Archive for: March 2017

Causes of South Sudan’s famine and potential genocide: A New Report

New Report Identifies Causes of South Sudan’s Famine and Potential Genocide

March 21, 2017;

In a new report published today, John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, offers an historical review of corruption and profiteering in South Sudan, detailing how a legacy of violent kleptocratic leadership has led the world’s newest nation into a crisis of famine, war, and potential genocide.

The Enough Project report, “How The World’s Newest Country Went Awry: South Sudan’s war, famine and potential genocide” details the history of South Sudan, describing a “den of thieves,” in which battles by profiteers over power and the corrupt spoils of power, including an “oil-fueled gravy train,” have fueled endless cycles of conflict.

The current situation in Sudan is described as a violent, greed-fueled kleptocracy, in which institutions of accountability have been deliberately undermined, and calls for hard-target “follow the money” investigations into the looting of the nation. The report further provides a series of critical recommendations to address the root causes of famine, destabilization and war, and to dismantle the violent kleptocratic system that is driving the suffering of the South Sudanese people.

Selected report highlights:

“War has been hell for South Sudan’s people, but it has been very lucrative for the country’s leaders and commercial collaborators, South Sudan’s war profiteers.”

“In South Sudan today, war crimes pay. There is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources, or for the famine that results.”

“Corruption isn’t an anomaly within the system; it is the system itself, the very purpose of the state.”

“Ethnicity has been used as the main mobilizer for organized violence.”

“The history of conflict and mass atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan is driven in large part by unchecked greed, manifesting itself primarily in the accumulation of wealth and power by the country’s leaders.”

“The competing kleptocratic factions are fighting over a lucrative prize: control of the state, which in turn brings control over oil and other natural resource revenues, patronage networks, some foreign aid, massive corruption opportunities, immunity from prosecution and accountability, control over the army and other security organs, the ability to control or manipulate banks and foreign exchange, the opportunity to manipulate government contracts, and the chance to dominate the commercial sector.”

“South Sudan is not wildly different here. The leading accelerator of most African conflict is greed-fueled kleptocracy in which state institutions have been hijacked for personal enrichment by a small group of leaders and their commercial collaborators internally and internationally, often using extreme violence. The networks are usually composed of leading government officials, generals, businessmen, foreign investors, banks, oil and mining company representatives, money transfer entities, and others connected to the international financial system. They disempower and destroy the viability of those state institutions because they want to avoid both accountability and transparency, and they brutally suppress all forms of dissent and independent expression or political activity.”

“In South Sudan (and Sudan), ethnic-based militias are recruited and armed to attack the communities perceived to be opponents. This practice goes back to the British colonial era, when identities were politicized, just as the Belgians did in colonial Rwanda, establishing ‘tribal authorities.'”
Key report recommendations:

“The missing ingredient in the international response is the creation of sufficient leverage or influence to shift the calculations of these violent kleptocrats from war to peace, from atrocities to human rights, from mass corruption to good governance. The surest way for the international community to build influence is to hit these “thieves of state” in their wallets.”

“What is needed is a hard-target search for the dirty money, the ill-gotten gains from the last decade of looting. Choking the illicit financial flows of the kleptocrats is the key point of leverage available to the international community, given the vulnerability of stolen assets that are offshored in neighboring countries or around the world in the form of houses, cars, buildings, businesses, and bank accounts.”

“Conflict can be transformed when hijacked governing institutions—first and foremost the military, which is simply a mishmash of ethnic militias—are reformed. Establishing measures of accountability is key. There must be financial accountability for the stolen assets; legal accountability for crimes against humanity; and political accountability which could exclude those responsible for the worst abuses from a future government.”

“The most promising policy approach would combine creative anti-money laundering measures with targeted sanctions aimed at kleptocratic networks, the combination of which would be robustly enforced with the objective of not just freezing a few assets, but rather freezing those willing to commit mass atrocities out of the international financial system altogether… This is revolutionary, because it would suddenly give international policymakers and diplomats a major point of leverage to impact the calculations of those willing to commit mass atrocities to maintain or gain power.”

“Given the dominant position of the United States in the international financial system, and the extreme vulnerability to which the assets of South Sudan’s kleptocrats are exposed within that system, the United States is uniquely positioned to help alter the incentives for South Sudan’s leaders away from grand corruption and war, and to give peace a chance in that embattled and long-suffering land.”

“Ultimately, South Sudanese people will drive reform and determine their future. From the outside, the United States, Europe, the United Nations, the African Union, and other concerned actors around the world can provide support and solidarity to the efforts of South Sudanese people who are on the front lines of efforts to build peace, good governance, and accountability.”
Link to full report: http://eno.ug/2mZwPjE

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

SPLA-IO will only negotiate with Pakistan Govt. for release of Pakistani captured oil worker

PR: On Sunday March 19, 2017, and despite ranting, the gallant SPLA-IO forces of Division Five (5) under command of CDR Major General Khor Chuol Giet came under heavy and excessive attack by the Mathiang Anyor government forces in and around Adar Yiel.

During the intense fighting that lasted for some two (2) hours, the gallant SPLA-IO forces managed to fight back and repulse the Juba regime aggression, killing fifteen (15) of them on spot against two (2) SPLA-IO fatalities.

While running for their dear lives and retreating in total disarray into the bushes of Adar, the defeated and visibly exhausted Mathiang Anyor government forces abandoned one (1) Pakistani oil worker namely Ayaz Hussein Jamali whom we captured alive and have since relocated to our Pagak HQRS.

In the afternoon of the same Sunday March 19, 2017, our gallant SPLA-IO of Sector Two (2) under the command by CDR Lt. General Maguek Gai Majak intercepted another movement and aggression of Mathiang Anyor government forces towards our bases in and around Lapapam and Lalob.

In the ambush our gallant SPLA-IO forces carried out on this movement and aggression, some eight Mathiang Anyor government forces were killed and one (1) ZY loaded with ration was captured in good condition.

No doubt, the continuous provocation and aggression by the brutal and ruthless Juba regime against the SPLA-IO positions and bases once again sends a clear message to the people of South Sudan, the region, the United Nations and indeed the international community that the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) regime in Juba means war by the true meaning of the word.

The SPLA-IO would like to one more time remind all national and international oil workers to immediately leave and evacuate from all the oil fields in South Sudan, since the brutal and ruthless JCE regime in Juba is using billions of US dollars generated from the oil production and sale for purchasing more lethal arms; prolonging this war; intimidating and killing non-Dinka South Sudanese; burning, destroying and erasing non-Dinka homes and villages; displacing, depopulating and worse still exterminating non-Dinka communities; starving South Sudan to death; and consolidating and maintaining itself in power.

As for the above-mentioned Pakistani oil worker captured during the fighting with the Juba regime aggression this past Sunday, the SPLA-IO will only negotiate his release with his national government.
Press release
By Col. William Gatjiath Deng

Spokesperson for SPLA-IO

A Warning to Gen. Cirillo from the Nuer S.C: Mistakes Any Armed Opposition MUST not Do

BY: J. Nguen, Chairman, Nuer Supreme Council, Lawyer, MAR/20/2017, SSN;

South Sudan has been at war by itself since 15 of December 2013. This internal strife sent the new country to a new low and finally to a failed state status by all accounts. This failed state status is undeniably tragic development.

So much so, it’s a heart-rending confirmation that our peoples’ expectations and hopes during independence have been shattered. Sadly, at the moment, the same people who were so jubilant 5 years ago are now running for their dear lives.

Some are disturbingly starving to death in the north part of the country, particularly in Leer and Mayiendit Counties, Unity State, because the same failed state’s authorities denied them humanitarian aides.

It’s even more troubling to report that peoples’ hopes for prosperity and prosperous South Sudan were crushed through an ill-conceived tribal hegemony of one tribe led by Salva Kiir and his tribal group –the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

As such, the implications of this tribal project are enormous. For example, these implications destroyed our nation’s social fabric, which in turn rendered the new country worthless and then brought profound disgrace to the nation’s pioneers and martyrs.

During the Sudan’s second civil war, South Sudanese including Salva Kiir detested and blamed northern Sudanese’ for their marginalization policies toward the rest of us in the Sudan. But, ironically, in a reverse satanic devised policy, Salva Kiir followed similar dogma of marginalization and neglect against other nationalities in South Sudan for Dinka Community rule.

In this regard, unknowingly, Salva Kiir set up the Dinka community against the rest of South Sudanese which will take years to reverse. Salva Kiir’s discriminatory policies allowed him to deny humanitarian aides reaching those in need simply because they are not from the Dinka Community.

Salva Kiir has effectively used this card of starving innocent civilians from other tribes in South Sudan as a weapon of war, while on the other hand undeniably advocating for humanitarian aides to Dinka.

By all measures, this is dreadfully appalling and it must be condemn morally and on the grounds that all South Sudanese are one and that South Sudan shall ever be one nation, where everyone ought to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of their tribes.

In an attempt to achieve stability in South Sudan, the agreement aimed to address its internal strife was signed on August 2015. Internationally, it was an agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic South Sudan brokered by the IGAD and the international community.

Unfortunately, this agreement formally collapsed on July 8th, 2016, ten (10) months after signature for reasons beyond the scope of this commentary.

After that brief cessation of hostilities in most part of the country, when the agreement was signed, all armed oppositions’ leaderships converged in Juba to implement the peace. However on July 8th, 2016, South Sudanese’ common men were once again forced to take up arms against Kiir’s regime in order to reduce another ethnic -driven killing of innocent civilians, raping of women and girls, looting of properties, arbitrary arrest and burning down of villages, mostly in non-Dinka areas in South Sudan.

While Salva Kiir was progressively pursuing ethnic cleansing, another policy took a centre stage. For example, military officers of non-Dinka nationalities, who sided with Salva Kiir’s regime all along fighting for Salva’s tribal agenda were now rendered irrelevant and sometime openly harass and told that their services no longer needed after Kiir consolidated and emboldened his grip on power.

Recently, this new policy forced some military officers to divorce the regime. For example, LT. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka defected and called for the removal of Salva Kiir by force while citing abuses and Dinkanization of South Sudan. On March 7th, 2017, Mr. Cirillo formed a new movement called “National Salvation Front/Army (NAS).

The NAS’s aim is to depose Salva Kiir from power militarily. Many applauded Mr. Cirillo’s defection citing that it was a right step in removing the dictator. For some, it was a good decision because it further explained and justified the Dinkanization of South Sudan led by Salva Kiir and the JCE.

Above all else, I should say, Mr. Cirillo’s defection declaration statement was a serious indictment of Kiir’s regime. The document speaks to the truth why other oppositions took arms against Kiir in the first place.

Despite these positive underpins, there are worrying signs of mistakes on Gen. Cirillo’s move. Therefore, if these worrying mistakes are not dealt with carefully and with care, they may undermine the whole badly needed possible alliance of convenience among the armed oppositions in the Republic of South Sudan.

These mistakes which I will note shortly were more or less due to lack of political foresight and experiences on Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka’s part. Precisely, Gen. Cirillo is full of himself and clearly not thinking.

Therefore, the best thing he should do now, if I may suggest, is to take a leap backward and rethink strategically of what he really wanted to do to achieving the NAS’s goal. Frankly speaking, recent Gen. Cirillo’s statements and that of his supporters are not in any way helping the NAS.

Since Gen. Thomas Cirillo declared his movement, the NAS, the move was welcomed by many including the SPLM/A (IO) as I mentioned earlier. For example, the Governors of Greater Equatoria in the SPLM/A (IO) wrote a well thought-out letter of appreciation to Gen. Cirillo.

In the letter the Governors called for an alliance of convenience among the armed opposition and with Gen. Cirillo. By all standards, that letter was welcomed news and a great way to start moving forward.

However, some shortsighted opportunists and more so Mr. Cirillo himself see this as a weakness on the SPLM/A-IO part. Evidently and wrongly so, Gen. Cirillo and others see the NAS as an opportunity to springboard the Equatorians’ “cause.”

Frankly, this is a wrong thinking and it must be discouraged strongly. As matter of fact, there is no Equatorians’ “cause” without the cause of the people of South Sudan, Equatorians included.

For example, those who jumped ship or switched sides from the other oppositions and joined the NAS, notably from the SPLM/A (IO) attacked the SPLM/A –IO and accused its leadership falsely.

These attacks on other armed oppositions, particularly the SPLM/A–IO were somehow endorsed by Gen. Cirillo himself as he detailed some of these claims on his letter to Hon. Moussa Faki, the newly elected chairman of Africa Union asking for recognition.

In my view, these kinds of thinking and action are genuinely a cause of concern. As a result, Gen. Cirillo and supporters must be called out.

They must be warned and reminded that there is no Equatorians’ “cause” without the rest of us in South Sudan. Also, it must be made crystal clear that all armed oppositions are in this together, and must work as a team if Gen. Cirillo’s intention is indeed to remove Salva Kiir from power.

Hence, as far as this commentary is concerned, the above narrative was a “cause” of this piece. It was basically intended to warn all armed oppositions in South Sudan that the prevailing undertaking is a mistake and a “NO GO ZONE” or cannot be repeated whatsoever.

More importantly, I must point out that recent Gen. Cirillo’s and supporters’ rhetoric serves no moral and military interest to any armed opposition but the common enemy.

It must be made categorically clear that all armed oppositions are victims of misrule. All took up arms to oppose the Dinkanization of South Sudan spearheaded by Salva Kiir and the JCE, nothing else.

Similarly so, I like to remind Gen. Cirillo about previous mistakes along the same vein and I would like to draw his full attention particularly to the G10 and Dr. Lam Akol’s faction.

First, the G10. This group is headed by Gen. Pagan Amum and has committed the same mistake that Gen. Cirillo is about to commit or has committed. To recap this point further, when some G10 members were detained, the other armed oppositions particularly the SPLM/A (IO) advocated for their release.

However, when the G10 were released, Mr. Pagan Amum and his group took the high road and betrayed the other armed oppositions by declaring neutrality in the war.

It was even reported that Mr. Pagan Amum went as far as saying that the killing of 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians shouldn’t be the “cause” for war in South Sudan. This was a serious mistake on their part.

Since 2014, the G10’s position didn’t only fail but prolonged the war and in reverse has emboldened Salva Kiir’s grip on power. In this light, I would think, Gen. Cirillo and supporters would take note and are smart enough to do the math.

Similarly, Dr. Lam Akol’s action was another mistake. Around November 2016, Dr. Akol’s forces attacked SPLM/A (IO)’s positions in Upper Nile State. The consequences of this miscalculated maneuver were not good simply because it resulted in unnecessary lost of lives of two brave Generals from Dr. Akol’s faction.

Such deaths were uncalled for and would have been avoided if Dr. Lam was indeed thinking at the time. More importantly, these unnecessary lost of lives were not only detrimental to Dr. Akol’s faction but more so to all armed oppositions.

As such, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka and supporters must be warned that they MUST not repeat the same mistake.

Logically, I surely believe that as much as other armed oppositions needed this supposed holy coalition of convenience with Gen. Cirillo, Mr. Cirillo himself needed this alliance the most to prove that he is indeed genuine and not just a poor soul sent to distract brave Equatorians who are fully committed in toppling Salva Kiir’s regime by all means necessary.

However, given Gen. Cirillo’s moves in the past few weeks, the question of trust has emerged and is in everyone’s mind. At this point, I should point out that no one is certainly sure of Gen. Cirillo’s serious allegiance.

To bring this issue of trust closer to home, Gen. Cirillo has served in Salva Kiir’s regime in many capacities and for many years. Most of all, he has helped Salva Kiir’s regime in the Dinkanization of South Sudan more than any other person in the country.

For example, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka was a point man for Salva Kiir’s arms sale and logistics for many years. Hence, all the sophisticated weaponries used by Salva Kiir’s regime today against civilians in South Sudan were approved and purchased by Gen. Cirillo himself.

Adding more doubts, Gen. Cirillo has declared his defection and formation of the new armed group in the hotel room in Ethiopia. Imagine, a person of his caliber and coupled with his position in the army has defected without a single bodyguard and has not taken to the bush, why? I leave this lingering question for military experts to ponder.

On the question of trust again, I am afraid a seed of mistrust between Gen. Cirillo and other armed oppositions is already planted.

In my personal opinion, it’s simply unbecoming for any armed opposition to attack another armed oppositions falsely and especially when their ultimate overall goal is to topple the regime of which they oppose, militarily.

To support this point, in the past weeks, Gen. Cirillo and supporters attacked or made grandiose claims about the SPLM/A (IO)’s establishment falsely and this is a cause of concern for me.

Further, against all odds, Gen. Cirillo has requested recognition from the Africa Union’ chairperson. Therefore, it’s high time for someone to tell Gen. Cirillo that no revolutionary has ever requested recognition either directly or remotely from anyone.

It’s rather wrong for Gen. Cirillo or anyone of his caliber to beg for recognition from anyone.

Gen. Cirillo must be told that his approach or strategy in this regard is flatly wrong and raised a lot of questions among many moving forward. At least for many like me, it displayed lack of self-worth and inexperience.

Moving forward, I like Gen. Cirillo to consider the following recommendations:
I. Never again ask anyone to recognize your stand, prove it to them, if indeed your intentions were genuine and for armed opposition.
II. Never attack other armed oppositions on baseless grounds, for they are your best companions in arms. If anything, cherish their successes in defeating the enemy.
III. If your intentions are genuine and for armed opposition, be vigilant and never fall prey or allow yourself to be manipulated by some hovering crooks or never solely believe in any promises. Know that promises are just promises until proven.
IV. Take a leap backwards and immediately change your tone towards other armed oppositions and formally apologize to the SPLM/A (IO) establishment for the inconvenience.
V. Call for armed oppositions’ alliances’ conference to dispel any misinformation about your loyalties.
VI. Never claim military support falsely from any other armed opposition, for the reverse rule is you would be their first target to prove that you are not one of them.

J. Nguen is the chairman of Nuer Supreme Council (NSC), South Sudanese advocate, political commentator and analyst. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com

The mess in South Sudan isn’t entirely Museveni’s fault: A caution to Gen. Thomas Cirillo

By: Samuel Atabi, MAR/03/2017, SSN;

The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, is not politically a popular man among many in the ethnically divided South Sudan. The source of this political unpopularity can be divided into two main parts: among the non-Dinka group, Mr Museveni is accused of advising President Kiir to adopt dictatorial tendencies in order to advance a tribal hegemony over other non-Dinka tribes; and within the Dinka elite can be found those who hold Mr Museveni responsible for the death of Dr John Garang, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Garang died in a helicopter crash in 2005 after visiting with Museveni. This group of accusers asserts that Mr Museveni did not share the vision of a “New Sudan” that was espoused by Garang and, therefore, as a motive, he might have colluded with others who had similar view, to eliminate Garang.

In any case, Museveni was the “last man to see Garang alive,” as a criminal prosecutor might say. Together, the two groups are passionate in their belief although there is no incontrovertible evidence to support their positions.

The lingering doubt on the veracity of these accusations tends to support a view expressed by many non-South Sudanese, including two expat friends of mine, that “South Sudanese have the habit of blaming others for their own problems.”

Mr Museveni himself appears to defend himself when he was recently quoted in the media as saying that the main problem in South Sudan is lack of clear-headed leaders, and leaders who are bereft of ideology but who “push the pseudo-ideology of sectarianism of tribes that is detrimental to the people’s well-being.”

If there is no tangible evidence to support the charges against the Ugandan president, can one then hold a contrary view that he has always acted in the best interest of South Sudanese as a people?

In my opinion, the answer is yes, to a large extent. I will explain why.

In the mid-1980’s, the SPLA was some few years old but it was already embroiled in a quarrel arising from accusation that it was giving support to Ugandan rebels; these rebels were resisting the newly installed government of Museveni’s National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M).

Unsurprisingly, the NRA government was in turn accused of harboring some SPLA dissidents who had disagreed with Garang’s objective of fighting for “New Sudan;” the dissidents were separatists who favored secession from Sudan.

Among the dissident SPLA officers was a prominent Equatorian who became a close political friend of Museveni’s.

With time, the NRA government made it up with its rebels whose members were then absorbed in various posts in Uganda; but a group of rebels called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) held out and still exists to this day albeit at a much reduced fighting capacity.

Later, Sudan became the main supporter of the LRA; this in turn spurred Uganda to support Garang’s SPLA. The two leaders then became friends.

The friendship between Garang and Museveni appears not to have been completely consummated though, because there was, at the time, some evidence that Museveni did not share the vision of a united New Sudan as championed by Garang.

In one episode that confirms this claim, and which the author has an intimate knowledge, key Uganda government officials, apparently with a tacit permission from the top, supplied the senior Equatorian officer referred to earlier, with funds and military materiel apparently without the knowledge of Garang.

The purpose for this generosity was for the Equatorian to form a guerilla faction to fight for independence of South Sudan, outside the Garang-led SPLA.

Were this faction to prosper and grow into an effective insurgency, the celebrated support that Museveni was extending to the SPLA would have waned and stopped altogether. But this was not be because this new faction failed to take off as will be explained shortly.

There is another reason why SPLA continued to get support from Uganda. It is now publicly known that Uganda’s assistance to the SPLA was also motivated by the country’s leader’s deep emotional and ideological desire to free South Sudanese from the oppression of the Arab-and Islamic-dominated north Sudan.

Although South Sudan did gain its independence in 2011, Museveni must still remains disappointed by what is going on in our country and also with his erstwhile Equatorian ally.

As pointed out earlier, the logistical and financial support given to this ally was to enable him embark on the recruitment of South Sudanese from all ethnic groups to fight in the proposed faction.

Disappointingly, the man decided to recruit only from his own tribe in Equatoria!

Furthermore, there were no officers to lead these recruits. More distastefully, the funds and vehicles were diverted to promote business activities of the relatives of this officer.

Eventually, word of this monumental incompetence and corruption reached those who provided the assistance and, were it not for the intervention of a close relative of the Ugandan leader, this officer would have faced a military justice, which may have included facing a firing squad.

This is how the well-intentioned project of creating a faction to fight for independence came a cropper.

This debacle should act as a cautionary tale to my brother, Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the leader of the newly-created National Salvation Front (NAS). Like the failed officer, he is an Equatorian.

Furthermore, there is now a heightened expectation not only among the Equatorians but also among other South Sudanese that NAS might be the answer for the removal the terrible regime now in Juba. He must not fail and disappoint them.

General Swaka should resist the temptation to go tribal and to succumb to an abhorrent Jieng Council of Elders’ type of machination and maleficence that have destroyed the country.

He should remain firm against tribal-minded “expert” advisers and a Bari Council of Elders, if one (ever) exists.

To my fellow compatriots, South Sudanese, presidents and leaders do not have to follow advice given to them; they must first know what they want to achieve.

On this score, I will hesitate to blame Mr Museveni for the calamity now befalling us.

Samuel Atabi is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at: samuelatabi@gmail.com

Truth telling and reconciliation go together, why’d South Sudan be exceptional?

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, MAR/19/2017, SSN;

In John 8:32, Jesus told His disciples, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Consequently as it has been observed by some people “the truth will set you free” has become a common saying in academic circles as a way of promoting academic freedom and the power of learning. As a result, many universities have this statement emblazoned on a sign near the entrance of a building.

When Jesus said the above well-known statement, he had just finished a speech at the temple where He delineated differences between Himself and His listeners. He told His listeners that “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23–24). The result of Jesus’ message was that “even as he spoke, many believed in him” (verse 30).

Thus, my argument in this article is that unless we tell the truth in South Sudan peace will never be achieved and it is only when we tell the truth that is when the truth will set us free by terming with the truth and achieve lasting peace.

Hence, this article is about the National Dialogue of South Sudan. It is intended to draw the attention of the leaders of South Sudan to the fact that that if they have opted for National Dialogue as a way of bringing peace through National Reconciliation, then the truth telling in its real meaning must go hand in hand with it.

Without the truth telling, the National Dialogue will never achieve peace as it will be devoid of truth and as a result, it will be waste of time as the National dialogue and reconciliation cannot be achieved without the truth telling.

This is because National Dialogue and Truth Telling go together as seen in different countries where the National Dialogue was adopted as a method of bringing peace and South Sudan should not be an exception to that effect.

South Africa, for instance, Truth telling and Reconciliation were adopted together in the process of achieving peace after the devastating apartheid rule. In order to do that South Africa formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which was an independent body. Because of being independent body it was able to deal comprehensively with serious crimes that were committed during apartheid rules as it is the case in South Sudan today.

In South Sudan, there were serious violations of human rights like what happened in South Africa. In its final report, the African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry on the situation in South Sudan concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed since the conflict erupted in December 2013 and recommends the establishment of accountability mechanisms.

In order to achieve peace in South Africa, Truth telling in the National Reconciliation process was adopted and consequently, it helped in achieving National Reconciliation. The reason the truth telling is required in the process of reconciliation is that truth telling is part of justice.

This is because by telling the truth the victims may be satisfied with the truth, which will eventually result into reconciliation and lasting peace.

In fact, truth telling is one of the methods of achieving restorative justice. In the case of South Africa as already explained above, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was providing truth telling and reconciliation process was described to be e a court-like restorative justice (see; Suffolk University, College of Arts & Sciences, Center for Restorative Justice, http://www.suffolk.edu/college/centers/15970.php What is Restorative Justice?)

The reason truth and reconciliation process achieved peace in South Africa despite some of the apparent limitations that were embedded in its process was that witnesses who were also identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings.

In the same way, perpetrators of violence were also called upon to give testimony and request to be given amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

Hence, the TRC, the first of the 1003 held internationally to stage public hearings, was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws, it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful in South Africa.

In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was organized by the parties to address the inhuman treatments that were meted out of the Aboriginal men and women in which families were separated from their children.

According to the TRC report, the separation was done purposely to minimize the family’s ability to pass along their cultural heritage to their children. The commission spent six years traveling to different parts of Canada to hear the testimony of approximately six thousand Aboriginal people who were taken away from their families and placed in residential schools as children.

After the closing of the Indian residential schools, which, operated from 1870s to 1996 and when the TRC investigated it, it was found to be holding some 150,000 aboriginal children over the decades. In addition, some former students made allegations to the TRC of physical, psychological, sexual abuse and neglect.

The TRC studied records and took testimony for evidence of activities alleged to have occurred at residential schools, as well as the negative effects resulting from the schools’ stated aim to assimilate First Nations children into the majority culture. The matter of student deaths at these institutions and the burial of deceased students in unmarked graves without the notification or consent of the parents was an additional item on the agenda of the TRC.

In March 2008, Indigenous leaders and church officials embarked on a multi-city ‘Remembering the Children’ tour to promote activities of the TRC. On January 21–22, 2008, the King’s University College of Edmonton, Alberta, held an interdisciplinary studies conference on the subject of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

On June 11 of the same year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the role of past governments in administration of the residential schools.

As seen above in the cases of both South Africa and Canada, which the same with other countries were the TRC was adopted which are beyond the scope of this paper due to the limited space for the sake of the readers, it is important to observe that where the country opts to adopt the dialogue as a means of achieving peace then there must be truth telling accompanying the dialogue in achieving the reconciliation.

In the case of South Sudanese National Dialogue, there is no truth telling accompanying the reconciliation process which the authorities are trying to achieve through the National Dialogue. This is because there is a lot of hypocrisy on the side of the Government.

For example, the Government is claiming to be trying to bring true peace through National Dialogue yet it is the same government, which is using its state security apparatuses to oppress South Sudanese by subjecting them to arbitrary detention.

Hence, in the situation where there are a lot of intimidation then the conditions necessary for true dialogue are not there, hence, there is no true National Dialogue.

In addition, the government has seriously curtailed freedom of expression on National Dialogue. For instance, the Dialogue is badly structured but when any person expresses such concerns then he or she is seen as anti-peace.

The question is: who is anti-peace, the one using force to silent the people or those who are suffering and complaining because of the sufferings?

The clear example in this category is the institution called Church. Some of the Church leaders have fallen victims in the hands of state security due to the fact that they have expressed dissenting opinion on the way the National Dialogue is being conducted while some among them are branded as rebels and kept under twenty four (24) hour surveillance of National Security cameras.

In the circumstances as seen above, the national dialogue will never be successful since in the national dialogue there is a need for the truth to be told in order to achieve reconciliation but where the truth is not told there is no reconciliation.

Hence, for reconciliation to be achieved in South Sudan through the current national dialogue, there must be truth telling and authorities must lift sanctions on the freedom of speech and expression.

In addition, in South Sudan, the national dialogue is not inclusive as the question of the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO is not resolved. Currently, there are two parallel SPLM/A-IOs: one in the bush and another in Juba.

Whereas SPLM/A-IO in Juba has clear leadership in person of Taban Deng Gai, the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO in the bush is not determined and as long as it is not determined, the Reconciliation which the Government needs to achieve through National Dialogue will never be successful, whether the Government likes it or not.

How can you talk of reconciliation if the enemy is not the one reconciling with you? Whom are you reconciling with? The government needs to acknowledge the truth that there is a need for comprehensive cease-fire as part of National Dialogue through which reconciliation can be achieved.

Above of all, before we talk of National Dialogue, there is a need for independent TRC to be established as the sole body responsible for the conduct of the National Dialogue and reconciliation as it was done in both South Africa and Canada.

The current joke of which the President who is a party to conflict is the Patron of the Dialogue should stop or be discarded and the law establishing TRC should be passed by South Sudan Parliament in Juba.

Finally, there is a problem with both the Government and the SPLM/A-IO. These two parties have committed terrible crimes or crimes against humanity and war crimes but they are not ready to acknowledge this truth and without acknowledging the responsibility of these crimes, the reconciliation will never be achieved.

The only way of achieving lasting peace in South Sudan is to account for the crimes committed against all South Sudanese starting from 1990s to date.

In summary, the question of the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO must be resolved to unite the rebels; there is a need for TRC to be established in order to take charge of the process; there is also a need for inclusive dialogue; further, there is a need for truth telling about the crimes committed in South Sudan.

Without the truth, the reconciliation will never be achieved.

What needs to be acknowledged honestly is the fact that terrible war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in all parts of South Sudan. Because of that the government and the Oppositions or rebels must confess and accept the responsibility for these crimes if lasting peace is to be achieved.

Denying the responsibility or using force to silence those who point out the truth about the war crimes and crimes against humanity in South Sudan will not help at all.

Rebels and the government, whether they like it or not, must in the future account for the blood of South Sudanese.

In general, as we have seen in the discussion above truth telling and reconciliation go together and without the truth reconciliation will never be achieved, this is why the two have been adopted in the peace process in various countries where TRC model has been adopted as a method of bringing peace.

If it is adopted in those countries, why should South Sudan be exceptional?

NB//: the author is South Sudanese Human Rights Lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com/+256783579256

The storm of change gathering to sweep Kiir and JCE from power

BY: ELHAG PAUL, MAR/15/2017, SSN;

The culmination of events signified by the diverse resignations of military officers, collapse of the economy, raging famine, and an intensifying resistance to President Salva Kiir’s regime of terror, will spell the end of President Kiir’s and the JCE’s rule in South Sudan.

This development is forcing the Jieng to close ranks as it is becoming a case of survival resulting from fear of reprisal for the terrible things that this regime has done to the people of South Sudan. Fear is a bad thing. It disables and/or paralyses at crucial moments of expected change.

For those innocent Jieng and those who have not benefited a thing from Kiir’s regime may think that they have no option but to unite under President Kiir’s tribal regime, and fight to the death. Fear, especially the one emanating from guilt, unfortunately pushes humans to think along those lines and the Jieng are not any different.

Right now, the average Jieng is either delusional believing themselves to be invincible or death stricken by fear of what is awaiting them when the SPLM/A and its leader are swept aside. However, it should not be like that.

Choosing a suicidal option simply because few people (President Kiir, the JCE and General Paul Malong Awan) in your community have committed ethnic cleansing and grave crimes against humanity in your tribe’s name, does not imply you should buy-in into their foolish choice of fighting to the end.

The innocent Jieng have the option to rescue their wider community by joining their fellow country men from the other tribes and ensure that President Kiir, the JCE etc are removed from power swiftly and arraigned before the people to face justice while the Jieng community is saved from a brutal violent war.

It is important to emphasise here that the participation of the Jieng in the expected change is not in any way a crucial factor in tilting the balance of power. With or without the Jieng, the other tribes of the South Sudan combined are in the process of reclaiming their country and they will certainly get it.

Nevertheless, the imperative for innocent Jieng to join their fellow country men is for two reasons.

First, it is for them to reclaim their morality and humanity damaged by the tribal regime. They need to distance themselves from the heinous killings and various types of rape involving, women, children and men.

In Equatoria, the Jieng specifically practiced what they call double deck rape and the rape of married mothers. In the former, the man is forced under gun point to have sex with his wife and then a Jieng soldier sodomize the man at the same time. In the latter, a troop of Jieng soldiers break into a family home then they rape the wife/mother in the presence of all the family members. These terrible things including constant killing of Equatorian leaders are done to Equatorians to break them down psychologically which has huge implications on the culture of Equatorians.

The prime objective is to destroy Equatorian leadership and instill helplessness leading into total subjugation for the Jieng to dominate and take over Equatoria. These horrible techniques of domination are copied from the literature of slavery in America by the American educated leaders of SPLM/A. In order to understand what I am talking about here, please watch ‘Buck breaking – hidden, untold, history’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg_13WJ4gDo).

Secondly, the innocent Jieng need to affirm their genuine and sincere belief in the state of South Sudan as a place where every South Sudanese regardless of tribe, creed, and gender are treated equally and protected by law and the state. Thus they need to condemn Dinkocracy wholesale.

The questions the Jieng people must ask themselves are: which is better, to fight and die to protect criminals like President Kiir, the JCE, and General Paul Malong Awan etc? Or, is it better to be ethical and patriotic by shunning these useless and hopeless criminals and save the Jieng people from losing many of their own in these useless wars?

There is no way of dismissing these questions, a choice must be made. The Jieng community either shun and hand in these criminals for a better future in South Sudan, or continue with the criminals to face an uncertain future. The choice is theirs.

If the innocent Jieng make a sensible decision, then they will have truly started the process of reconciliation and healing that everybody is yearning for in the country. Joining hands with fellow country men will show the others that not all the Jieng support the tyrannical regime in Juba. It will let the people of other tribes judge the Jieng individually rather than from a collective point of view, and that is how it should be.

But this requires the innocent Jieng to be brutally honest by pointing fingers at those in their community committing the crimes and condemning them unreservedly, as should all South Sudanese regardless of their tribe.

With this said, there is still room for the peace-loving Jieng to redeem themselves. President Kiir and the JCE have reduced the Jieng to become subjects of hate and ridicule.

Lt. General Thomas Cirilo Swaka captures this feeling vividly in his resignation letter by saying: “The policy of ethnic domination and subjugation being pursued openly by the President and his close associates has made Dinkas [Jieng] to be painted with the same brush by other communities/nationalities, (without making distinction between the good Dinkas and the bad ones). As a result, the Dinka community has come to be hated by their own brothers and sisters from other communities. Pursuit of this wrong-headed policy has also destroyed the fabric of South Sudan society.”

Expressions of hate against the Jieng are taking root in everyday language in the country and also in the social media. Daily horrible stories coming in of the Jieng militia committing unimaginable grave crimes against humanity in many parts of the country reinforces such hate.

For example, commenting in support of a Gatdarwich in the article, ‘Lt. General Thomas Cirillo’s Resignation Exposes The Tribal Regime Of President Kiir’ published by South Sudan Nation on 19th February 2017, Steve John had this to say: “I like your analogy very much. Even our peasant farmers know that you can put off grassland/bush fires with fire, what we in Arabi Juba call “gata nar”.

Only when all peoples of South Sudan arm themselves and be prepared to unleash revenge on the murderous jaangs can there be any meaningful discourse and reconciliation.

Peace is only possible under equals and anything short of that is subjugation and surrender. Meaning, you can choose to have Detente like what Reagen did with Gorbachov in the 80s, it worked very well during the arms race and neither (USA-USSR) of them ever thought of starting a nuclear war. If however, either of them were weak like Iraq of Sadam for that matter, this would only encourage bullying of the weaker by the stronger one.

As long as Kiir and his tribal militia procure weapons from third parties, they will opt for a military solution. The rebels or any non-jaang communities must as a matter of security, arm themselves. It is only then that the jaang be ready to talk. After all, they act and don’t sentimentalize issues. Anything short of this is simply foolish academic discourse that serves no purpose.”

Revenge, obviously, is undesirable and likely unlawful. People should not take the law into their own hands. The state is there to ensure that citizens get justice through the court system. Unfortunately, the law and the courts in South Sudan are hostile toward non-Jieng’s and blind to Jieng crimes. This makes it difficult to stem off the feelings of revenge in people. Hence, the feelings expressed above by Steve John.

Hannah Osborne in her article, ‘Obsession or justice… Why are we fascinated with revenge?’ points out that in “explaining revenge, Ann Macaskill, professor of health psychology at Sheffield Hallam University [UK], said: ‘When individuals are attacked in some way that feels unjust, they go through three psychological stages: a shock phase, an adjustment phase and a reaction phase.” (http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/05/obsession-or-justice-why-are-we-fascinated-with-revenge-3865404/)

Hannah has opted not to write anything on the first two phases, namely the shock phase and an adjustment phase. For the purpose of this piece it is important that something is said about the feelings covered in these crucial steps of the theory to show how such feelings have affected the people of South Sudan.

For a period of precisely three decades, that is from 1983 to 2013, the Jieng people through the SPLM/A have inflicted an unimaginable amount of cruelty on the people of South Sudan in their quest to assert themselves as the elites in the country. This shocked the people and paralyzed them for a long time.

The inaction of Equatoria to the poor governance of the country which the Jieng conveniently termed cowardice in reality is a result of shock. The Equatorians could not really understand and believe that they are witnessing the unbelievable.

For example, the killings of their leaders openly without accountability like the police officers in Yambio, the shooting of a doctor in Yei, the disappearance of Justice Peter Abdulrahman Sule, etc; the horrible normalised rape of their women; the dispossession of their land and the killing of Equatoria’s people of all age groups including chopping up of babies in Yei as reported in The New York Times article, ‘War Consumes South Sudan, a Young Nation Cracking apart’ by Jeffrey Gettleman on 4th March 2017. (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/world/africa/war-south-sudan.html?_r=0&referer=)

The shock phase in Equatoria has taken decades, paralysing an entire society and almost breaking up the fibres of its historic organic formation, but also at the same time people have been reflecting and slowly rationalising the brutality they have been receiving and facing. While doing this, they slid into the adjustment phase.

Now they have adjusted and they clearly know who is responsible for their suffering and what they need to do to free themselves. Is there any wonder why the resistance in Equatoria is spreading like wild fire?

The crucial question then is: will Equatorians forgive the Jieng for treating them worse than the Arabs did? In fact what the Arabs did is about five percent of what the Jieng has done and keep doing as I write.

According to Professor Macaskill, “In the reaction phase they (aggrieved) will either decide to forgive, hold a grudge but do nothing – or take or plot revenge. Vengefulness is quite normal in many circumstances and evolutionary psychologists suggest that the ability to take revenge is part of human nature – it is hardwired into us.”

“Most of us were socially conditioned by our parents and so on to believe that the world should be fair. Revenge is one way of trying to get justice.” The challenge to South Sudanese as Professor Macaskill correctly highlights is: how can forgiveness be achieved in the face of the ongoing brutal Jieng aggression? Preaching forgiveness now can even be dangerous to the preacher, but it needs to be dealt with in a sensitive way. Therefore, forgiveness should only be given on a case by case basis.

Without any doubt, those currently running the tyrannical regime in Juba collectively have a case to answer. They are then followed by the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) and a good number of the SPLA officers. These groups must be made to account for plunging the country into turmoil and destruction of huge numbers of innocent civilian lives for no reason.

It is not going to be easy to make these people to account because of the hold they have on the reins of power. They will go to any length to escape court. The simple example is the audacity with which they ignited an unnecessary war in July 2016 to turn the Agreement on Conflict in South Sudan of August 2015 into a useless document.

All the people who lost their lives in that needless act, to President Kiir and the JCE are a price worth paying to save their skins from the proposed Hybrid Court in the agreement.

Nobody should therefore underestimate the mindset of the Jieng leadership. Pathologically impaired, their world view is framed along beliefs of supremacy, greatness and invincibility. They do not imagine themselves being out of power and it is here where the real problem lies.

The probability that they will cede power peacefully is very slim. They are happy with the status quo even when their own tribes mate in Warrap and Northern Bahre El Ghazal are collapsing on the streets due to hunger from famine.

President Kiir and the JCE are likely to cling to power until they are confronted and defeated. SPLM-IO had the chance to break the back of President Kiir’s regime but they failed. The simplest trick they should have adopted was to tactically shift the theatre of operation to Bahre El Ghazal, especially Warrap and Aweil.

That in itself would have deprived General Paul Malong Awan of a safe recruiting ground and there would have been no way for President Kiir to receive continuous replacement of Mathiang Anyoor from that area. Without the ability to replenish the tribal militia whose losses on the ground are concerning, President Kiir and the JCE would have bowed to peace and things would have been different.

Now, the storm of change is slowly gathering pace. The daily resignations of military officers, the economic collapse, the raging famine, and the fierce resistance have converged to create the only missing link in the change equation: unity of the oppressed. At long last, the people of South Sudan are coming together to truly determine their destiny. Will the Jieng regime cede power peacefully or it will be swept away by the coming storm?

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com
@elhagpaul

Gen. Paul Malong, SPLA Military Chief of Staff: Is he holding Pres. Salva Kiir to ransom?

By FRED OLUOCH, MAR/15/2017, TheEastAfrican, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
*** To his admirers, Gen Malong is an embodiment of sacrifice and patriotism due to his contribution to the Independence struggle and the role he is playing in keeping the Kiir regime in power.
*** To his critics, he is an ambitious and ruthless soldier being driven by his desire for the continuation of his Dinka hegemony over the remaining 64 ethnic groups of South Sudan.

South Sudan’s Chief of General Staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan,is a man under intense focus both locally and internationally following a series of defections of senior military commanders from the national army.

Gen Malong —who took over the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA) leadership in April 2014— is perceived as the “real” power behind President Salva Kiir by working closely with the Jieng Council of Elders, the Dinka cultural association, to control the government and thereby alienate other communities from the country’s leadership.

Since February, four top military and government officials have resigned accusing the populous Dinka community of nepotism, corruption and perpetuating ethnic cleansing in various part of the country.

On March 7, former deputy chief of staff in charge of logistics, Lieutenant General Thomas Cirilo Swaka announced that he is forming a new rebel group, The National Salvation Front (NSF) to liberate the country from the grip of ethnic Dinka.

Gen Swaka —who was the first to quit in February— accused President Kiir of turning the country’s military into a “tribal army.” Others who have resigned include Col Khalid Ono Loki, who headed the military court in Juba; Brig-Gen Kamila Otwari Aleardo, a former commander of the Logistics Support Brigade; and Minister for Labour and Public Service Gabriel Duop Lam. Mr Lam accused President Kiir of failing to implement the August 2015 peace deal.

In an interview with The EastAfrican, Gen Malong dismissed the allegations saying he was experienced military manager treating all SPLA cadres fairly. He also dismissed claims that he is angling for the top seat should the opportunity arise.

“President Kiir is not at the mercy of any individual. He is a legitimate president, elected by over 90 per cent of citizens in 2010. I am concentrating on my defence portfolio, working hard within my capabilities to prevent the country from collapsing,” he said.

President’s number one ‘protector’

“I am an insider in the Kiir presidency and I am committed to assisting him steer the country to the right path and not somebody with political ambitions out to usurp his power and authority”.

Gen Malong has been making political statements that portray him as the number one “protector” of President Kiir and that of the country following the rebellion led by Dr Riek Machar in December 2013.

In January, Gen Malong, known to his admirers as “King Paul”, raised fresh national debate when he was awarded an honorary degree from Al Neelain University Centre for Human Development Studies in Khartoum for his efforts in brokering a peaceful co-existence among the Rizeigat and Messiryia of Sudan and the Dinka Malual of South Sudan in the volatile border when he was the governor of northern Bahr-el-Ghazal from 2008 to 2014. President Kiir attended the ceremony in Juba.

The move was, however, seen as Khartoum trying to appease the general over the disputed border region of Abyei.

Admirers and critics:

To his admirers, Gen Malong is an embodiment of sacrifice and patriotism due to his contribution to the Independence struggle and the role he is playing in keeping the Kiir regime in power.

Both he and the president hail from neighbouring districts in Bahr-el-Ghazal state. The president comes from Gogrial while Gen Malong is from Aweil.

According to Philip Achuoth Deng, the director at Leading Minds Institute —a non-governmental organisation that trains on life skills, Gen Malong has proven that he is brave enough to protect South Sudan’s national interests, making him an indispensable partner to President Kiir.

“However, he at the same time evokes a lot of phobia and hatred in certain quarters, not only locally but internationally. But he remains steadfast in his belief that power struggles should not obscure South Sudan’s national interest,” says Mr Deng.

To his critics, he is an ambitious and ruthless soldier being driven by his desire for the continuation of his Dinka hegemony over the remaining 64 ethnic groups of South Sudan.

Col Loki after his resignation accused Gen Malong of engaging in “relentless endeavours” to promote and protect his Dinka tribesmen at the expense of others.

Obasanjo commission:

International partners in the South Sudan peace process perceive Gen Malong as “the architect of immense human suffering” having been fingered by the Obasanjo Commission as one of those who have committed war crimes.

The commission accused him of mobilising Dinka ethnic militia, Mathiang Anyor (Brown caterpillar) with the slogan Dot Ke Beny (Rescue the President), to massacre the Nuers in Juba in the first days of the civil war.

Gen Malong is also seen as a major stumbling block to the implementation of the August 2015 Peace Agreement. In February last year, he was quoted as warning President Kiir of serious unrest should he be removed from his position. He also said that Dr Machar would become president only “in his presence”.

But Gen Malong says his main complaint with the peace agreement is that its guarantors and financiers fail to recognise South Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He says that having two armies with parallel allegiance as provided for in the agreement creates different centres of power and compromises the security and sovereignty of the country.

“I am not bothered about my critics because I am always committed to the wellbeing of the country and its citizens and not to the international community,” he said adding that “my rivals and particularly in politics will always consider me as a villain and a war criminal.” END

To Gen. Thomas Cirillo: Right Decision & Right Time: Greater Equatoria Council congratulates you!

From: The Leadership of the Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR)
To: Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief
The National Salvation Front, South Sudan

Date: March 13, 2017;

Subject: Congratulations!

GRECOR would like to seize this opportunity and congratulate you for having taken a right decision in the right direction, at the right time and for the right purpose. This decision demonstrates frustration with and loss of confidence in the regime.

Surely, you now join the ranks of the many southerners who have lost all confidence in Kiir’s regime that oppresses and suppresses its own people.

GRECOR is an opposition social, cultural and political organization that has been advocating for the rights and freedom of equatorians in particular and the oppressed South Sudanese in general.

GRECOR views your wisdom from two angles: First, the decision to resign from serving a dictatorial, discriminatory and an oppressive Kiir’s regime was a real act of valour and audacity.

Second, the formation of an armed resistance movement in the name of the National Salvation Front (NAS) is a welcome positive development that will engender a lucid meaning to the hope of most South Sudanese without exception.

Indeed, and surely it is only through an armed struggle that the regime be brought to a semblance of normalcy. For a long time the majority of South Sudanese have suffered in silence and endured all sorts of abuses and injustices inflicted on them by their own capricious government that has been acting in a complete disregard of many things.

At this juncture, GRECOR would like to cite and expose some of the violations, abuses, injustices being practiced against our innocents’ people by Kiir’s regime soldiers and others:

• Land grabbing – a muse of the gun and authority to evict rightful citizen from the God-given land (Land of their ancestors).

• Insecurity – the rampant and unaccounted for killing in Juba and other towns.

• Plunder, looting and amassing of public funds at the expenses of the populace.

• Lack of basic social services e.g. water.

• Favouritism on the basis of tribe or passive submission to Kiir’s regime.

• Total lack of respect for freedom of expression, lack of respect for the use of the gun by those who hold it, lack of respect for human rights.

• Unknown gunmen – a unique and strange phenomenon, culture and behaviour in the life and history of South Sudanese, which is similar to that of Niggas (outlaws).

• The SPLA – the really worries and armies who had fought for our cause two decades are at last thrown out, deserted, marginalized and replaced by militias, hooligans, robberies and rappers etc.

Surely, the list is endless.

And this shows how the South Sudan is being led on the path of darkness, Jungle laws and wrong side of history. However, South Sudanese need light instead and need to be rescued from falling into a bottomless pit.

In view of the above reasons, GRECOR would like to register its unwavering support to you Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka for the cause that you have initiated and willing to undergo these opaque and enigma pragmatic journey so as to realize and achieve the rights and dignity of the entire people of South Sudan.

GRECOR also is fully aware of your professional military leadership skills that made you a symbol of reliability and trustworthiness among your colleagues’ officers and combatants before and after the secession of South Sudan.

GRECOR founder, late Professor Wani Tombi, was always and often in his briefing to us reminding us of you and some of the insidious things that you had discussed, planned and agreed upon for the future leadership in Equatoria and South Sudan as a whole.

GRECOR acknowledges you’re intuitive sentiments and long patient of enduring underestimation, undermining, disrespect, psychological threats, and surveillance by Kiir’s regime organs. Yet you have overcome them all unprecedentedly.

Lastly, GRECOR would like to draw your attention to its vision, which would be of great help to you and the National Salvation Front to have a vision which is inclusive and comprehensive rather than exclusive and incomprehensive.

If we really want to build a modern state in South Sudan, we need to have a broad vision like GRECOR’S vision: “Let South Sudan be governed with the principles and doctrines of Constitutionalism; the Rule of Law and order; Equality; Democracy; Meritocracy; Accountability; Transparency; and positive foreign policy guided by the respect of all species of International Law for cordial regional and international relations.”

Wishing you every success on the journey towards a definite victory.

Congratulations!
Sincerely,
Dr. Henry Jembi Samson Lokou, GRECOR Chairman, Khartoum Sudan
Email: lokoujungo@gmail.com
Mr. Justin Demetry, GRECOR Coordinator, Canada
Email: tombelodemen@yahoo.com
Mr. Lado Lodoka, GRECOR Leader in the United States
Mr. Alfred Rombe, GRECOR Chairman in Canada
Dr. Jada Yengkopiong, GRECOR Chairman in Australia
Mr. Isaac Mursal, GRECOR Chairperson Western Australia
Mrs. Rita Edward Duru, Women Secretariat Chairperson Khartoum Sudan
Mr. Jada Lako Mathayo, GRECOR Chairman in Finland

LATEST: Five year-old South Sudan nation breaking apart as inter-ethnic divisions worsen

By FRED OLUOCH, The East African, MAR/13/2017, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
*** With more than 10 militia groups, observers say that the country — which is only five years old — could be divided into the three regions.
*** A failed peace agreement, lack of institutions of governance, economic collapse, lack of donor support due to embedded official corruption and increased ethnic cleansing are driving the disintegration.
*** A United Nations report says that South Sudan is experiencing ethnic cleansing and edging closer to genocide.

South Sudan is heading towards disintegration as various ethnic groups form militias to defend themselves against what they call Dinka hegemony and persecution.

With more than 10 militia groups, observers say that the country — which is only five years old — could be divided into the three regions that formed the South under the larger Sudan: Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr-el-Ghazal.

A failed peace agreement, lack of institutions of governance, economic collapse, lack of donor support due to embedded official corruption and increased ethnic cleansing are driving the disintegration.

What started as a political disagreement within the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) between President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar has now metamorphosed into an inter-ethnic battle for survival, with the majority Dinka perceived as the common enemy by the 64 other ethnic groups. Most of the militias are emerging in the former greater Equatoria to defend their lands from Dinka invasion.

A United Nations report says that South Sudan is experiencing ethnic cleansing and edging closer to genocide.

Complicated network of rebel groups

In a recent interview with The EastAfrican, former president of Botswana Festus Mogae, who leads the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said these new rebel groups that did not exist before are emerging and threatening the country’s unity.

“Some of the groups are driven by revenge along ethnic lines, others feel marginalised and excluded by the peace deal, which largely brought together President Kiir’s Dinkas and Dr Machar’s Nuers,” said Mr Mogae, adding that a complicated network of rebel groups with different agendas are joining the conflict.

Besides Dr Machar’s SPLM-IO that is largely based in Upper Nile, the formerly peaceful three Equatorias are now producing various militia groups to defend themselves against government atrocities, which have seen more refugees fleeing to Uganda to escape systematic killings, rape and burning of houses.

General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the former deputy-general chief of staff for logistics, who resigned in February, has formed the National Salvation Front (NSF) movement to oust President Kiir from power, claiming that the military was dominated by Dinkas. They blamed the government for orchestrating the violations of the August 2015 peace agreement.

Gen Swaka, an ethnic Bari who hails from Rajaf in Central Equatoria — just six kilometres from the capital Juba — is gaining support from various militia groups that have emerged since renewed fighting started in Juba in July last year.

The Cobra Squad, led by Lieutenant General Khalid Botrus Bora and based in Pibor near the border with Ethiopia, dissolved itself last week to merge with Gen Swaka’s NSF with the target of toppling President Kiir.

Cobra Squad is mainly made up of the Murle ethnic a group — a close cousin of the Kalenjins in Kenya — and was started by David Yau Yau who defected to the government and has since been made Assistant Minister for Defence.

Arrow Boys

Also operating in Central Equatoria is Martin Kenyi, whose militia is allied to Dr Machar but who is responsible for attacking commercial trucks and buses along the Juba-Nimule Highway. Mr Kenyi, who leads the Equatoria Defence Force is from the Madi community who are mainly found around Nimule and have cousins across the border in Uganda.

Also present in the same region are the Mundare militia, led by former governor of Central Equatoria Clement Konga who was sacked by President Kiir. However, the Mundari militia have not issued any political statement since the outbreak of violence last July.

Then there are the Arrow Boys in Western Equatoria, which borders DR Congo and which has the only Bantu groups in South Sudan. The green and fertile Western Equatoria is home to the Azande, Moro, Avokaya and Baka communities, who are mostly farmers. The Arrow Boys claim they are defending themselves against mistreatment by government soldiers and invasion by Dinka pastoralists of their farms.

While the Arrow Boys are mainly concerned with local issues, former governor of Western Equatoria Joseph Bakosoro — who is currently in exile in the US — has offered to lead them. Mr Bakosoro was sacked by President Kiir last year and detained for several months, being only released following pressure from the international community.

In Upper Nile, Johnson Olony, a Shilluk who leads the Aguelek Militia allied to Dr Machar, has been battling government forces in Malaka town along the banks of the River Nile and its surroundings.

Mr Olony was previously allied to President Kiir when the civil war broke out in December 2013 but later changed and sided with the rebels. In the same region is the National Democratic Movement (NDM) belonging to former minister of agriculture Lam Akol, who resigned from the Cabinet last year and went into exile.

In an interview with The EastAfrican when he launched NDM in Nairobi in September last year, Dr Akol said President Kiir continued to violate the peace agreement, forcing him to take up arms to topple the government. However, Dr Akol’s forces have since become dormant after his commander, Gabrial Tenginya, was killed.

President Kiir called for a National Dialogue in December last year but it is proving to be a non-starter as various groups dismiss it as a gimmick to buy time and divert the world’s attention from the government’s failure to implement the 2015 peace agreement. END

An Appeal to Pres. Kiir: Release all political detainees in National Security Services at Jebel & other detention facilities

BY: Professor Leonzio Angole Onek, Univ. of Juba, MAR/12/2017, SSN;

Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,

I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I have been encouraged by your move to declare a Prayer Day during which you are reported to have prayed for forgiveness.

I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church like you Sir. The teaching that has remained with me since my baptism day some 50 years ago is that one does not go to pray while he/she still has a quarrel with a brother, neighbor, relative or even a foreigner.

Therefore, I believe that in asking for forgiveness, you have also decided to wipe our personal and governmental plate clean of sins of omission and commission.

What interest do I have in these political prisoners? On December 7, 2015, I was arrested on the street near University of Juba; I have been a Dean of a college at the university since 2014.

Those who arrested me drove me to the Jebel Detention Facility and locked me up for five months, until I was released on April 25, 2016. During the five months I was not interrogated nor interviewed by any officer from the NSS; I did not know why I was arrested.

When the Government Spokesman was asked about my arrest at the time, his answer was that he was not aware of any professor being detained by the NSS. Few weeks before my release, I was interrogated by three senior officers from the NSS, who accused me of being a member of the SPLA-IO.

To spare you a lot of details, I did not make a plea whether I was guilty or not since I was not provided by a lawyer during the interrogation as required by the Constitution. However, I made the following statement to my interrogators:

“If I am a member of the SPLA-IO, which you have accused me of, I should then be released immediately since General Taban Deng Gai, who is heading the Advanced SPLA-IO Team in Juba and a snior member of the SPLA-IO, is free and a guest of the government. Additionally, H.E. The President of the Republic, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadit has decreed on January 1, 2016 that all those who have rebelled against the government and are in custody should be given amnesty and be released immediately. Therefore, based on these two grounds, I should be released.”

Several days later, I was released.

Sir, while I was in detention, I suffered many things including contracting life-threatening medical conditions. Yet, I am not bitter because I have resolved that this was a destiny dealt to me by my God.

Furthermore, while in custody, I met over 40 persons who were accused of being members of SPLM-IO or some other rebel groups, prior to the August 2015 Agreement. They too have suffered from many diseases and some of them have since died.

These are the prisoners for whom I am appealing to you to have mercy on and order their release. Some of them have been in detention for over three years without being taken to court. It is also probable that Your Excellency is not aware of their detention.

Their names are:

Alison Mogga Tadeo RIP; Aloro John; Andria Baambe; Angelo Banaveso; Ayume Dada; Chandiga Felix;

Daniel Bakumba; Davide Peter; Emilio Paul; George Livio Bahara; John Mboliako; Jorem Eseru;

Justin Yasir; Justin Wanis; Justine Peter; Justine Wanawila; Kennedy Kenyi; Lado James; Lokolong Joseph;

Martin Augustino; Michael Sokiri; Mike Tyson; Ochaya Godfrey Saverio; Ociti Richard Okumu; Otihu Lawrence;

Paul Baba; Richard Otti; Sokiri Felix Wani; Tartisio Oshini; Timothy Nyewe Mori; William Endly; James Gadet (new)

Yours sincerely,

Professor Leonzio Angole Onek
Dean, College of Applied and Industrial Sciences
University of Juba
Juba
E-mail: leoonek@yahoo.com