By Wol Deng Atak.
Opinion – Before you stop reading, please, note that raping, looting, and killing of innocent unarmed civilians by the cliques’ administration in Juba did happen in my village before it started in yours. It started way back in 2008 and 2010 before the country got its independence from the Sudan. As a Dinka from Warrap State, I have experienced the harshness of the brunt of policy designed to cow the citizens to silent.
The sponsored violence, which others referred to as targeting ethnic community on highways, has its roots in J1 calculated for political maneuvers and evil survival techniques for the cliques. And to some extend equally used by their contender in armed violence who has his headquarters in Pagak. The kleptocratic regime wants every citizen to lie on its behalf or die. This explains why the regime has been harsher to Dinka nationals who do not tow its line. Understandably, my brother and sister at the other side of my other community in this country may not be aware that Dinka nationals opposed to the regime are dying in silent.
You may recall, in 2008 and 2009, I presented to Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly a case of a civilian dragged out of health facility where he was admitted for treatment and shot dead by the SPLA soldiers. He was pulled out shot dead right in front of the health facility in Aliek Payam of Tonj North County of Warrap State. Chol Geeng, a victim, hand was tight against Payam Administrator of Aliek Payam, Mr. Mathiang Akol, both Dinka from Warrap State, before he was shot dead leaving the administrator highly traumatized. The deceased was wounded by SPLA soldiers over cattle dispute a day before, but he hid himself only to be followed to the hospital where he was receiving treatment and killed by the same soldiers who wounded him a day before.
Within the area mentioned above, SPLA soldiers subjected school girl-children and women to gang rape, looted properties, destroyed food crops and scattered them just to punish Aliek community. Women were equally raped in Warrap town, and Gogrial East. I presented these issues in parliament, but not only it receives disapproving node from the leadership but sabotage. It was a double tragedy to justice because the culprits did not only get state protection from prosecution but got promotion. Which government worth its name could do such things to it own citizens? I feel justified in terming them as cliques, predators who hijacked the people hard won independence for their selfish ends. In deed they are mere competitors of violence for wealth and power who brought shame to the nation.
In 2010-2011, systematic killing started in Tonj East of Warrap State. In one incident eighteen unarmed youths in Tonj East of Warrap State were rounded up, their hands tight against one another, line up and shot dead by the SPLA soldiers at the full glare of the sunlight. Their crime was never made public though found walking. In Akop Payam of Tonj North County of Warrap State, soldiers shot dead a chief at his court together with score of others. This happened in 2014. With these examples, tell us many premeditated murder, rape, torture, looting, etc. unleash to communities in Warrap State, President Kiir home State, happened to the poor Dinka community, but President Kiir looks other way just like he does to other communities he represents in State House. I can understand when other ethnic communities complain of the same in their localities. Although it is difficult to understand why others bend their frustration against the innocents Dinka nationals, it is perceivably frustrating though I can’t justify their actions.
The crux of the matter is not only that the President Kiir looks the other way as crime is being committed against citizens, but also helped sabotaging quest for accountability through intimidation, promotion of the culprits, and dismissal of any voice that opposes.
My observations taught me that members of Dinka Community who opposed regime’s earth-scorching policy don’t only loss government employment or denied opportunities, but get their livelihood attacked and destroyed to beat them into submission or even get killed. For examples, the case of The Citizen Newspaper, The Nation Mirror Newspaper, and The Destiny Newspaper, Al Ahoton, among others explains how the regime operates against disagreeing voices. Dengdit Ayok, a son of Warrap State, who served as Editor-In-Chief of The Destiny Newspaper was not only exiled but was followed abroad and attacked and left for death. These things are happening everywhere in the country.
The above businesses were found and ran by Dinka nationals, but since the owners did not tow the regime’s line, they have been forced to shut sending most of the owners to exile. The objective is to deny the owners income so as to induce poverty subsequently, into allegiance. Isaiah Abraham, Dinka from Bor, who wrote a number of opinion articles about the lost direction of the leadership, received a number of warnings, just as I am being warned now, before he was attacked and killed in his peaceful house in Gudelle, in Juba. Ustaz Deng Athuai, a Dinka from Warrap State, survived attempts on his life twice leaving him with gunshot wounds. The author had also his own narrow escapes. The list is long!
The scope might have changed with the rise of the political crisis that erupted in 2013 violence leading to ethnic targeting with killing directed against civilians of various ethnic communities in the country. The poor citizens including the Dinka communities barely know the current episodes of violence directed against the communities are a calculated political move to keep the regime in power. Instead of uniting against the kleptocrats in Juba, the poor citizens turn arms against themselves hence ending up implementing the script of J1.
The competitors in violence mainly the IG and the IO are determined to fit communities against each other so as to attain their respective political goals. The regime in Juba in particular is at its worse in using armed criminal syndicate commonly known as “Unknown Gunmen”, also recently referred to by Dr. Majak De’Agoot, as “Gunclass” to unleash terror against members of the public who opposes their policies of divisive rule. Members of this network impersonate different ethnicities before they attack their targets by speaking in dialects or languages of the attacker before they kill. They often make sure they leave a survival to tell a story so as to arise anger in victims of a community to seek revenge, hence justify their stay in power.
The cliques would turn around and remind the victims of being hated because of their numbers or ethnicity by the attackers, when in fact are the one attacking. This is their tool for fueling ethnic hatred for their interests for political survival. The citizens can stop them, instead of reacting according to their violence script. Whether the soldiers get approving nodes from the leadership for raping and killing innocent citizens or not, the citizens have moral obligation to unite against the kleptocratic regime in Juba. The regime’s contender whose headquarters is based in Pagak, Dr. Riek Machar, is not worth following either. They are the same!
The gunclass network is cunny and disguise at ease without unsuspecting victim getting a hint. Those that the regime dispatched to fetch for me in July were non-Dinka from one ethnic group. Their mission was designed to fit the two communities against each other. J1 script was intended to bring me harm then expose unsuspecting framed individuals and using their action to mobilize ethnic community for the support.
President Kiir is on record pronouncing this myth and repeated it on Kenyan Television Network (KTN) with Jeff Koinage Live. He said if he quits the office like today there would be genocide. Some of my fellow citizens believe him. I don’t blame them for accepting it on a face value though. They never known that they are manipulated into fear and fitted against one another for political survival of the kleptocrats for South Sudanviolence political contest (VPC).
An article attributed to uncle Aldo Deng Akuey and the company (JCE) warns against possible retaliation by the Dinka against killing being directed to Dinka nationals along the highways of South Sudan by certain groups in Equatoria. It is worrying because the warning does not see how the regime is killing the Dinka they say they represent. Reacting to the symptoms whose roots are in State House cannot help. Unity of the nation and not revenge attack can help. South Sudanese are dying everywhere. They are dying in Wau (Kiir has the report but refused to make it public), Warrap, Equatoria and Upper Niles.
I am aware the Dinka nationals are being targeted in Equatoria, Bhar el Ghazal, and Upper Nile, making it a double tragedy for the Dinka community. The regime is killing the Dinka and frustrating individuals, though, they don’t represent the entire ethnicity they belong, are also killing Dinka nationals. However, it makes no sense talking of Dinka being targeted on Juba-Nimule Road, and Yei-Juba Road, leaving others killed on the said roads unmentioned. The article in its content amounts to inciting for violence against others; therefore, I would like to urge Uncle Aldo Ajou to withdraw the statement attributed to him before his sentiment picks momentum. If Radio Tamazuj put those words in his mouth, then he should come clean and demand the medium to remedy.
Nonetheless, I believe the solution is not to response in the same manner and kill in retaliation, but create understanding that all of us are the victims of the gunclass (Dr. D’Agoot). I strongly believe the solution to South Sudan political crisis is not a threat for revenge, but appealing to the national sentiment to rid the country of competitors of violence for power and wealth.
The author is a former MP, Resigned Deputy Commissioner of Information Commission and the Editor in chief, The Nation Mirror.