Posts Tagged ‘nuer tribe’

Sudarsan Raghavan/WASHINGTON POST – Kayoi Maze, 42, was separated from her two daughters, ages 18 and 16. Her neighbors later informed her that the fighters had abducted them. “I don’t expect to ever see them again,” said Maze, who like hundreds of villagers returned to the city Likuangole over the weekend to receive food aid from the UN’s World Food Program. ”At least I have two daughters left.”

By , Published: January 30

LIKUANGOLE, South Sudan— Nothing is intact in this town, save the memories. Every hut was burned to the ground. The only health clinic and the only school were torched. Hundreds were killed or injured. Thousands more fled.The United Nations and South Sudan’s government had combat forces in this town at the time of the assault late last year. But witnesses say they did nothing to stop the killings.

South Sudan map: Likuangole; Jonglei state; Pibor; Duk Padiet; Likuangole; Nuer tribe; Murle tribe

When the attackers reached a village nearby, they shot Nyandit Allan, 28, twice in her left leg and again in the face, then slit the throats of her two stepsons. “They were singing as they left,” said Allan, who is now recuperating in a clinic.Six months after celebrating independence,the world’s newest nation is grappling with a virus of tribal violence. In many ways, the inevitable has happened, as ethnic and political tensions exploded after being suppressed by the promise of separation from the north, after a decades-long war against rulers in Khartoum.

The United States and its allies have spent billions to help South Sudan become a stable, pro-Western pillar in a region plagued by terrorism and militant Islam. But now the intensifying attacks have ignited tribal violence and threaten to undermine a government already facing a long list of daunting challenges.

Stopping the violence “would demand a very, very significant military operation, and the government also would have to move significant forces to make that happen,” said Hilde Johnson, the head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan.

The state of Jonglei has long been gripped by poverty, ethnic and political tensions, a massive influx of weapons and a history of cattle raiding between the Nuer and Murle tribes. Last year, the United Nations documented 208 attacks that displaced more than 90,000 people.

But the current bloodletting appears far more vicious and widespread. Once, only cattle camps were raided. Now, entire villages and towns are being razed, infrastructure destroyed.

“Our clinic is full of women and children,” said Karel Janssens, field coordinator for theaid agency Doctors Without Borders in the town of Pibor, where many of the wounded have sought refuge.

Torn apart by revenge

Since the attacks by the Lou Nuer, a subgroup, on this area in late December and early January, the Murle have risen up. They have marauded Nuer areas across Jonglei. Two weeks ago, 47 people were killed in the village of Duk Padiet. Aid agencies have launched a massive humanitarian effort to help those harmed by the raids, which the United Nations now numbers 120,000 people.

On Dec. 17, a Nuer militia known as the White Army announced that it would protect the Nuer population and their cattle from the Murle because the government was not doing enough.

The militia, which has a fundraising and media arm in the United States, said it was also seeking revenge for the massacre of 700 Nuer by Murle warriors in August, a month after South Sudan declared independence.

In a telephone interview, Gai Bol Thong, a Nuer spokesman who lives in Seattle, said his group had raised $45,000 from supporters in the United States and Canada for food and other “humanitarian” needs of the fighters.

Sudarsan Raghavan/WASHINGTON POST – Kayoi Maze, 42, was separated from her two daughters, ages 18 and 16. Her neighbors later informed her that the fighters had abducted them. “I don’t expect to ever see them again,” said Maze, who like hundreds of villagers returned to the city Likuangole over the weekend to receive food aid from the UN’s World Food Program. ”At least I have two daughters left.”

On Dec. 25, the White Army e-mailed a statement vowing to “wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth.”The next day, 6,000 Lou Nuer fighters attacked Likuangole.

They stole thousands of heads of cattle. They destroyed all the boreholes, eliminating the main source of water here. Groups of warriors targeted Murle men, while others tracked down women and children who had fled into the thick bush.Kayoi Maze, 42, was separated from her two daughters, ages 18 and 16. Her neighbors later told her that the fighters had abducted them.

“I don’t expect to ever see them again,” said Maze, who like hundreds of villagers returned to Likuangole to receive aid from the U.N. World Food Program. “At least I have two daughters left.”

Local officials estimate that 850 people were killed in Likuangole and nearby villages, including 660 women and children. An estimated 150 women and children were abducted. An additional 2,250 people were killed in surrounding areas. But neither the United Nations nor the government have confirmed those figures.

In Likuangole, two human skulls lie on a patch of charred ground near the U.N. base. The smell of rotting flesh still wafts through the air. In graffiti covering the walls of the school, the Lou Nuer fighters have declared the town part of their territory.

“We have done this to you,” reads one message, “because you have done it to us.”

‘The U.N. failed us’

When the gunmen attacked, Achiro Manibon remembered running in one direction as his three wives and four children ran the other way. They were all shot dead.

Manibon, 35, had expected the United Nations combat force and South Sudanese troops stationed in the town to fend off the attackers. But they didn’t fire a weapon, he said. Across this area, people feel betrayed by their military and the U.N. peacekeepers, which has a mandate to use force, if needed, to protect civilians.

For weeks, the peacekeepers had tracked columns of Lou Nuer fighters making their way toward Likuangole and Pibor. Yet they dispatched only 400 of their 3,000-member force.

Simon Ali, a local administrator, said he brought five disabled people to the U.N. base for protection. The peacekeepers told him to put them in a hut about five yards from the base, he said. When the Lou Nuer arrived, they fired into the hut. Then, they torched it with the people inside, Ali said.

“The U.N. failed us,” he said. “We asked for their help and they did nothing.”

Johnson, the head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan, said U.N. forces in Likuangole had evacuated 41 people, mostly disabled and elderly, before the attack, “but we cannot rule out there might have been some civilians left.” She added that she was not aware of any incidents in which U.N. forces did not provide assistance to civilians seeking refuge.

In Likuangole, there’s also deep mistrust of the government. Many senior officials, including Vice President Reik Machar, are Nuer, and Lou Nuer soldiers number in the thousands in the military and are unlikely to intervene, residents said.

Col. Philip Aguer, a South Sudanese military spokesman, said that only 500 soldiers were in Likuangole at the time of the attack, and that it would have been like “sentencing your soldiers to death” if they had tried to fight the 6,000 Lou Nuer warriors.

“The real reason why they did nothing is because the force was not capable of confronting the attackers,” Aguer said. “Not because many are Nuer.”

Today, roughly 1,500 U.N. peacekeepers — half the force — are patrolling Jonglei state. But it has become even more difficult to stop attacks. The Murle fighters are moving in small groups, staging swift stealth attacks, making the violence harder to monitor and predict. “You could see a pattern of where they are moving, but we, with all our helicopters, are not able to detect that they are going to that village or not that,” Johnson said.

Back in the United States, Gai Bol Thong is continuing to raise funds for the White Army. If the government cannot protect the Nuer community, “we will do some revenge against the Murle,” he warned.

South Sudan official: Cattle raid kills 70; nation struggles to contain internal violence

By Associated Press, Published: January 30

JUBA, South Sudan — An official in South Sudan says more than 70 people were killed in a recent cattle raid.Interior Minister Alison Manani Magaya said Monday that a Nuer tribe from Unity state attacked a Dinka community in neighboring Warrap state Saturday. He says 70 people were wounded and attackers took more than 4,000 cattle.

The Warrap attack is the latest in a series of cattle raids since December. Ongoing raids between Nuer, Murle and Dinka communities have killed hundreds. The United Nations estimates over 120,000 people have been affected in Jonglei state alone.Magaya said authorities had not found any links connecting the attacks in Warrap to violence in Jonglei.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July and is struggling to contain internal violence that has plagued the region for years.

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

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)
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.

Briefing on Issues of Ongoing Concern in Sudan and South Sudan
US Department of State (press release)
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South Sudan signs pipeline deal with Kenya
Mail & Guardian Online
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SOUTH SUDAN: Building a blood bank
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Sudan Tribune
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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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Sudan Tribune
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South Sudan, Kenya Sign Agreement to Build Oil Pipeline to Port of Lamu
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Globe and Mail
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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.


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.”

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.

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
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 

South Sudan: 47 killed in revenge attack as tribal conflicts escalate

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 Photo/Michael Onyiego
Members of a South Sudan tribe that was previously targeted in a massive ethnic assault killed 47 people in another revenge attack, escalating the tribal conflict in the world’s newest nation, an official said.

Members of the Murle community attacked a community called Duk Padiet in Jonglei state Monday evening, said Philip Thon Leek Deng, a member of parliament who spoke from South Sudan‘s capital of Juba.

Some of the residents of Duk Padiet – who are from the Lou Nuer tribe – fought back, killing an unspecified number of attackers, “but the majority of the 47 killed are young children who could not run, old women, old men, disabled people,” said Deng, who is a Lou Nuer. There was no immediate confirmation of his casualty tolls.

In a statement, US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor acknowledged the escalation in violence in recent weeks and urged all sides to refrain from further attacks.

“We welcome the South Sudanese government’s launch of an investigation into these attacks and its deployment of additional military and police forces to the region, and we support efforts by the UN and non-governmental organisations to provide urgently-needed humanitarian assistance to those who fled the fighting,” the statement said.

The Monday attack is the latest in a series of raids carried out by the Murle against the neighbouring Lou Nuer community in Jonglei. Similar attacks took place over the past week in neighbouring Uror and Akobo counties. With the attacks in Duk County, the death toll since the revenge attacks began Jan 8 has risen to more than 120.

The revenge attacks are the latest in a long-running cycle of violence between the two communities. Officials say the attacks are being carried out in retaliation for raids by the Lou Nuer tribe on Murle communities in Pibor county in late December and early January.

No reliable death toll has yet been released from those attacks, but the United Nations estimates that as many as 60,000 people were affected by the violence and are in need of assistance. One Murle official said more than 3,000 Murle died in the December-January attacks. That toll has not been corroborated by the UN or central government.

Deng said the residents of Duk County are fleeing the county in anticipation of an impending second attack.

“What happened in Duk Padyiet is not the end,” he said. “We are expecting another attack this evening from similar forces because they did not take cattle. They attacked the town. There were no cattle in the town.”

The United Nations has recently launched operations in Jonglei to reach the tens of thousands affected by the violence. South Sudan has deployed 3,000 soldiers to the area in an attempt to quell the ethnic clashes.

Cattle raids between the Lou Nuer and Murle have gone on for decades. The 23-year civil war between the newly independent South Sudan and its northern neighbour, Sudan, flooded this region with weapons.

The crisis in Jonglei is just one of a host of problems in one of the world’s most underdeveloped nations, which gained independence last July. Besides the 60,000 displaced in Jonglei, the country is also hosting more than 80,000 refugees who have fled rebellions in neighbouring Sudan. Thousands of South Sudanese have returned from Sudan since independence and thousands more have been displaced by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group plaguing Central Africa.

South Sudan attackers kill 51 in clashes: governor

By Hannah McNeish (AFP) –

JUBA — Gunmen killed at least 51 people in the latest ethnic clashes in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, the region’s governor said Tuesday.

“The whole night (Monday) they burned the town… 51 are confirmed dead and now we have 22 (injured) evacuated to Juba,” said Jonglei governor Kuol Manyang.

Armed men stormed the village of Duk Padiet in northern Jonglei late Monday, with most of those killed “women, children and the elderly,” Manyang told AFP.

“We are expecting more to be injured because they ran to the villages last night,” he said, blaming gunmen from the Murle ethnic group for the attack.

Remote and impoverished Jonglei has seen a dramatic escalation of bloody tit-for-tat attacks between rival ethnic groups over cattle raids and abduction of people.

Newly-independent South Sudan has declared Jonglei a national “disaster area” while the United Nations has launched a “massive emergency” operation to help over 60,000 people affected by the violence.

Last month an 8,000-strong tribal militia of Lou Nuer youths marched on Pibor, to exact revenge on the Murle people there for alleged attacks, abductions and cattle raiding.

Now officials claim the latest violence is the Murle’s response.

One attacker was killed, a suspected Murle man wearing military fatigues, Manyang said.

The village “was attacked by people positively identified as the Murle armed youth,” said Philip Thon Leek Deng, the local MP.

Deng said that large herds of cattle had been stolen in a series of raids in the area last week, but the attack Monday targeted people.

“They did not take cattle… they are only coming for annihilation,” he said.

The people of Duk Padiet are from the Dinka ethnic group, who are also traditional rivals of the Murle.

Minister of Information Barnaba Marial Benjamin said around 3,000 extra security forces had been deployed in Jonglei, mostly to Murle areas, but now attacks were happening in Nuer and Dinka areas.

“The forces we have taken in cannot cover every area,” he said.

Jonglei, an isolated and swampy state about the size of Austria and Switzerland combined has limited mud roads often impassable for months during heavy rains.

Guns are common in the region devastated by two decades of war with northern Sudanese forces, a conflict that paved the way for the South’s independence last July.

The UN says that last year, violence between the two tribes left around 1,100 people dead and tens of thousands displaced in a series of cattle raids involving abductions of women and children.

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All Nuer Should Fight Murle Youth and SPLA Defectors who Create Insecurity in South Sudan
Decree No: 001/1/12
Hon. Gai L Ngundeng, Grandson of Prophet Ngundeng and Chairman of Prophet Ngundeng’s Historical Society Association
January, 15, 2012
Based on the authority bestowed upon me by the family of Prophet Ngundeng, and based upon the moral authority of Prophet Ngundeng upon Nuer tribe, I, Hon. Gai L Ngundeng, the grandson of Prophet Ngundeng and Chairman of Ngundeng’s Historical Society Association, do hereby issue a religious decree ordering all Nuer in the world to fight Murle tribe. This decree is issued as a result of Murle’s attack on Wec Deang (God City) on January, 14, 2012 in which 15 women and children were killed and 4,000 heads of cattle stolen.
Prophet Ngundeng’s city has never been attacked by any force since the beginning of 20th C. It was 1902 when British forces attempted to capture Wech Deang but Prophet Ngundeng acted as an emergency response to alien forces in order to protect Nuer values and killed all the British forces with his divine Rod. His divine Rod was returned to South Sudan in 2009 by Prof. Douglas Johnson from United Kingdom.
Since January, 6, 2012, 900 Murle members of the SPLA army in Nasir, Maiwut, Ulang, Malakal and Bor towns left their barracks and joined Murle Youth to attack Nuer villages. They first attacked Dengjok Payam and killed over 30 civilians and took over 20,000 heads of cattle. In few days, they attacked Uror County and massacred over 60 civilians and took over 6,000 heads of cattle. On January, 14, 2012, the Murle fighters attacked Prophet Ngundeng’s Bieh (Pyramid) and killed innocent civilians.
The people of South Sudan and international community should be made aware that no human being or force ever attacked Wech Deang even during the war. When the SPLM/A was fighting successive governments in Khartoum, no force had ever attempted to attack Ngundeng’s pyramid. Neither the forces of Sudan governments nor the SPLA ever attacked the holy place.
When Riek Machar and John Garang were fighting in 1990s, neither faction had ever attempted to go near Wech Deang. The holy city has been a place of refuge for people running away from any danger. When Riek Machar’s forces chased Garang’s forces in 1996, the forces of the latter took refuge at Wech Deang. The leader of Ngundeng’s Bieh ordered Riek Machar’s forces not to attack Garang’s forces who took refuge in holy city. Dr. Machar’s forces complied and returned without attacking the holy place. The elder of Bieh (pyramid) served Garang’s forces with food for one week until they left safely for Bor where they joined the forces of SPLM/A-Torit faction.
What the Murle did is similar to the attempt of colonial forces in 1902 who tried to attack the holy city. Therefore, Murle’s attack on January, 14, 2012 is an attack on Nuer religious values and dignity. All Nuer officials, politicians, students, soldiers, youth, doctors, lawyers and white army have to fight Murle youth and defectors to bring them to justice for attacking holy city of Wech Deang. 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 holy city.
For question:
Hon. Gai L Ngundeng
Grandson of Prophet Ngundeng
Chairman of Ngundeng’s Historical Society Association
Tel. +211 (or 249)956-155-671
Juba, South Sudan


NAIROBI, Kenya — Threats of genocide and ethnically charged rhetoric are roiling South Sudan’s Jonglei state one week after a days-long rampage by a tribal militia forced 50,000 people from their homes and may have left thousands dead.

The commissioner of Pibor County, where most of the bloodshed took place, said that 3,141 people were killed, according to an initial assessment of the attack. But officials from the United Nations and the South Sudanese government cautioned that the number was unconfirmed and may be inflated.

Uncertainty also surrounded whether more bloodshed is in the offing. One militia spokesman vowed that a Rwandan-style genocide is on the way, but others said the spokesman represented only one faction of the militia, which is described as either a well-organized force meticulously executing central commands or simply a throng of cattle-herders bent on quick revenge and booty.

Confusion and finger-pointing are a regular part of South Sudan’s so-far brief stint at statehood — the country became independent from Sudan in July — but the latest crisis has left the nation struggling to come up with answers or solutions.

The rampage began before Christmas when thousands of members of the Lou Nuer tribe began a scorched-earth march through Jonglei aimed at members of the rival Murle tribe. At least three villages were burned to the ground as U.N. peacekeepers, badly outnumbered and monitoring the militia’s progress from helicopters, urged Murle to flee their homes.

The rampage came to an end last Tuesday on the outskirts of Pibor, after a Nuer foray into the city found little to steal and almost no one to kidnap. Four hundred U.N. peacekeepers and about 800 South Sudanese government troops were holed up in Pibor.

How many people died in the Nuer rampage is the most glaring uncertainty. Joshua Konyi, a Murle who is the commissioner of Pibor County, said a compilation of totals given by the area’s local administrators yielded the estimate that 3,141 people had died in the attack, most of them in rural areas out of sight of U.N. peacekeepers and government troops garrisoned in nearby administrative towns.

The steep figure has met heavy skepticism. Kuol Manyang, the state governor, said the numbers came too quickly and were meant “to win sympathy.” The United Nations, which initially estimated the number of dead at the “tens or hundreds,” said Sunday that there was no evidence to back up the claims of more than 3,000 dead.

But neither the government nor the U.N. has offered an alternative figure for the number of dead in a campaign that covered 70 miles in one of South Sudan’s most remote regions. The government is sending a commission to investigate the casualty count, said South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer.

After seeing their homeland destroyed, some Murle were incredulous that the local count was met with suspicion and accused the U.N. of acting on the defensive after its peacekeepers failed to stop the violence.

“The UNMISS military wing did nothing to protect civilians,” said John Boloch, a Murle leader who heads South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Juba, referring to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by its acronym. “The number given (3,141) is true.”

“Right now all the numbers are suspect, but it’s probably best to start with the numbers being generated by local officials and then work to verify them,” said Judy McCallum, a former country director of an aid organization in South Sudan who does research on the Murle.

Those who did survive did so only by fleeing. The attackers did not appear to be in a mindset of mercy.

Online forums and private conversations are filled with vitriol aimed at the Murle, a small, politically marginalized group that numbers between 100,000 and 150,000 and is neighbored by both the Dinka and the Lou Nuer, South Sudan’s two dominant tribes.

During the long civil war in which South Sudan won its independence from Sudan, the Murle were seen as traitors. They’re accused regularly of abducting their neighbors’ children, a practice not uncommon across South Sudan.

One Nuer tribal member who has lived in the United States and claims to speak for the “Nuer White Army” said in email messages that the goal of the rampage was to wipe out the Murle. He promised more to come.

“The next attack against Murle will be worse than what happened in Rwanda in 1994,” the spokesman, Tut Deang, emailed in reply to a series of written questions. “If committing ‘genocide’ will bring us peace, so be it.”

He said that future raids will be launched under the cover of night to prevent detection by U.N. surveillance helicopters.

“We are fighting for survival in this part of the world and the so-called Western concepts of ‘responsibility to protect’ are crap,” wrote Deang, whose email account uses the words “Nuer power.”

Deang’s claim to speak for the militia, which U.N. officials say numbers around 8,000 men, could not be verified. In mid-December, a press release indicated Deang lived in Minnesota, but now he claims to have moved back to South Sudan. But he did not provide a local contact number, and numerous email exchanges and news releases took place during regular working hours in the United States.

The Lou Nuer area’s county commissioner, Goi Jooyol, questioned Deang’s legitimacy, accusing radical Nuer who live outside South Sudan of hijacking the tribal war for their own political agendas.

“These groups sending these emails are just groups acting on their own behalves,” Jooyol said by phone. “The people carrying out our attacks are simple people. Most are illiterate and are just trying to avenge the attack on their families, and maybe steal some cows.”

Whether official or not, Deang’s views are not unique. South Sudanese admit the sentiments are common, even among politicians and the educated. South Sudan’s history is also not encouraging: although best known for the oppression it suffered at the hands of Arabic Sudanese authorities to the north, the long civil war was filled with numerous atrocities South Sudanese committed against one another.

And don’t ask Deang to help settle the casualty debate.

“It is not our duty to count the number of Murle killed. The duty is to end the Murle problem,” he wrote menacingly.

(Boswell is a McClatchy correspondent. His reporting is supported in part by a grant from Humanity United, a California-based foundation that focuses on human rights issues.)

Updated January 08, 2012 11:17:00

The UN’s top official in South Sudan says “no evidence” had been found of reported mass killings, but warned that 60,000 people were in urgent need of aid.

Hilde Johnson, UN Special Representative for South Sudan, said reports that over 3,000 people were killed last week when thousands of armed youths attacked the Pibor region of Jonglei state appeared to be a false alarm.

“Importantly, we found no evidence that support those numbers,” she said following a visit to affected areas where up to 8,000 rampaging armed youths set homes on fire and forced thousands to flee.

In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

It was still not clear how many people had died.

But Ms Johnson said that with as many as a third of all thatch huts set on fire in targeted areas, about 60,000 people were in desperate need of help.

“People are left without shelter, their homes have been torched, and with their cattle taken their livelihoods are dismantled,” she said.

“It is critical that this cycle of violence stop… and providing timely humanitarian assistance can help end retaliatory attacks.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said last week that “tens, perhaps hundreds” could have died in the latest outbreak of violence in the world’s newest nation, which only declared independence six months ago.

Ms Johnson stressed that UN peacekeepers had, however, protected civilians from the county’s two largest settlements of, Pibor town and Lekongele.

“Our mandate is to protect civilians, and we did that,” she added.

South Sudan has declared Jonglei a national “disaster area” while the United Nations has said it will launch a “massive” emergency operation to help those uprooted by the violence.

“This emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudan,” since the Sudan’s civil war ended in 2005, the UN said earlier.


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AFP) –

JUBA — South Sudan’s army is in “full control” of a flashpoint town, after thousands of villagers fled into the bush to escape a marauding militia army from a rival tribe, officials said Tuesday.

A column of some 6,000 armed youths from the Lou Nuer tribe marched on the remote town of Pibor in troubled Jonglei state, home to the rival Murle people, who they blame for cattle raiding and have vowed to exterminate.

“Pibor is under the full control of the government, and the Lou Nuer have been ordered to return to their homes, and they are starting to do so,” Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

Gunmen burned thatched huts and looted a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the worst flare-up in a dispute that has left more than 1,000 dead in recent months and threatened to destabilise the world’s newest country.

The government and the United Nations — which has warned the violence could lead to a “major tragedy” — were beefing up their forces in the area.

Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said “probably well over twenty thousand” people had fled into the bush.

Ethnic violence, cattle raids and reprisal attacks in the vast eastern state left over 1,100 people dead and forced some 63,000 from their homes last year, according to UN reports based on local authorities and assessment teams.

Tit-for-tat cattle raiding is common in a grossly underdeveloped region awash with guns and left in ruins by decades of war with northern Sudanese forces, who fuelled conflict by backing proxy militia forces across the south.

New South Sudan rebels vow to attack Juba within a month


January 3, 2012 (LONDON) – South Sudan’s newest rebel movement has told Sudan Tribune that it plans attack the capital Juba within the month and denies it is backed by Khartoum.

JPEG - 15.1 kb
The distance between Renk, where the new rebels say they are based and South Sudan’s capital Juba is around 800km (Google Maps)

The leader of the South Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SSPLM/A), Tong Lual Ayat, claims to have a force of 5,000 soldiers and plans to double that figure with new recruits and defections from the South Sudanese military (SPLA).

Ayat, a former member of South Sudan’s ruling party – the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – said that he had begun his rebellion because of the corrupt and ineffective way the country is being governed by President Salva Kiir.

South Sudan became independent in July 2011 under Kiir’s leadership, as part of a 2005 peace deal with north Sudan.

Like other rebellions in South Sudan the new group state corruption, bad governance and lack of human rights and freedoms as some of the reasons for their insurgency.

But in a departure from the aims of other rebels the SSPLM/A declared in its manifesto at the end of December that it wanted to South Sudan to revert being governed by Khartoum under a confederation.

However, following the “negative reactions” to the announcement the nascent movement scrapped the idea just days later.

The Unity and Jonglei state-based South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), the country’s most active rebel group, shortly after the original announcement said that they opposed confederation.

“The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for separation and nobody can reverse that. The democratic choice of the people of South Sudan has to be respected” the SSLA’s Bapiny Monytuil told Sudan Tribune.

The SSLA warned Ayat that if he did not change his manifesto other southern rebels would not cooperate with him.

The hastily dropped proposal, Ayat said, was for the two Sudan’s to create a European or East African Community type system.

Ayat said that because of these concerns the article had been dropped and replaced with a statement calling for “regime change in Juba.”

“Any inconvenience caused by this article is sincerely regretted”, the group said in a 1 January press release.

In 2009 Ayat left the ruling SPLM and formed the United Democratic Party (UDP) but claims he was arrested for starting the new party and subsequently his party did not join the government after the 2010 elections.

In a email to Sudan Tribune on 1 January, Ayat said that South Sudanese were fed up with the current government and the country needed an alternative. The SSPLM/A’s planned attack on Juba will be called “Rescue South Sudan from Oppressors”, he said.

Ayat says that he has no connection with Khartoum and is trying to form a coalition with other rebel and opposition groups in South Sudan as well as encourage defections from the army.

Juba and Khartoum have routinely accused each other of backing the rebel groups in each others territory.

The new rebels claim to be based in Renk in Upper Nile state near the border with north Sudan.

Renk and Juba are at other ends of the country, with Juba close to the border with Uganda. The SSPLM/A would have to travel around 800km through difficult terrain to reach Juba.

Similar warnings, given by other rebel groups that they were going imminently attack and take control of major towns in South Sudan have, so far, not transpired.


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