation is to protect Nuer, Dinka and Anyuak civilians from armed Murle. The White Army has no intention whatsoever to target women, children and elderly.

For contact:

Leadership of the Nuer and Dinka White Army
Pieri, Uror County, Jonglei State
Thuraya Phone: +882156997450

South Sudan ethnic militia warn of major new operation
Reuters AlertNet
By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (AlertNet) – A 30000-strong ethnic militia, known as the White Army, has announced it plans a major operation in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, raising fears of fresh violence following tribal clashes which have already 

South Sudan to Compensate Sudan Is Like a Clock Going Anticlockwise
AllAfrica.com
Sudan belongs to a group of nations which must pay three trillion dollars as reparation to millions ofSouth Sudan who had died in the hands of their nationals during the last two hundred years. The other countries are Egypt and Turkey.

South Sudan: Put children at the centre of resolving the crisis
Reuters AlertNet (blog)
Violent conflicts between different ethnic communities in Likuangole and other villages in the Jonglei state of South Sudan, has left an unconfirmed number of people dead and about 120000 internally displaced people in desperate need of life saving 

Democratic Republic of the Congo/South Sudan: 61 children reunited with their 
StarAfrica.com
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Sixty-one children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan have rejoined their families with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross 

South Sudan oil fields are not fields for games
Sudan Tribune
This partly resulted to a conflict which developed into a full blown war of liberation by the South that lasted for decades. From the time of the discovery of substantial petroleum deposits in SouthernSudan, the war of liberation dragged on for a 

Jonglei Peace Initiative Launched in America
AllAfrica.com
As was published in The Citizen of yesterday, twenty-five South Sudanese diaspora community leaders from across North America, including both Canada and the USA, gathered in Washington, DC in the period January 21-22, 2012 and focused on helping to 

DDRC, UNICEF Welcome Release of Child Soldiers
AllAfrica.com
By Lagu Joseph Jackson, 5 February 2012 Juba — South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RSSDDRC) and UNICEF welcomed the recent release of 53 children associated with armed forces and groups in South Sudan

Housing Issues in Juba Town and Its Impact On Citizens Human Right a Case of 
AllAfrica.com
By William Sunday D Tor, 6 February 2012 After and before the independence of South Sudan, housing problem had been among the hot issues that have been facing the poor citizens in Juba. Before the formation of the Government of South Sudan

South Sudan inflation eases to 47.8 percent in January
Al-Arabiya
South Sudan has been struggling to tackle an economic crisis and contain violence which killed thousands last year. (Reuters) By Reuters South Sudan’s annual inflation rate eased to 47.8 percent in January from 65.6 percent in December as costs for 

New York, US – The World Food Programme (WFP) said it would scale up food assistance to reach 80,000 people affected by the recent escalation of ethnic violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. WFP Deputy Executive Director, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, made this known on Tuesday after a visit to the region.

The WFP official said ‘the violence in Jonglei is only one of the many challenges that South Sudan is currently facing, and the world must respond to ensure that the people of South Sudan have the support they need to build a peaceful and prosperous country’.

In a statement, da Silva said ‘many of the women I met in Pibor and Akobo had lost their children and had no one to depend on but the humanitarian agencies on the ground’.

He noted that deadly clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in recent weeks had displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

The statement quoted da Silva as saying that the development had prompted UN agencies to launch a major humanitarian operation to assist those in need.

The WFP official said: ‘part of WFP’s response includes providing a 15-day emergency food ration to displaced persons who have been affected by the attacks, as well as using logistics expertise to help other humanitarian agencies overcome challenges to establish a way for people to access their services’.

He also said said that WFP had already deployed three helicopters, an airplane and 28 trucks to deliver ‘not just food but also shelter items and medical supplies to remote corners’, adding that ‘one of its priorities is to distribute food before the rain starts in March as 90 per cent of locations targeted for assistance will become inaccessible by road.’.

The UN agency also emphasized the need to help affected households cultivate their own crops in time for the next harvest in August.

‘Ten locations in Jonglei have already been reached by WFP. Five of these are located in Pibor county, including Pibor town and surrounding villages, Lekuangole, Gumruk, Labrab and Boma.

‘Five more are located in recently affected areas in the northern parts of the state. Initial emergency food assistance has been provided in Duk Padiet, while distributions are ongoing in Akobo and Walgak, Yuai in Urur county and Waat in Nyirol county,’ the statement added.

Pana 01/02/2012

http://www.afriquejet.com/south-sudan-wfp-scales-up-food-assistance-for-80000-people-2012020132600.html

Sudan, South Sudan Chambers of Commerce Discuss Trade Relations
Sudan Vision
Khartoum – The Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation (SBEF) and South SudaneseChamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture discussed methods to activate economic and commercial relations between the two countries. The meeting, co-chaired by 

South Sudan: WFP scales up food assistance for 80000 people
Afrique en Ligue
New York, US – The World Food Programme (WFP) said it would scale up food assistance to reach 80000 people affected by the recent escalation of ethnic violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. WFP Deputy Executive Director, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, 

UN investigates reports of South Sudan massacre
Reuters
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The UN mission in South Sudan is investigating reports of a massacre of nearly 80 people by armed men in uniforms in Africa’s youngest nation, the United Nations said on Wednesday. “According to local sources, 


By HILDE F. JOHNSON

An escalation of intercommunal violence has tested the resolve of South Sudan, the world’s newest country, and that of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.

Extensive patrols by UNMISS over the past three weeks have not found the “trail of corpses” stretching “miles into the bush,” as alleged in some press reports. Parallels drawn to the genocide in Rwanda have been misleading with regard to the unfolding events and do not apply to the U.N.’s response.

Unfortunately, we have confirmed dozens of civilians killed in Pibor County. No matter the numbers, this is a human tragedy and a heavy emotional burden for all of us who have responsibility to maintain peace. The U.N. Security Council placed the highest priority on protection of civilians when it established UNMISS on July 8. And even when information is fragmented and difficult to piece together, truthful accounts of events are important.

In late December, UNMISS air patrols detected a column of nearly 8,000 armed Lou Nuer youths trekking toward Pibor County, the remote heartland of South Sudan’s Murle ethnic community in Jonglei State. Their stated aim was to take reprisals for Murle attacks on Lou Nuer communities in August that left up to 600 dead and hundreds injured. Lou Nuer and Murle hostilities date back decades, arising from competition for scarce resources and the decades-long civil war.

To address the immediate threat, the mission warned the South Sudan government of the impending attack and moved about half of its 2,100 combat-ready personnel to the population centers in the state.

The mission also gave early warning to tens of thousands of local residents. As a result, many were able to move away from towns and villages ahead of the Lou Nuer’s advance. The presence of an UNMISS battalion alongside units of South Sudan’s army (SPLA), established a defensive perimeter around much of the town of Pibor, largely shielding its population from the Lou Nuer raiders.

The peacekeepers were vastly outnumbered by the Lou Nuer marauders. Still, the SPLA and the effective positioning of the U.N. peacekeepers helped halt them from overrunning Pibor.

The Security Council commended these actions by UNMISS. Not every civilian was saved, but a much greater loss of life was averted.

Prior to the crisis, the mission had worked closely with the government in trying to prevent anticipated clashes and protecting civilians through military deterrence and active political engagement. But all violent attacks could not be prevented.

The long-standing conflict between the Lou Nuer and the Murle is far from over. In a bid to limit the damage from retaliatory Murle strikes into Lou Nuer strongholds in Jonglei, UNMISS troops have been redeployed to key locations where thousands of civilians are located.

Sadly, the chain of retaliatory violence continues unbroken, the latest target being the Dinka village of Duk Padiet, attacked on Jan. 16. The mission and the government are continuing their efforts to secure a cessation of hostilities, facilitate durable reconciliation and address the root causes of the conflict.

There are two larger lessons to be learned from the ongoing Jonglei crisis.

First, there is a need for effective government action to strengthen security presence in potential flashpoints, get the peace process off the ground, bring to justice those responsible for the attacks and establish programs that address the grievances of the communities.

Second, the United Nations and its members need to act with greater urgency in deploying the full strength of UNMISS troops to South Sudan so that the mission can exercise its mandate to the full in support of the government’s protection efforts.

The U.N. Security Council authorized a military personnel strength of 7,000, but only about 5,100 soldiers are in the country at present. Less than half of these are available for immediate deployment to the field.

UNMISS must be provided with resources and capabilities that match its mandate. Members of the Security Council expressed concern about the shortage of aircraft hampering UNMISS operations as the violence in Jonglei spiraled out of control. This lack of air assets impacts all.

The government of South Sudan has the political will to protect its citizens, but it is constrained by weak capacity in terms of rule of law, security infrastructure and assets. UNMISS, on the other hand, has a limited number of troops acting in a country where Jonglei alone is the size of Bangladesh. The difficulties of protecting civilians in this situation cannot be underestimated.

Despite these challenges, neither the U.N. mission nor the government were standing idly by during the latest crisis. Decisive action was taken to protect civilians. It is in this spirit that the mission will continue to exercise its mandate.

Hilde F. Johnson is the special representative of the United Nations secretary-general in South Sudan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/30iht-edjohnson30.html?_r=1


Sudan frees South Sudan’s oil tankers but row continues

Reuters
Two sides unable to agree a transit fee * Oil provides about 98 percent of South Sudan’s income * Disentangling oil among list of disputes after secession (Adds Sudanese foreign minister’s comments) By Alexander Dziadosz and Hereward Holland 

Kenya, South Sudan to form team for oil pipeline project
Business Daily Africa
Last Tuesday, Kenya signed the oil pipeline and fibre optic deal allowing South Sudanbuild and own a pipeline through the Kenyan territory. FILE By ZEDDY SAMBU (email the author) Kenya and South Sudan will form a joint commission to streamline plans

In South Sudan, Old Feuds Test a New State
New York Times
An escalation of intercommunal violence has tested the resolve of South Sudan, the world’s newest country, and that of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS. Extensive patrols by UNMISS over the past three weeks have not found 
Sudan frees South Sudan’s oil tankers; row continues
Reuters
By Alexander Dziadosz and Hereward Holland | KHARTOUM/JUBA (Reuters) – Sudan has released four tankers loaded with South Sudanese oil in an effort to defuse a row over export transit fees, but southern officials said the move was not enough to reverse 
SOUTH SUDAN-UGANDA: Economic migrants battle xenophobia
IRINnews.org
JUBA/KAMPALA, 30 January 2012 (IRIN) – Petty traders from Uganda, South Sudan’s largest trading partner, crowd into Konyo Konyo market in Juba selling used clothes, vegetables and household wares. Lacking economic prospects at home, they come in the 
VSO appeal for education specialists in South Sudan
Ed Exec
VSO is seeking experienced education specialists to volunteer in its new programme inSouth Sudan and help future generations of children access a good education. VSO is currently recruiting primary teachers, headteachers, inspectors and education 

Following the January 2011 referendum, South Sudan became the newest African state on July 9, 2011, in line with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army and the Government of Sudan which provided for a referendum to determine if the people of South Sudan want to remain in one Sudan or form their own separate country. An overwhelming majority voted to form their separate country, hence the creation of South Sudan as a separate country on July 9, 2011.

In so many ways, that was a watershed event. For one, it was the first time that the colonial boundaries of independent Africa were tampered with. It also set a precedent for all secessionists in Africa on how to go about separation. It also produced a template for micro-nationalism in many disparate African countries. This is not the time to apportion blames, but after more than 50 years of staying together, the pains of separation in Sudan can only be imagined.

But, less than one year after the event, what many visionaries have foreseen is now coming to pass. Jonglei state of South Sudan became a disaster zone where some 100,000 people have fled recent clashes between rival ethnic groups. Some 6,000 ethnic Lou Nuer fighters attacked the area around Pibor town, outnumbering the army and UN forces. Food, medicine and shelter were now badly needed there.

This is the latest round in a cycle of violence which has lasted several months – in one incident last year some 600 Lou Nuer were killed by attackers from the Murle community, the group which fled from Pibor. The clashes began as cattle raids but have spiraled out of control. There have been some reports that more than 150 people had been killed but government sources say that between 20 and 30 had died.

UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Ms Lise Grande, said that “hundreds, if not thousands” of people had started to return to Pibor. But she said the humanitarian situation was “pretty grim”. But, according to Ms Grande, besides the looting of a Medicins Sans Frontieres clinic, the town had not suffered much damage and the government was beginning to deploy 3,000 extra soldiers and 800 police officers to the area.

Mr. John Boloch of South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission and a member of the Murle community had earlier said that people who had fled Pibor had since been hunted down and killed near River Kengen, south-east of the town. He accused local politicians of exacerbating the longstanding rivalries for their own ends and also asked why UN peacekeepers and the army were protecting government buildings in Pibor, rather than the people.

Mr. Boloch told Sudan Catholic Radio News that children and women were massacred in that area from January 2 up to 3 of 2012. There were also reports that many people may have drowned in a river as they fled the attackers. Government is trying to organize a “peace forum” where leaders from the two communities would be invited to discuss how to put an end to the cycle of violence.

Cattle vendettas are common in South Sudan, as are other clashes between rival groups. The UN says some 350,000 people were displaced because of inter-communal violence last year. This presents a major challenge to the government of the newly independent state, which also faces cross-border tensions with its northern neighbour, Sudan.

Any time there is an alliance due to a common enemy, once that enemy is no more, old conflicts resurface and new conflicts emerge. That is an iron law of history. When the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army was fighting the north, there was unity in the south due to a common goal of overcoming the north and or separating from the north. But soon after achieving that objective, South Sudan is now conscious of its heterogeneity. There are over 80 ethnic groups there with Dinka having more prominence than the rest.

Apart from diversity, South Sudan is also one of the world’s poorest regions. It hardly has any roads, railways, schools or clinics following many years of conflict, which has left it awash with weapons. However, it has enormous goodwill from the world’s major powers. It has enormous resources and huge potentials as well as great opportunities.

The government of South Sudan is already coming to terms with the fact that running a rebellion or liberation movement is not the same as running a government or a country. The task ahead requires statesmanship, patience and perseverance. There is need to carry along every segment of the society. In other words, a sense of belonging must be created for every South Sudanese.

And, at the end of the day, whatever may be the support they are getting from outside, developing their young nation lies with their people, who must accommodate each other equitably and fairly as well as live with their neighbours in common African brotherhood. In South Sudan, there is a lesson for all of us Africans.

http://leadership.ng/nga/columns/14426/2012/01/25/lessons_south_sudan.html


PHOTO: Eleven-year-old Kakayo recovers from wounds suffered during a recent round of violent tribal clashes in South Sudan
Eleven-year-old Kakayo recovers from wounds suffered during a recent round of violent tribal clashes in South Sudan (ABC News)
By ALEX PENA
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, January 25, 2012

Before the red dust could settle in South Sudan’s most recent tribal clashes, 11-year-old Kakayo had lost her father, and she has no idea where her mother and two siblings are.

“When the attackers came, we ran into the bushes,” said Kakayo, as she lay idly on the floor in the back room of a dirty hospital ward in Juba, the capital of the newly independent South Sudan.

“That’s when they started shooting at us.”

Kakayo, whose family are members of the Murle tribe, is recovering from two bullet wounds, one in the knee, another in her foot. She has no bed, just a simple cloth to cover herself; thick bandages are wrapped around her frail legs.

Still, in this recent round of violence Kakayo is considered one of the lucky ones. She escaped, and she is one of the few who are receiving treatment at the hospital. “I was injured, but some of the others who survived took me with them,” she said of her escape from her village in Jonglei state.

The violent attacks Kakayo was caught up in began around the start of the new year and have affected 120,000 people, according to the U.N.

For Kakayo, the “they” who “started shooting at us” refers to the youth fighters of the Lou Nuer tribe. Clashes over cattle in the barren region are nothing new, and for a time were put on hold as a show of unity before the referendum that granted South Sudan independence a little over six months ago after two decades of civil war. Now they’ve resumed with a fury, and on a larger scale, partly fueled by weapons left over from the civil war.

At the opposite end of the hospital compound in Juba, separated by a weak chain-link fence, sits a field hospital tent where young men from the Lou Nuer, who attacked Kakayo’s tribe, had congregated, when ABC News visited the hospital early one recent morning.

“We think we have to go and destroy them,” said a youth fighter, seemingly the spokesman for the 20 or so fighters recovering from injuries.

“They kill our wives, our children, and they’ve taken our cows,” he said, with determination and conviction, the voices around him escalating, of the retaliation attacks initiated by the Murle people early last week that killed over 100 of the Lou Nuer.

He says he and the other fighters will return to the villages once they’ve recovered, and continue to attack and abduct more children in retaliation.

Child Abduction on the Rise

The fight begins over cattle, but the byproduct of these raids has always been murder and child abduction.

UNICEF says child abductions have been on the rise for the past two years in Jonglei state, one of South Sudan’s most remote tribal regions.

In the past, abductions were few. “Five children, two children, three children,” said Fatuma Ibrahim, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF. She says it’s likely hundreds of children have been abducted in these most recent raids.

Ibrahim has been at the forefront of registering and recovering the missing children for UNICEF in South Sudan. So far, they have recovered 117 unaccompanied children in Jonglei, but they know the number will rise. She is also concerned with how violent these attacks and abductions have become.

New weaponry and military style raids in the area have increased the number of children abducted during these cattle raids.

“Before, even the abduction process itself was not violent,” she said. “Now, what brings a lot of protection concerns is the violence that is associated with the process…. They are using guns,” she said.

In late December, the Lou Nuer attacked Kakayo’s village. Local officials and members of the Murle say that 3,000 were killed, but the UN says the number is more likely in the hundreds.

Just weeks later, fighters from the Murle tribe launched attacks on the Lou Nuer in different towns, killing over a hundred people. This is why the fighters whom ABC News spoke with in the hospital in Juba want to retaliate.

The U.N. has reported that the number of people affected by the violence has doubled: first it was thought to be 60,000; now it’s more like 120,000. The U.N. has engaged a “massive emergency” response to get food and water to them.

A Culture of Cattle Raids and Child Abduction

While Ibrahim and other child protection agencies worry about the level of violence and the massive numbers of children becoming displaced, the Lou Nuer and the Murle people have thrived off these cattle raids and abductions.

In some cases, the children can be used for ransom payments and seen as a commodity to be exchanged for more cattle.

A 2010 Rift Valley Institute report for the U.N. documenting child abductions in Jonglei stated, “We learned that the youth abduct the children and then give them to the chiefs. The chiefs then sell out the children and give a portion of the sale in cattle to the youth.”

Abduction has become so engrained in the daily lives of these tribes, that Ibrahim says the children are often treated well by the “new” families who have bought the children.

“Even though they are sold, they are treated like children of the family. This is one of the reasons that there are not many children escaping,” she said.

Returning Home, But Possibility of Recapture

In rare occasions, the children can be recovered by South Sudan’s military, but mostly the children are reported missing and/or escape by themselves. Both government and other child protection services then have to sort out the legalities of returning the children back to their families.

“Right now there is a case of one child where 15 parents are claiming that this is their child,” said Ibrahim. “This happens when the child is abducted very young.”

Local officials in the town of Bor, Jonglei’s capital, have made attempts at bringing the tribe’s chiefs together to negotiate the return of children, but mostly it is coordinated through NGO programs.

When the children do return home, it is no guarantee of safety. Some children have escaped, only to be recaptured again.

Kakayo may have escaped the raid, but she has a long journey to recovery, and an even longer journey home. Doctors are unsure when she will be able to leave the hospital; they’re predicting months. But lying on her rug on the tile floor, not knowing if her mother and siblings are even alive, Kakayo tells the doctor in no uncertain terms that when she is well, she will go home to find them.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/south-sudan-country-torn-conflicts/story?id=15430706&page=3

Briefing on Issues of Ongoing Concern in Sudan and South Sudan
US Department of State (press release)
I wanted to just bring everybody up to date on a number of issues that we’re following very closely related to Sudan and South Sudan. So let me discuss them briefly and then happy to take your questions about them. One of the issues that we are

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South Sudan: New Country Torn By Old Conflicts
ABC News
Before the red dust could settle in South Sudan’s most recent tribal clashes, 11-year-old Kakayo had lost her father, and she has no idea where her mother and two siblings are. “When the attackers came, we ran into the bushes,” said Kakayo,

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AllAfrica.com
South Sudan Police in black uniform detained the chief technician, printer and electrician of The Citizen while they were coming to the printing press Monday night. The police unit of twelve men commanded by a second lieutenant intercepted the three

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South Sudan: MPs Reject Payment of $5.4 Billion to Sudan, Hail Pipeline Closure
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South Sudan, Kenya Sign Agreement to Build Oil Pipeline to Port of Lamu
Bloomberg
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Latest attacks in Jonglei, South Sudan, perpetuate a pattern of extreme
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In the state of Jonglei in South Sudan, civilians continue to bear the brunt of inter-communal fighting. Wounded patients are still arriving at the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Pibor, three weeks after the violent attack on the town and

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The move followed expressions of concern by Russian diplomats over security in South Sudan, including attacks on helicopters operated by Russia’s military. But Varvara Paal, spokeswoman for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s Africa envoy Mikhail

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By Steve Gutterman MOSCOW, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Russia will withdraw its helicopters and personnel servicing the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, a move that will cause problems for the stretched mission.

 

 


UBA, South Sudan, Jan. 24 (UPI) — The government in South Sudan is called on to bring justice to those responsible for ethnic violence in the troubled state of Jonglei, a U.N. envoy said.

Hilde Johnson, U.N. special envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, said peacekeepers are sending in more troops to conflict-stricken areas of Jonglei and conducting aerial surveillance missions over at-risk areas.

Peacekeepers in the region had said they were outnumbered by fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic militia recently but were able to prevent the conflict from escalating.

The government in South Sudan was praised for committing extra troops to the area. Johnson said, however, that local leaders had a significant role to play in settling community differences.

“The instigators of these terrible attacks and counterattacks must be held to account,” she said in a statement.

Ethnic conflict in Jonglei claimed at least 1,000 lives in recent months. The conflict was triggered by cattle raids and high bridal dowries. Most of the victims are women and children.

South Sudan gained independence in July as part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached with Sudan in 2005. That deal ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in history though ethnic disputes and border conflicts threaten to unravel the peace.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2012/01/24/South-Sudan-conflict-haunts-UN/UPI-94771327417775/#ixzz1kPFuJcuj


Residents of the South Sudanese town of Pibor are returning home, weeks after fleeing from an invasion of heavily armed members of a rival tribe. Dozens of houses were torched, but the majority of the homes stayed intact. The town of Likuangole, by contrast, was wiped off the map.

People unload aid from an helicotper provided by the UN Mission in South Sudan f

The destruction of Likuangole is best seen from the air. No building has survived the rage of the 6,000 men strong White Army of the Lou Nuer tribe. The term ‘White Army’ derives from Nuer youths’ practice of smearing their skin with light-coloured ash as a protection against biting insects.

The entire population of Likuangole fled to the bush during Christmas, when the Lou Nuer said they were seeking revenge on the local Murle population in a cycle of ethnic violence which has persisted in Jonglei state for years.

“Their aim was to finish us all off,” says Juma Balan, an eyewitness. “Whoever didn’t escape in time was killed,” he says, as we walk past the skull of one of the victims. What is left of Likuangole is the airstrip, where hundreds of survivors gather daily, waiting for food distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP). “At night, we hide in the bush because we fear a new attack,” Balan says.

March on Pibor
From Likuangole we fly to Pibor, the main town of the Murle community, following the same path as the White Army took late December. On the last day of 2011, the Lou Nuer swarmed the town, but the residents had already fled.

“Over three thousand people of our community lost their lives,” says Commissioner Joshua Konyi, who bases his case on casualty reports of village chiefs. The armed tribesmen hunted down the people who fled Pibor, killing women and children along the way. The United Nations questions this death toll.

All cattle lost
Three weeks after the attack Pibor’s main market has reopened. People have returned from their hiding places, but without their cattle. They’ve lost them all. The central square is packed with desperate and hungry people. Like Ngedeth, a 27-year-old woman from Likuangole. She and her five children ran away from the attackers.

“I have been sitting here under the threes for the last nine days. We are waiting for food aid, but up to now we haven’t eaten.” Elsewhere, parents are reporting missing children; the raiders kidnapped women and children, and took the cattle as well.

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The World Food Program has so far been using helicopters to fly in food supplies. A first road convoy with food reached Pibor last Friday, with enough food to feed 50,000 people for the next two weeks.

The cycle continues
The Murle, a minority tribe in South Sudan, have been accused of staging retaliatory attacks. In Urur and Duk counties dozens of people were killed in the past weeks. Commissioner Konyi acknowledges that young warriers from his tribe might seek revenge. “But not this soon. Our people are completely displaced. We are not in a position to strike back already,” he says.

After the attacks, there were many reports of ethnic hate speech, even on the internet. Politicians, on the other hand, are proposing military deployment and peace talks. But people in Jonglei state wonder whether the same politicians may be behind the attacks.

Commissioner Konyi says he does not encourage any revenge attacks from the Murle, but insists that he cannot stop them. “If it happens the death toll won’t be counted in the dozens. There will be many more.”

http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/picking-pieces-south-sudan

SOUTH SUDAN: Moving beyond violence in Jonglei

Displaced people in Gumuruk, 40km from Pibor town

JUBA, 23 January 2012 (IRIN) – Wounded civilians from both sides of an escalating conflict between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities in South Sudan’s Jonglei state lie side by side in the steaming heat of a hospital ward in the new country’s capital, Juba.

At least 120,000 people have been affected by the violence, according to the UN’s latest assessment, which could easily rise.

“The violence in Jonglei hasn’t stopped… our contingency plan for Jonglei could reach about 180,000 people,” while half that number already need food aid, South Sudan’s UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said on 20 January.

Local officials have suggested ‘thousands’ of people have been killed in the last few weeks, but this could not be independently confirmed and the UN said it was not possible to provide a count of casualties sustained over such a vast area in so short a time.

In the hospital, Amon Lull Chop fans her four-year-old daughter Nyaduk, who was unable to keep up as the family fled an attack on the town of Duk Padiet in Duk County last week, which the government says killed more than 80 people. Another 70 or so died in similar attacks by members of the Murle community over the past two weeks.

“She slept alone until I came back the following morning and I found the child, and her intestines were outside where they shot and stabbed her,” she says, pointing to a bandage stretching from Nyaduk’s navel up to her chest.

These attacks came after about 8,000 Lou Nuer youths, reportedly joined by some of the country’s dominant Dinka group, marched in late 2011 on Pibor County, razing villages and killing and abducting woman and children.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) tracked the deadly column as it snaked its way towards Pibor town. But even with the support of 800 government soldiers, its 400 peacekeeping troops in Pibor town were greatly outnumbered so UNMISS could only advise civilians to flee into the bush or get behind protective lines in the town.

Thousands of people like Lilkeng Gada took the advice and ran, but were hunted down in their hiding places.

“We were going to hide from the Lou Nuer, and they came and found us,” she said. “We were just sitting down, and they came all of a sudden, and they shot us down. I fell on the floor and they left me, and one child ran, but two of my children and my husband were shot dead right there.

“Now, I’m alone. I don’t know what to do now, how to bring up the children. We had cows and they were taken… I don’t know how we will survive.”

Targeting the vulnerable

Peter Nanou, on another hospital bed in Juba, with a cast on his leg from where he was shot, says he could not save his grandmother from the attack on his village near Pibor.

“I was the one looking after her. When the Lou Nuer attacked I ran with my mother and my grandmother was left behind and shot dead,” he said.

Aid agencies and the authorities have expressed shock at the number of women, children and elderly who have been killed or wounded in the attacks.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said half the patients it airlifted from an 11 January attack on Wek village, Uror County, were under the age of five.

Most had gunshot wounds and had been beaten. According to the government, 57 people were killed and 53 wounded in Wek.

South Sudan Red Cross volunteers are counselling about 150 unaccompanied minors in Pibor, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has tracked down parents of 109 children registered there.

“I’ve seen at least 50 children that have been kidnapped by my people,” said a Lou Nuer aid worker who fled to the town of Akobo in early January.


Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Waiting for food

Conflict drivers

In a country awash with small arms, decades of tit-for-tat livestock raids – some 80,000 cattle were taken over recent weeks – are often cited as the explanation for the clashes. But other conflict drivers are also in play.

“The causes of the violence go beyond the retaliatory nature of cattle raiding in Jonglei state and touch upon broader issues of accountability, reconciliation, political inclusion, an absence of state authority, and development,” said Jennifer Christian, Sudan policy analyst for the Enough Project, in a 9 January statement.

“The political and security-related isolation of the two communities has contributed to the rise of parallel authorities, and renders violence as one of the few mechanisms for addressing community grievances,” the statement added.

According to the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), social changes have also contributed to the violence.

“There is a clear disconnect between the youth and both the traditional and political leaders. The tradition of youth respecting and listening to their elders has been lost. Without the youth’s involvement, and their sense of ownership of the peace process, any attempt at peace will fail,” the council said in a 18 January statement.

“Extremely young children are being ‘initiated’ into the hatred and killing, ensuring that it will continue into the next generation,” the statement warned.

Stopping the cycle of violence

On 19 January, UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson said that without a large government deployment to enforce a buffer zone, the UN’s 1,100 combat-ready troops in Jonglei  – half of all those deployed in South Sudan – would have to work “miracles” to stop the backlash of smaller attacks on remote villages.

“The challenge with protection of civilians with the current [new kind of] counter-attacks means that the unpredictability of the attackers, the speed, the small groups they are moving in, makes it very, very difficult,” she said.

Johnson also expressed alarm about the increasing use of messages threatening to “wipe out an entire ethnic group from the face of the earth,” warning they could further provoke “systematic ethnic violence”.

Church-led mediation efforts were aborted without resolution in mid-December, when a scheduled peace conference was postponed indefinitely.

“The church failed because it did not have government support,” said Joseph Giro Ading, visiting a Murle friend whose abdomen was torn to pieces when he was shot near his hometown Pibor.

“If we keep on revenging, there will not be any solution to the problem; unless we come down [to Juba] and settle the problem in our area, Jonglei will be finished,” he said.

On 19 January, the government announced it would disarm warring sides in Jonglei, using force if necessary. In the past, similar initiatives have met with limited, or temporary, success and were criticized by human rights groups for their excessive zeal.

Earlier in January, a Nuer group – the White Army – warned that any new attempt to disarm it “”will lead to catastrophe”.

For the Enough Project, a broader strategy is necessary.

“The delivery of basic services, provision of security, and establishment of rule of law by the government in Lou Nuer and Murle areas are critical toward ending inter-communal violence in the long term,” its statement urged.

A view echoed by the SCC: “It is clear that under-development is a key driver of conflict in the area, and this is exacerbated by a perception that some communities are neglected. Development of the more isolated parts of Jonglei State must become a priority for government (eg roads), the business community (eg mobile phone networks) and the aid community.”

Jonglei resident Ading drew a similar connection: “All those areas where there are attacks, there are no schools, there are no hospitals, there is nothing… they are just villages where cattle are kept,” he told IRIN.

“The government should open roads and schools to particular people who don’t even know their ABC. If they educate people who are illiterate, they will also know bad and good,” he said.

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94706


South Sudan
 starts shutting down oil production after accusing Sudan of 

Washington Post
JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan has ordered oil companies to shut down oil production within two weeks, a response to the new country’s allegations that Sudan has stolen $815 million worth of the south’s oil, government officials said Monday.
South Sudan: Hard times for illegal money changers
The Africa Report
It has been three months since the South Sudanese government began an investigation in October into illegal money changing activities suspected to be orchestrated by employees at the Central Bank of South Sudan (CBSS). Marial Awuou Yol, deputy minister 
South Sudan Official: Country Will Shut Down Oil Production in Response to Oil 
ABC News
South Sudan official: Country will shut down oil production in response to oil thefts by Sudan.
Red Cross hopes to boost aid effort in Sudan
AFP
The government has cited security concerns in severely restricting foreign aid organisations within South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting erupted several months ago between the Sudan Armed Forces and ethnic rebels once allied to insurgents who 

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Hong Kong
Authorities heading Africa’s newest state – South Sudan – have been asked to curb the escalating hostilities that have displaced thousands and left more others in fear of militia. A violent wave of unrest has gripped South Sudan’s remote town of Pibor in Jonglei state and humanitarian agencies fear for the worst if the situation was not brought under control.
South Sudan
Thousands of civilians are reported to have been displaced or left homeless after they left Pipor for safer sanctuaries.Christian Aid – an international aid group – has begun assisting civilians displaced by the recent spate of inter-communal violence in Pipor and has called for a swift end to escalating hostilities.The government in Juba declared Jonglei a ’humanitarian disaster area’ and has appealed for international assistance to help end the crisis.“There can be no meaningful development or any sustainable nationhood unless fundamental issues which affect the essence of interdependence and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic communities in South Sudan are addressed,” Yitna Tekaligne country manager for Christian Aid, Sudan and South Sudan said.The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been displaced by the latest round of armed conflict between two ethnic groups, the Lou Nuer and Murle.Most civilians needing assistance have been living in the bush for approximately two weeks – many without access to life-sustaining necessities.

This latest round of violence in Jonglei erupted following a series of cattle raids and child abductions.

The longstanding tensions are fuelled by decades of underdevelopment and the proliferation of small arms in the state, the biggest in South Sudan.

The emergency in Jonglei is only the most recent example of several ongoing humanitarian challenges stemming from inter-communal and inter-ethnic conflict in the world’s youngest country, which officially gained statehood in July 2011.

 South Sudan violence affected 120,000 people: UN
January 20, 2012
Agence France Presse
Women from the Kassab camp for internally displaced people look on, in Kutum January 19, 2012. More than 25,000 displaced people live in the camp. (REUTERS/UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran)
Women from the Kassab camp for internally displaced people look on, in Kutum January 19, 2012. More than 25,000 displaced people live in the camp. (REUTERS/UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

JUBA, South Sudan: At least 120,000 South Sudanese have been affected by an explosion of ethnic violence in the troubled state of Jonglei, as the world’s newest nation reels from weeks of revenge attacks, the UN said Friday.

“The violence in Jonglei hasn’t stopped… Only two weeks ago we launched a massive emergency operation to help 60,000 people,” said Lise Grande, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for the fledgling nation.

“As a result of recent attacks, we now estimate that double that number will need help.”

The numbers affected could rise further if bloody tit-for-tat attacks continue, with emergency preparations to support up to 180,000 affected people, Grande added.

The most recent attack took place on Monday, “when 80 people were reportedly killed and 300 houses burnt” in the village of Duk Padiet, she said.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates up to 90,000 people are “going to need food right away,” Grande told reporters in the capital Juba.

Impoverished Jonglei has seen a dramatic escalation of bloody attacks between rival ethnic groups over cattle raids and abduction of people.

Earlier this month a column of up to 8,000 armed youths from the Lou Nuer people marched on the remote town of Pibor, home to the rival Murle, whom they blame for cattle raiding and have vowed to exterminate.

Aid workers who have visited affected areas say they saw burnt bodies in villages and rotting corpses on the roads, killed as they ran away from their attackers.

However, the UN has been unable to give figures on the number of Murle people killed in the initial violence, with human rights teams still counting bodies that local officials claim could number in the thousands.

UN teams are also entering areas where reprisal attacks have since taken place on Lou Nuer and Dinka tribes, with government estimating that some 150 people have been killed in a series of revenge raids.

Concerns are growing for the stability of grossly underdeveloped South Sudan, which declared independence last July after decades of war with the now rump state of Sudan.

“The most recent spike in inter-communal violence has compounded an already difficult humanitarian situation in South Sudan,” Grande said, adding that relief efforts were already overstretched before recent fighting in Jonglei.

Last year, over 350,000 people were forced from their homes due to violence, according to UN figures, while since June South Sudan has also taken in over 80,000 refugees fleeing civil war in north Sudan.

In addition, the South hosts over 110,000 people who fled last May from the contested border region of Abyei — which both north and south claim as theirs.

Around three million people will need food aid this year.


UN says 120000 South Sudan residents need humanitarian aid after wave of 

Washington Post
JUBA, South Sudan — More than 120000 people need humanitarian aid because of a wave of ethnic clashes in a remote and volatile region of South Sudan, the United Nations said Friday, underscoring the challenges the world’s newest nation faces six 
South Sudan orders oil production shutdown within 2 weeks deepening row with 
Al-Arabiya
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January 19, 2012 (JUBA) – The death toll resulting from the Monday attack on Duk county of Dinka community by the Murle ethnic group in Jonglei state has risen to over 80 people confirmed dead and many more still missing as United Nations warns of hate statements.

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On Monday the Murle armed youth attacked Duk Padiet, a payam headquarters, briefly capturing it killing 47 people and burning the town before they were expelled.

However, a member of parliament, Abiel Chan, who visited the affected area on Thursday, said the number confirmed dead had increased to 83 with 48 men, 26 women and 9 children killed, while many more were still missing.

He also said thousands of residents were still displaced.

Meanwhile the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Hilde F. Johnson has called upon local and national leaders to halt the use of hate language that continues to escalate tribal clashes in Jonglei State.

Johnson in a press conference in Juba on Thursday condemned these hate are urged the South Sudanese authorities to bring those responsible for the violence to “the full force of the law”.

“We are deeply concerned about the hate messages that have been made by some individuals and groups. The statements could incite systematic ethnic violence. (..) Such statements are in violation of both international law and South Sudan’s domestic law. Any statements that could incite ethnically based violence are totally unacceptable. The United Nation condemns them in the strongest terms.”

The UN official regretted that ” the chain of retaliatory violence continues unbroken”, alluding to the recent attacks on Lou Nuer and Dinka Duk in the vast state by the Murle.

Speaking about the UNMISS role in the protection of civilians, the Hilde said the Mission has deployed around half of its “combat-ready personnel” to the heavily populated areas in Jonglei like Pibor and Likuongole where civilians were under greatest threat.

The UN official said the early warning system implemented by the UNMISS allowed to save thousands of Mule during last December attacks by the Lou Nuer who moved in thousands to Pibor.

However she admitted the UN failure to implement this system on the recent assaults by the Murle. “It’s a very different way of operating than the attacks we have are now seeing in the Lou Nuer and the Dinka areas. The attacks are in smaller groups, speedy, unpredictable, follows no particular pattern.”

“And as I mentioned, if we were to predict those we would be doing miracles because we can not predict exactly which village they would attack.”

South Sudan’s government says it prepares for deployment of more troops to create buffer zones separating the three communities of Lou-Nuer, Dinka and Murle in order to deter retaliatory attacks among the rival tribes.

The UN SRSG also urged the government to deploy more of its organized forces in the troubled Jonglei region, and strongly warned sections of the media, leaders and public to desist from jumping into conclusion on unverified figures of casualties in the aftermath of the conflict.

The government, Johnson said, should conduct an investigation into the perpetrators of this cycle of violence, and that those found guilty should be held accountable.

“The cycle of violence in Jonglei has caused huge suffering to all the people in the area. It has to end,” she said, further reiterating UNMISS concerns on the deterioration of the humanitarian situations of the people.

The UN humanitarian community, Johnson said, has launched one of the most complex and expensive emergency operations in South Sudan since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), meant to assist 60,000 people among the 90,000 affected people in the area.

Lise Grande, the deputy SRSG, is due to address the media this Friday to present more details on the current humanitarian situation in Jonglei and other parts of the South Sudan.

(ST)

http://www.sudantribune.com/Jonglei-Death-toll-in-Duk-attack,41347#tabs-1


By Machel AmosPosted  Friday, January 20  2012 at  00:00

In Summary

Better than nothing. Previous forced disarmament exercises were bloody and human rights groups criticised the process but officials now say it is better for a few to die during disarmament than for women and children to continue living in danger.

South Sudan said on Thursday it will use force to get disarm civilians despite fears that the move could trigger more bloodshed.

Previous voluntary disarmament exercises have been resisted and communities that responded to the call later rearmed to protect themselves from their armed neighbours.

“They are killing themselves with these guns. So we will force those who don’t want to surrender the guns to do so,” SPLA spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said on Thursday.

“We expect little resistance because they know that these guns are taking their lives. We will collect the guns from all the communities and guarantee their protection,” he added.

This comes in the wake of bloody clashes between rival groups in Jonglei state, where thousands have been killed in series of ethnic raiding and counter-raiding this year.

According to Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, the exercise takes as priority the warring Murle, Lou-Nuer communities and Dinka Bor.

“Without taking these guns by involving force where possible, we cannot realise peace in this state,” Manyang said.

He said the disarmaments done in 2009 provided the conducive atmosphere for 2010 general elections and the referendum last year.

“The rebels have armed them and we should decide between owning arms to fight each other and peace,” Manyang said, adding that the exercise begins at the end of the month in Pibor, home of the marauding Murle youths accused of killing and abducting children and women from their neighbours.

However, previous forced disarmament exercises were bloody and human rights groups criticised the process, saying the ensuing fighting was abusing human rights than it could solve.

Deng Dau Deng, the chairman for the War Disabled Commission, said the exercise, even if conducted by force, would save lives of innocent children and women.

“We better save the children than the criminals who would want to fight the government,” he said.

Since independence in July, South Sudan has witnessed waves of violence worsened by the presence of arms in the hands of civilians.

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JUBA, South Sudan — Tribal clashes and cattle raiding attacks that have displaced tens of thousands of people in South Sudan will not affect the development of the oil industry, a top official said.Pagan Amum said Sunday that the situation in Jonglei state — the site of large tribe-on-tribe attacks over the last several weeks — would not affect the planned exploitation of the state’s oil fields.

South Sudan — the world’s newest country — gets nearly all of its government revenue from oil fields. The people of South Sudan are among the poorest in the world. South Sudan split off from Sudan last July.Last week South Sudan signed its first post-independence oil deals with the state petroleum companies of China, India and Malaysia for oil-producing concessions in Unity and Upper Nile states. The agreements replaced exploration and production agreements made previously with the Sudanese government in Khartoum.

Amum, the secretary-general of South Sudan’s ruling political party, urged French oil giant Total and other investors in the region to sign similar agreements and resume their operations in Jonglei.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people in Jonglei have been affected by recent waves of violence, which began on Dec. 23 between the Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic groups. Last week, state officials said 57 Lou Nuer — mostly women and children — were killed in retaliatory attacks by the Murle in Akobo county.

Jonglei is home to Concession Block B, one of the largest oil blocks in South Sudan. Total holds a 32.5 percent stake in Block B and is responsible for the exploration and development of the area’s oil. Total acquired the stake in 1980 when the south was still part of Sudan, but suspended operations in 1985 due to the country’s civil war.

On Tuesday in Ethiopia, South Sudan will resume talks with Sudan over the separation of the two countries’ once-unified oil industry.

All southern oil must be pumped through pipelines in Sudan, but the two countries greatly disagree over the amount the south should pay for the use of the pipelines.

The general atmosphere between the sides is tense. In a statement Saturday, South Sudan’s petroleum minister accused Khartoum of stealing 650,000 barrels of the south’s oil at Port Sudan. Amum, who serves as South Sudan’s chief negotiator in the talks, said South Sudan would not accept such “state piracy.”

Amum said the south would develop alternative means of extracting its oil if Khartoum did not conduct its business fairly.

“We have a company like Toyota Tsusho of Japan which is almost completing a feasibility study and have lined up financing to build an alternative pipeline through Kenya,” he said. Toyota Tsusho is part of the Japanese manufacturing giant Toyota Group.

Amum said South Sudan is already in discussions with Kenya and Toyota on the possible pipeline and is planning “trilateral talks.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/south-sudan-encourages-oil-development-despite-waves-of-internal-violence/2012/01/16/gIQAFPo52P_story.html

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Labakal Kalahin cradles her 18-month-old baby

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has been engulfed by a wave of deadly raids by rival communities, which have left an unknown number of people dead. Journalist Hannah McNeish reports from Pibor, which was attacked by some 6,000 fighters.

Huddled amongst hundreds of people waiting for food distribution in the blazing midday sun, Labakal Kalahin cradles her 18-month-old baby as she relives the horror of fleeing armed attackers that tore her family apart.

“We were running to the bush, and they were firing on us, and my daughter was killed… she was eight years old.”

Like tens of thousands of others, Ms Kalahin fled her burning home in Pibor County, as ethnic violence engulfed South Sudan’s Jonglei state.

An age-old vendetta between two communities known for stealing each other’s cattle, women and children recently escalated to unknown proportions when over 6,000 armed Lou Nuer youths marched on Pibor to attack the Murle.

‘Thousands’ dead

Our survival now depends on the food brought to us”

Akuer Alan

Ismiah Shan and her eight children escaped death in the village of Thaugnyang, but others were not so lucky.

“Some of them were shot and some were cut in front of me,” she says.

In a vast area with little or no infrastructure, the UN and government have been unable to give an idea of the death toll caused by this deadly column of angry young men.

A figure speedily produced by Pibor’s county commissioner of more than 3,000 dead remains unverified.

This would make it South Sudan’s worst conflict since it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.

County medical officer James Chacha witnessed the attacks and thinks “2,000 plus” were killed by attackers en route to Pibor town, that he says stationed troops struggled to defend.

In this photo taken Saturday, 7 January, 2012 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss), the burned village of Fertait is seen from the air, in Jonglei State, eastern South Sudan. Entire villages have been burnt to the ground

“In fact they came and they entered the town. The deployment was not that big to cover the headquarters itself”, and surrounding villages felt the full force of attacks, he said.

Mr Chacha said around 800 government troops in Pibor only fired on attackers when they had been driven back.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss) had 400 peacekeepers in Pibor at the time of the attack and has increased numbers to 1,000.

“That represents almost half of the UN’s 2,100 combat ready personnel”, who will be sent to reinforce densely populated areas, said Unmiss official Kouider Zerrouk.

Clinic looted

Revenge attacks last week, that the government say killed almost 100 people, are highlighting the authorities’ inability to contain violence.

“They are villages of cattle created by people in remote areas. You can hardly protect them,” said Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang after an attack on Thursday night that killed 57 people, mostly women and children.

“The lack of access and roads is a major setback. Even if you have police 20km (12 miles) away, they can’t get there,” he said.

Attacks on Friday left 13 people dead in a village just 6km from an army garrison, and some troops were sent to protect other areas.

In this photo of Thursday, 12 January, 2012 relief food of the World Food Program is offloaded in Pibor, South Sudan.Aid is arriving in the area but much more is needed

The UN is also concerned about accessibility for a “massive humanitarian response” aimed at around 60,000 people forced from their homes.

“Our survival now depends on the food brought to us,” said Akuer Alan, who like many has been living on wild fruit.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) registered more than 30,000 people in Pibor last week and 4,500 in Gumuruk, roughly 40km away.

South Sudan UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande says the lack of aid agencies working in the troubled state poses further difficulty.

“In some of the worst-hit places, there are only a handful partners on the ground. In some places, there are none,” she says.

WFP is setting up distribution in Likuangole, one of the villages razed to the ground.

Pibor’s only clinic, serving up to 160,000 people and run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), was looted and ransacked in the attack.

MSF has been unable to track down around half of its 156 local staff since.

Scattered papers and piles of medicines litter the mostly cordoned off premises, now treating many people suffering from malaria and injuries.

“We are also seeing a lot of people with gunshot wounds, of people running away from the violence,” said Karel Janssens, MSF Coordinator in Pibor.

Ending the enmity

This attack was supposed to take place in September but the government intervened”

Kuol ManyangJonglei state governor

In Jonglei, people affected by violence have criticised the government for inaction and delay.

Aid worker Both Jangjuol witnessed another revenge attack in Akobo that killed 24 people.

“Even the SPLA [army] now is residing in its headquarters – they just can’t take these people on… the government has no control,” he says.

South Sudan is awash with small arms after decades of civil war that ended in 2005.

Military spokesman Philip Aguer said more than 20,000 guns in Jonglei were “magnifying the disputes”.

He said when another 3,000 troops are deployed, 6,000 would “disarm all these communities” to contain violence.

Douglas Johnson, a Sudan expert at Oxford University, said that in the 1980s and 90s, both the Khartoum government and the then rebel SPLA army fighting it armed the minority Murle community, leading to “the rise of ad-hoc militias” in Jonglei.

map

Cattle lie at the heart of a long-standing enmity between the two communities.

In a country without banks, cows represent wealth, a dowry, property and a source of food in the lean season. A single cow can be worth hundreds of dollars depending on its colouring.

The Murle and Lou Nuer have long raided each other’s cattle, or battled over access to grazing land and water but the conflicts have turned increasingly deadly with the arrival of automatic weapons.

Koko Alan escaped alive but is distraught after 500 of his prized cows were stolen.

“I don’t know what I will do now,” he said.

A December statement by a Nuer group based in the US claiming to be behind the advancing army vowed to “wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth”.

But Minister of Information Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the genocidal statement was the work of a refugee living in the US trying to capitalise on conflict he had no connection to.

The Jonglei governor thought it was timed for a “war planned by another person”.

He said that, after cattle raids in August 2011 left 600 people dead, the Nuer had agreed to halt retaliation if abducted women and children were returned. “This attack was supposed to take place in September but the government intervened.”

But after a three-month deadline passed and church-led peace talks collapsed in December, the rampaging youths unleashed their wrath.

Now authorities are struggling to stop a bitter enmity spiralling out of control.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16575153

South Sudan horror at deadly cattle vendetta
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Sitting on the edge of the bed beside his nine-year-old daughter recovering from a gunshot wounds, Mangiro recounted how he lost the rest of his family in recent tribal clashes in South Sudan’s troubled state of Jonglei.

“This child was carried by her mother, and her mother was killed”, the next day we carried the child out from under her mother,” said Mangiro, who did not give a second name.

“They were gunned down as a family. Her mother and sisters, all four of them are dead there”, he added, glancing at his surviving daughter Ngathim.

An unknown number of people — at least dozens, some fear hundreds — were killed in tribal clashes this month in Jonglei, declared a “disaster zone” by the Juba government, with the UN warning some 60,000 people had been affected by the violence and are in need of emergency aid.

In Pibor’s clinic run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres-MSF), Ngathim was in one of the few functioning rooms after attackers looted and ransacked the town’s only concrete structure and medical facility.

The euphoria of South Sudan’s independence six months ago after decades of civil war with the north was shared by all, but violent cracks in the new state now threaten to split it wide open.

In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army of around 8,000 Lou Nuer youths recently marched on Pibor county, attacking villages and taking children and cows away with them, to exact revenge on the Murle whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

From the air, black spots pockmarking the earth show where homes and fields were razed as attackers left villages smouldering in their wake. Large herds of stolen cattle were also seen being driven towards Nuer villages.

In Gumruk, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Pibor, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) registered more than 2,000 people this week who fled attacks on surrounding villages.

“We were just sitting at home, and then we were attacked — these Nuer guys came in with their machetes and started cutting people and so we ran”, said Ismiah Shan, a mother of eight who saw villagers shot and slashed with knives, spears or machetes in Thaugnyang, two hours’ walk away.

The government has confirmed around 80 people killed in revenge attacks in Lou Nuer areas this week, but the UN and government cannot confirm the number of Murle killed in the first assault.

Some estimates by local government officials in the thousands are not yet verified, as teams asses a vast area lacking roads.

Access difficulties and a state the size of Bangladesh have been cited as the reason why UN peacekeepers and government troops failed to stop the deadly column advancing.

Others say troops were dispatched late and clearly outnumbered, or were hesitant to intervene in a tribal conflict that last year killed around 1,100 people in a series of cattle raids.

When the violence started, Philip Mama Alan fled his village of Lawol, three hours’ walk from Gumruk, but ran into more attackers.

“These people came and took some of my colleagues. One of them came and held my hand and said ‘sit down’. Before I sat down, I saw them kill my colleagues and so I ran,” he said.

Running for his life, Alan described the scene as a “slaughter”, saying the men were gunned down and women knifed.

He does not want revenge, just for the government to build roads to bring trade into the neglected state, that was one of the worst hit during the decades of civil war with the north.

In the meantime, the huddled masses sitting in glaring sun outside food distribution centres in Pibor and Gumruk were not thinking about home.

Many had been living off wild berries and said there is nothing to go back to after they saw villages destroyed. Others seemed to be taking matters into their own hands in an effort to regain their livelihood.

WFP head of security Wame Duguvesi said that in Pibor this week the body of a Nuer army officer was discovered, while the death toll from other suspected revenge attacks continues to climb in increasingly remote areas far from the security forces.

“Peaceful dialogue is the only way forward to reach a final and durable settlement to their differences”, said Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman for the UN Mission in South Sudan, who urged communities to end the extremely worrying cycle of violence.

“The reconciliatory peace process must restart immediately”, he said, after peace talks between the two tribes fell apart in early December.

http://www.africasia.com/services/news_africa/article.php?ID=CNG.34be495e35b48c3d695e48eec41f8832.151

Just A Few Months Old, South Sudan Already In Turmoil

By MICHELE KELEMEN

People who escaped ethnic violence in Jonglei state wait for food rations at a World Food Program distribution center on Thursday. South Sudan gained independence just six months ago, and already ethnic tensions inside the new country have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

EnlargeMichael Onyiego/APPeople who escaped ethnic violence in Jonglei state wait for food rations at a World Food Program distribution center on Thursday. South Sudan gained independence just six months ago, and already ethnic tensions inside the new country have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.
Map Of Sudan And South Sudan

Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR

South Sudan gained independence just six months ago, but the country is already plagued by ethnic violence at home and ongoing tensions with its previous rulers in Sudan.

Potential humanitarian crises are brewing in both Sudans, and U.S. diplomats are sounding frustrated that the two are not talking to each other enough.

U.S. officials still don’t really have a handle on the violence that exploded this month in a remote part of South Sudan. But U.S. envoy Princeton Lyman says the deadly cattle-raiding and ethnic clashes that have forced tens of thousands to flee shows that the new government’s reach is still weak.

“There are real fragile points in this society and years of neglect of their basic needs,” Lyman says. “The government is going to have to move very, very fast to get a handle on it and not let ethnic politics get in the way.”

Humanitarian groups are desperately trying to reach people in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state. Noah Gottschalk of Oxfam America says the violence threatens the new nation’s plans to develop its agricultural sector.

“When you see this type of displacement happening in this short period of time, where you see the challenges cattle keepers are facing … it’s really worrying,” he says. “If [agriculture] is what the government of South Sudan pins its hopes on, this will need to be addressed.”

Food aid from the U.S. is delivered Thursday as part of efforts by the World Food Program to assist people displaced by fighting in the South Sudan state of Jonglei.

EnlargeMichael Onyiego/APFood aid from the U.S. is delivered Thursday as part of efforts by the World Food Program to assist people displaced by fighting in the South Sudan state of Jonglei.

U.S. Sending Military Advisers

The White House announced recently that it is sending five military advisers to help United Nations peacekeepers, who warned of the latest violence but mainly stayed on the sidelines.

The Obama administration also cleared a legal hurdle to provide military assistance. Lyman says the goal is to help a former liberation movement that fought for independence become a real army with civilian oversight.

“Right now we are looking at help for establishing a stronger Ministry of Defense, command-and-control capability, human-rights monitoring and better overall organization,” he says. “We have no plans under way for lethal assistance to South Sudan.”

One of Lyman’s former aides, Cameron Hudson, says the U.S. needs to show more tough love with South Sudan. Hudson is now with the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and he’s worried about what former rebels now in government might do during this volatile time.

“Politically their instincts, I think, are in the right place, but when faced with really overwhelming violence, tribal violence and intercommunal violence around them, there are tendencies and temptations on the ground that make doing the right thing difficult on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “So the United States and other allied countries, I think, have a real opportunity and responsibility to keep Sudan on track.”

There is frustration, but there is frustration that both countries have failed to establish the kind of relationships, or even any of the basic institutions for dealing with their bilateral problems. There’s almost no high-level communications between the two.

– U.S. envoy Princeton Lyman on the tension between Sudan and South Sudan

The U.S. is also worried about the relationship between the two Sudans. The north accuses the south of arming rebels. Lyman can’t rule that out, though the south denies it is meddling.

“There is frustration, but there is frustration that both countries have failed to establish the kind of relationships, or even any of the basic institutions for dealing with their bilateral problems,” Lyman says. “There’s almost no high-level communications between the two.”

Humanitarian Concerns

Now there are fears of famine in those areas where Sudan has been cracking down on rebel movements.

“We’ve gone to the government, we’ve gone to countries around the world to say, ‘Look, this is a catastrophe, but a preventable one,’ ” Lyman says. He says that the U.S. has urged other countries to tell Sudan’s government that it must allow in the United Nations.

The U.N. Security Council, though, has been deadlocked on the issue, says Hudson, the former State Department official.

“What China and Russia see is a proxy war,” says Hudson. “So they are reticent to take really strong action like the U.S. government would like to see because they think there isn’t just one side involved here. Both sides are at fault.”

And there is another brewing conflict between the two Sudans that the U.S. is trying to manage. They are fighting over their shared oil wealth, and U.S. officials warn that if this isn’t resolved soon, both countries could face a serious financial crisis.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/15/145188077/just-a-few-months-old-s-sudan-already-in-turmoil


The euphoria of South Sudan’s independence six months ago after decades of civil war with the north has been replaced by fears of escalating tribal violence
AFP , Saturday 14 Jan 2012
South Sudan

In this photo of Thursday, Jan.12, 2012, victims of ethnic violence in Jonglei, state, South Sudan, wait in line at the World Food Program distribution center in Pibor to receive emergency food rations . (Photo: AP)

Sitting on the edge of the bed beside his nine-year-old daughter recovering from a gunshot wound, Mangiro recounted how he lost the rest of his family in recent tribal clashes in South Sudan’s troubled state of Jonglei. “This child was carried by her mother, and her mother was killed,” the next day we carried the child out from under her mother,” said Mangiro, who did not give a second name.

“They were gunned down as a family. Her mother and sisters, all four of them are dead there,” he added, glancing at his surviving daughter Ngathim.

An unknown number of people — at least dozens, some fear hundreds — were killed in tribal clashes this month in Jonglei, declared a “disaster zone” by the Juba government, with the UN warning some 60,000 people had been affected by the violence and are in need of emergency aid.

In Pibor’s clinic run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres-MSF), Ngathim was in one of the few functioning rooms after attackers looted and ransacked the town’s only concrete structure and medical facility.

In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army of around 8,000 Lou Nuer youths recently marched on Pibor county, attacking villages and taking children and cows away with them, to exact revenge on the Murle whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

From the air, black spots pockmarking the earth show where homes and fields were razed as attackers left villages smouldering in their wake. Large herds of stolen cattle were also seen being driven towards Nuer villages.

In Gumruk, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Pibor, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) registered more than 2,000 people this week who fled attacks on surrounding villages. “We were just sitting at home, and then we were attacked. These Nuer guys came in with their machetes and started cutting people and so we ran,” said Ismiah Shan, a mother of eight who saw villagers shot and slashed with knives, spears or machetes in Thaugnyang, two hours’ walk away.

The government has confirmed around 80 people killed in revenge attacks in Lou Nuer areas this week, but the UN and government cannot confirm the number of Murle killed in the first assault. Some estimates by local government officials in the thousands are not yet verified, as teams asses a vast area lacking roads.

Access difficulties and a state the size of Bangladesh have been cited as the reason why UN peacekeepers and government troops failed to stop the deadly column advancing. Others say troops were dispatched late and were clearly outnumbered, or were hesitant to intervene in a tribal conflict that last year killed around 1,100 people in a series of cattle raids.

When the violence started, Philip Mama Alan fled his village of Lawol, three hours’ walk from Gumruk, but ran into more attackers. “These people came and took some of my colleagues. One of them came and held my hand and said ‘sit down’. Before I sat down, I saw them kill my colleagues and so I ran,” he said.

Running for his life, Alan described the scene as a “slaughter”, saying the men were gunned down and women knifed. He does not want revenge, just for the government to build roads to bring trade into the neglected state, that was one of the worst hit during the decades of civil war with the north.

In the meantime, the huddled masses sitting in the glaring sun outside food distribution centres in Pibor and Gumruk were not thinking about home. Many had been living off wild berries and said there is nothing to go back to after they saw villages destroyed. Others seemed to be taking matters into their own hands in an effort to regain their livelihood.

WFP head of security Wame Duguvesi said that in Pibor this week the body of a Nuer army officer was discovered, while the death toll from other suspected revenge attacks continues to climb in increasingly remote areas far from the security forces.

“Peaceful dialogue is the only way forward to reach a final and durable settlement to their differences,” said Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman for the UN mission in South Sudan, who urged communities to end the worrying cycle of violence.

“The reconciliatory peace process must restart immediately,” he said, after peace talks between the two tribes collapsed in early December.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/31698/World/Region/Horrors-of-tribal-violence-devastate-South-Sudanes.aspx