To: H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of the South Sudan.
August 29, 2011 (SSNA) — The recent massacre in Pulchuol and Pieri Payams in Uror County of Jonglei state has raised serious questions, not the least among which is how much can one community take? Since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), the Lou Nuer Community had suffered more than any other community in South Sudan. It is ironic that this community lost more lives during peace time than any other time during the war.The Lou Nuer community in Diaspora would like to get some answers from you Mr. President. Since Januar 1, 2005 up to July 9, 2011, The Lou Nuer community has yet to understand or experience the true meaning of the term “independence” or “peace.” We thought that being independent means being able to run your own affairs including providing and maintaining security for the citizens. This has not happened. Mr. President, our community is left with no choice but to conclude that your government does not value human lives. If it does, then it certainly does not value the lives of the members of our community. We draw this conclusion because since 2006, your government never shown any genuine interest in stopping the death within our community or direct the state to provide adequate security to all of its citizens. Although we would like to believe that you replaced Thon Leek with Kuol Manyang to improve security, it is now clear that Thon Leek is better than Kuol Manyang because more people die in Jonglei under Kuol Manyang than under Thon Leek. Nonetheless, your government never question Kuol Manyang’s ability to lead the state. In his media briefing, Mr. Kuol Manyang told the media that only 38 people were killed in Uror County attack, an over simplification of the situation that angered the Lou Nuer community worldwide. Statements like these are known to be made by enemy not a leader who is suppose to sympathize with the bereaved community. How could the death of 2000 innocent civilians, mostly women and children be reduced to mere 38 people by our governor?
It is very disappointing to witness the State Governor confusing the media with the intention to hide the massacre of thousands.Mr. President, the Lou Nuer Community in Diaspora would like to ask your esteemed office to remove Kuol Manyang immediately. If the governor must always come from the minority Dinka Bor, then we would rather see Thon Leek brought back to the state since he was doing better than Kuol Manyang who is by all accounts, complicit in the continuous killing of the Lou Nuer community. We further want to corroborate the report by the Lou Nuer Youth Association in Juba (LNYA) because they are communicating directly with immediate families in the affected area, and have confirmed the total of 1,857 dead bodies at the time of their report, though that number later reached 2000 and counting. The wounded, the displaced, and the hungry keep dying as we speak because they are not afforded with the necessary shelter, medical treatment, and food.
What really disturbs the conscience of any thinking being is why did Kuol Manyang swear under oath that he will improve security in the state only to make it worse? It is clear now what he meant was the security of certain group in the state. It is documented that Kuol Manyang never underestimate the death in greater Bor. In fact, he and the former Interior Minister, Gier Chuang repeatedly called for SPLA intervention whenever the incident involves Dinka Bor. Where is the fairness in our leadership? To prove our point, interested readers can refer to the following incidents:
A: On December 3rd, 2007, a group of Murle tribe men clashed with Dinka Bor over cattle dispute which resulted in 27 deaths on both sides, 20 from Dinka, and 48 wounded. In a revenge attack, Dinka Bor killed 7 armless Murle patients in the Bor hospital wards right at the center of Bor Town. In anticipation of Murle revenge, the state governor ordered the deployment of SPLA forces along with JIU in order to control the tension in the area. Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudanese-troops-deployed-in,25027.
B: On September 20, 2009, a group of angry civilians from Lou Nuer attacked Duk County in order to avenge the killing 7 Lou Nuer wildlife officers who were murdered between Bor and Duk, which also resulted in the robbing of $93,000 Uror county budget. The attack ended in the death of 31 people from Dinka, and three from Lou. During that incident, Kuol Manyang and Gier Chuang claimed that Duk was attacked by armed militia from Lou, and once again ordered the SPLA forces to intervene.Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/Lou-Nuer-accuses-South-Sudan-army,32577. The Lou Nuer Youth Association in Juba, Lou Nuer council, and the Lou Nuer Community in Diaspora all denied that claim.
Looking at the above incidents, one does not need to be smart to detect favoritism on the part of the state leadership as well as the national minister in the person of Gier Chuang. We can further prove our point by providing other incidents that involved non Dinka starting with the Uror massacre:
A:On August 18, 2011, 4,000 SPLA troops majority of which are former David Yau Yau forces, attacked the Lou Nuer civil population in Uror County, resulting in the death of 2000 confirmed bodies, 985 wounded, and 208 abducted children. The attackers set 7987 homes ablaze and 25,000 individuals displaced. The only reaction from our governor was the declaration that only 38 bodies were confirmed dead in the area he called “Bier.” Eyewitness confirmed that the attackers are from SPLA as all of them dressed in SPLA uniform, possessed military communication gadgets, and they were carrying military rockets propelled grenades (RPG), as well as other heavy weapons. Two ranked SPLA officers are confirmed dead in the attack. Despite all the evidences, the SPLA area commander and the State authority denied the SPLA involvement while failing to intervene during the daylight massacre.
B: On January 13, 2011, 209 people were brutally murdered in Fangak County in attack known to have been carried out by rebel renegade George Athor Deng.While General Tanginye asked the SPLA to respond in order to protect the civilians, he was warned to face an SPLAattack if he reached the area without order from the South Sudan Army Chief of staff, James Hoth Mai. The killing of innocent civilians of Fangak by a known enemy of the SPLA went on unabated: Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/South-Sudan-minister-describes,37962.
C: On March 15, 2009, a group of Lou Nuer armed men went to Murle area to return 20,000 of their stolen herds of cattle. While in the pursuit of their cattle, they encountered heavy resistance that resulted in a heavy battle. Source: “http://www.sudantribune.com/453-said-to-be-killed-in-Murle-Lou,30519” The state Governor did not ordered any army intervention and the SPLA Army units in Pibor County and Lil Kwangole were advice not to take part in the incident.
D: on April 18, 2009, a group of armed Murle attacked Nyandit Payam in Akobo County resulting in the death of 281 people, mostly women and children and burned down 7 villages.Source: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/04/2009421152228647886.html. Agaon, no Army intervention was requested. The situation was controlled by the locals.
E: On August 4, 2009, a similar attack was carried out by Murle armed group against Lou in Akobo County, Geeni, and Mareng fishing camps, in which 185 people, mostly women and children were confirmed dead. This incident was witnessed by various media and the UN. Sources: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/08/200983132130297575.html. President Kiir blames the NCP for continuing arming the locals to kills themselves.
F: In March 2006, the SPLA army forces led by the area commander Peter Bol Kong were ordered to disarm the Lou Nuer and killed 316 people in Yuai as a result. It is to be noted that Lou Nuer community was the first and the only community the SPLA disarmed by force. Source: “http://www.lounuer.org/Disarmament.html” The cause of such disarmament was the result of complains from Dinka Bor who reported that they feared Lou carrying weapons in Tuoc, and suspected that Lou will cause insecurity in the area. Lou were disarmed and their neighbors were not, but the SPLA still provided no security to this day.
Mr. President, in your own analysis, can ever blame us for losing patience in your government and the way you and the state of Jonglei handle the security of community so far? While we are mourning the loss in community, which we know will not be last, we would like to request the following:
– Immediate provision of medical, food and shelter aide to the injured and displaced persons in central Lou Nuer before September 1st, 2011.
-The returning of 208 abducted children and 38,000 stolen heads of cattle as soon as poosible. We’ve recently freed ourselves from slavery from the North, and we cannot afford to encounter one in our own nation.Those who committed such horrible crime should be brought to Justice immediately. Such group must have leaders who fit to face the justice.
– An immediate deployment of 2,000 well trained police forces to each county in Jonglei State. These forces will be instructed of their duties making sure they understand that their duty is to protect the people in the county. The government should release funds immediately for these forces.
– Governor Kuol Manyang should resign immediately because he failed the state.
– An immediate release of the two State Helicopters that are being hold by a certain ministers.
– An immediate questioning of Gier Chuang Aluong, who was in charge of the country’s security to clearly explain the security negligence.
– An immediate removal/transfer of Maj. Gen. Peter Bol Kong from his current division of assignment as demanded by the LNYA.
-The office of the President should seriously investigation David Yau Yau so he can explain the whereabouts of his army units. Findings of such investigation should be disclosed to the Lou Nuer Community in Diaspora.
– Building of State Prisons that will house the large number of Criminals in the entire Jonglei State
– An immediate removal of Uror County Commissioner Mr. Tut Puok Nyang.It is the waste of public funds to keep someone in a position that he has no knowledge about. Tut deserved to go because he is not performing the said duties of the commissioner. Mr. Puok was not even in the county during the attack, and he was the last to visit the area.The area commissioner was supposed to seriously condemn what happen in his county, but Tut did not even come out with legitimate report.
Mr. President, we would like to remind you that the 2000 innocents who died last Thursday in Uror County were part of the country’s January votes for South’s Secession.
Lou Community in the Diaspora would like to remind the Murle community that peaceful coexistence is the only solution for our people. Our communities must sit down to find the solution of the issues that destroying our peoples’ lives. We need to educate our people that a person cannot live for cattle alone and the fighting over cattle must stop immediately. Lou and Murle elders, leaders and intellectuals need to carefully evaluate the plan behind all these mass killings in our communities.
Finally, the Lou Nuer community suggested that, the Government of South Sudan look beyond people such as Kuol Manyang and his likes when selecting the leaders of the States Government. The government needs to hire only those who understand the value of human being, and seriously condemn lose of any human life rather than hide it.
CC- International Human Rights Advocacy
CC- Ban Ka Moon, the Secretary of the UNHCR