Archive for: September 2017

The South Sudan War and Why Vice-president Taban Deng Gai Should be Arrested Upon Arrival in New York

BY: Abu Deng, SEPT/20/2017, SSN;

The reason for no Peace in South Sudan, millions displaced/starving – And why Taban Deng Gai should be arrested upon his Arrival in New York.

While millions of South Sudanese starve, the Juba elite and their regional and global friends (Enablers) are making millions – such as the so-called humanitarian Republic of Uganda who shelters one million South Sudanese refugees (though it has provided significant military support, troops, equipment to the war) while it exports gold worth $200 million and now has built a gold refinery.

Where is this Gold coming from, their neighbor South Sudan, where several nations involved in bringing peace there, such as USA (pre-Trump, the Kerry Era) Uganda, China and South Africa have firms mining Gold, Diamonds, Uranium, Silver, precious gems, Cobalt, Aluminum, Iron, Nickel and Zinc (The imposed General Taban Deng Gai was the Minister of Mining for those recent contracts.

Uganda opened its first national gold refinery in Entebbe during February 2017 to process raw gold from South Sudan and the DRC (processing over 1.5 tons monthly) – though it has no commercial mines. Its gold exports went from 0 to $200 million in 2016, thanks to South Sudan and its conflict.

At the center of this war-for-profit effort are key co-plotters General Taban Deng Gai and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, former senior cadre of the SPLM-IO of the Dr. Riek Machar who decided to eliminate him and take over control of the opposition party. General Taban Gai was made Minister of Mining and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth was made Chief of Staff of Dr. Machar’s office (these assignments both men disliked greatly).

Once Dr. Machar was run out of the country in July 2016, these two: Gai/Lol, engineered a violent takeover of the SPLM-IO party in cooperation with President Salva Kiir that consisted of monetary/position inducements (presidential appointments); threats or blackmail via rape/non-consensual sex filmed for political leverage against key Opposition leaders.

Question: How Rampant is General Taban Deng Gai’s penchant for using rape of Men and Women as a Weapon of War and for Political Maneuvering/Opposition suppression?

With full control of key Opposition leaders and cooperation with the Kiir regime, General Taban Gai helped formed so-called transitional government of national – albeit its focus was not development and stablising the economy, which has steadily been declining since the government’s formation, including exorbitant currency rates, dollar shortages, high prices as well as lack of healthcare, education, security and basic food items.

Mr. Invisible: General Taban Deng Gai –
My sources tell me General Taban Deng Gai initiated a legal case in Dubai, UAE. He sued the sons of a deceased business partner to retrieve tens of millions of dollars (the court ruling issued this year is unknown, but I have been told it did not go in his favor) – though I normally do not like to speculate as a rule, the original source of this information is Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth in this case, Taban Gai’s trusted number two. So where did these millions come from originally?

Given the openness of Dubai, I am sure naysayers can investigate this quite easily – but my point is that Mr Taban Deng Gai has been one of those “invisible” people silently getting rich off of the nation’s woes and these wars, while the majority of citizens suffer. One area I would like investigators to review is whether Mr. Gai while a Governor embezzled some of the oil money designated to Unity State, which receives 2 percent of oil revenue, over $10 million monthly as one of the oil-producing states.

Now he has hornswoggled the VP position, which can reap him power, money and maybe the acutely desired respect he has long sought given he has been disliked in his home state and the capital Juba for a long time, which is why he uses money to “make friends” and buy influence. Given the recent US Treasury announcement, targeting those involved in obstructing Peace or benefiting from this war . . . meaning, Taban Deng Gai and Ezekial Lol Gatkuoth . . . They should be prime suspects/candidates for sanctions as well as listed as war criminals for their central role in atrocities post-July 2016 in South Sudan.

Biography of General Taban Deng Gai
Who is Taban Deng Gai? He was born to a mother from Unity State and a father from northern Sudan — the Shaigiya tribe. Mr. Taban Deng Gai is married with children. He is an astute politician and soldier; he was a key aide of Dr. John Garang and later Dr. Riek Machar. He is well-known to be an ruthlessly ambitious man who hates to lose and is capable of doing anything to win.
_ _ _`

A poignant example is the historic 2010 election in which Ms. Teny lost, two civilians were killed, he kidnapped and held as hostages the country Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and the gubernatorial candidate who had won the race according to international observers (that winner was Madame Angela Jany Teny — Dr. Machar’s wife). Ms. Teny had her car shot at during the campaign and their house was surrounded by tanks and soldiers courtesy of General Gai and President Kiir. The Vice President and Ms. Teny escaped and that same day General Taban Gai was declared Governor of Unity state though votes in his favour were minimal (Mr. Gai himself has acknowledged he lost 7 of 9 counties then).

The most damning evidence should come from the recent Opposition party mutiny and near assassination of President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar at J1 (the Presidential Palace) on 8 July 2016. The ensuing war saw First Vice President Machar and Madame Teny “escape again”, by foot to the Democratic Republic of Congo. And the razing of the SPLM-IO Opposition area called Site I (the VP’s residence) as well as hunting down their officials and advisors (local and foreign).

Post-analysis and reports of the J1 incident show key plotters of J1 were former Chief of Staff Paul Malong; General Taban Gai; Akol Koor Kuc (head of National Intelligence) and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.

The goal is said to have been to install General Paul Malong as President and Taban Gai as First Vice President; and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth as the Petroleum Minister with the “former” leaders Kiir/Machar expected to be killed in the crossfire — which did not happen, complicating the ascension plan of General Taban, who was not particularly trusted by General Paul Malong since he betrayed his long-time leader and friend, Dr. Riek Machar.

Mr. Gai’s ambition and ruthlessness are legendary so not many trust him, for he uses people until he has no need. Many SPLM-IOs of Dr. Machar, post July 2016, have reported they were given a simple choice: serve me (meaning, Taban Gai) or die!

Investigations Needed into General Taban Deng Gai’s Finances
Given recent revelations of Mr. Gai’s loss of millions of dollars in Dubai, and observing the mining ministry’s activities since General Gai’s arrival there in May 2016, a serious review is needed of financial transactions of South Sudan which will likely reveal corruption/connections to General Taban Deng Gai.

A key firm to review is Sabina Ltd based in Unity State, which is partially owned by General Taban Gai and said to be his conduit for siphoning state funds out of the area. This company has been involved in many contracts in construction, roads, electricity, etc. and was the only private contractor approved by the state for several years during the reign of General Taban Deng Gai as governor.

Here are some companies and countries doing mining in South Sudan:

1. Zhonghao Exploration & Mining Company – China
2. Fortune Minerals Ltd, London, Ontario – Canada
3. Epic Exploration Pty Ltd, West Perth – Australia
4. Equation Mining Inc., Alaska, | Blackstone for Mining Co. Ltd, Idaho – USA
5. SASS Minerals and Petroleum Pty – South Africa
6. LuckyFriends Trading and Construction Co. Ltd (Company number: 102163) – Uganda

The above list points to alternative reasons why several of these countries are/have supported the corrupt and abusive regime of President Salva Kiir: MONEY, GOLD, DIAMONDS, etc. Personal gain perhaps among officials in some of these countries: US, Uganda, South Africa?

But the violent nature of this regime should itself repel US and Europe greatly, particularly since the rape rampage in July 2016 at Terrain Hotel attributable to General Taban Gai’s violent takeover plan. Listening to the below BBC interviews of several rape victims, one sees Juba’s violent State policy against American and European persons and interests as well against it citizens. If you can stomach horrible truths, listen to these heart-wrenching stories:

Massive level of Sexual Assaults in Juba

The one area where it is clear that the government leadership under President Kiir and General Taban Deng Gai is failing miserably is security, intentionally so it seems for their weak responses/irresponsible utterances are tantamount to condoning serious human rights abuse — on a monumental scale — and giving rise to the rampant use of Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War.

Within the capital city of Juba where the government has firm control, its security forces, primarily police and soldiers, have been identified by victims as the main perpetrators of horrendous sexual assaults, gang rapes — all occurring on a massive scale against IDP women according to the UN. See the June 2016 HCT South Sudan report by UNHCR where the survey of the UN Protection of Civilians camps in Juba shows — three out of every four women have been raped. See below, from page 60:

As well, General Taban Gai’s thirst for power and money is threatening regional and even global security, actually destabilising it, for countries like Egypt and North Korea have military cooperation agreements with the Juba regime. See,

North Korea’s Kim Jong signed a deal a military cooperation with South Sudan – link

The question is why the former US administration of President Obama would support a government which the United Nations and its panel of experts have considered one of the gravest abusers of human rights in modern times.

Finally, I have tried to shine a light on a globally invisible, yet influential long-time political figure of South Sudan who I hope the West will not take serious (and avoid association with him) for the monumental blood on his hands is that of a war criminal.

Abu Deng, ig

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Wau State Governor-in-Opposition calls for resistance against Kiir’s terror

My dear Great people of Western Bahar Ghazal, allow me, please, to wish you all my heartfelt revolutionary greetings.

On many several occasions in the history of the Western Bahar Ghazal region, the existence of our people was threatened by the enemy of peace. As an example, in 1986, while the former Western Bahar Ghazal State WBGS Governor, Dr. Lawrence Wol Wol, was in power, the so-called Dinka Community had planned what could be termed as Dinka Dominance Policies in the area.

It was intended for dominating the public positions and the resources of the state, in which Dinka militia killed, looted and burnt houses, including the attack on Taban village in March 17, 1986, where the Dinka militia killed five persons, looted properties, and burnt 15 houses.

Today, the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) emerged as a new driver to the Dinka domination policy, funded by president Salva Kiir Mayardit, and enforced by some traitors, for example Brigadier Rizik Zachariah Hassan, the former WBGS governor.

During his term, governor Rizik tried to silence the voices of the Western Bahar Ghazal people by shooting to death on the peaceful protesters on December 8, 2012 and December 9, 2012.

Fortunately, the people of Western Bahar Ghazal protect themselves always and come together if subjected to any type of threats.

While it is still unclear which way the new government in Wau will rule, one thing is clear, that Salva Kiir’s aggressive standing in the Western Bahar El Ghazal region has terrorized innocent civilians.

Today the unity among the people of Western Bahar Ghazal has become solid, and they are more organized politically and militarily, hence capable of defending themselves professionally as never before.

We, the government of Wau Federal State in Opposition, would like to assure our citizens that this time around we will retaliate, if our people’s dear lives are put under threat, their safety is in jeopardy or their security is undermined.

We call upon our people, to be proactive and raise up their voices.

We call upon our intellectuals to enlighten our civilians concerning the potential threats coming from the new administration in Wau.

Moreover, we call upon our people to support our freedom fighters, to enable them prepare more professionally to protect and defend our innocent civilians back home.

May God protect and bless you all.

Hon. Dominic Ukelo
Governor of Wau Federal State in Opposition
September 20, 2017

Can Nuer-Dinka Wunlik Approach help in solving the endemic tribal conflict between Apuk and Aguok?

“When Truth is Denied, Peace Will Not Come.”

BY DANIEL JUOL NHOMNGEK, KAMPALA, UGANDA, SEP/18/2017, SSN;

The conflict between Apuk and Aguok has become a major concern not only to the people of Gogrial State but to the whole of South Sudan. The need to get permanent solution has recently prompted authorities to come up with the disarmament policy, which is currently going on.

The question, therefore, is disarmament alone without more of a solution to the conflict between Apuk and Aguok? The answer to this question depends on how individuals look at it and also how he understands the conflict between the two communities.

However, the fact is that disarmament per se is not a permanent solution though it is an interim solution that can be used as an entry point in finding a formidable solution. To get permanent solution to the conflict between the two communities, there is a need first to understand the dynamic of the said conflict.

The conflict currently prevailing between the two communities is rooted in history. This is why it is hard to deal with it. Where the conflict is deeply rooted in deeply divided communities, which is rooted in deeply rooted ethnic tension, the only solution is to engage the parties into discussion accompanied by deep reflections among themselves that will eventually result into forgiveness and the agreement that will govern their future relations.

In this context, the conflict between Apuk and Aguok is historical in nature but it is now maintained through the use of modern warfare tactics and equipments. This kind of conflict which has its background in history and continues in modern society is hard to find a solution where the modern approach is adopted without going back to make history as the starting point.

Failure to historicize the solution makes the conflict keep on resurfacing in several aspects but interrelated and dangerous face.

As it has been the case in the conflict resolution between Apuk and Aguok, those who are involved in searching for a solution to the conflict between the two communities try to end the conflict through the modern method which is the use of force through the forced disarmament.

The weakness of applying modern approach to traditional communities who need traditional approach makes it hard to tackle the conflict between the two communities. Consequently, the conflict between the two communities continues with devastating consequences on two communities and Gogrial State.

The matters are further made worse by the fact that the general conflict at the National level has caused a distraction from efforts to address the said conflict.

For all the above reasons, it is hard to predict the time the conflict between the two communities will end or when will the appropriate solution is to be found. Hence, the hope for getting the permanent solution to the conflict between the two communities is dwindling as all attempts have so far failed to materialize.

In order to get lasting solution, there is a need for an immediate change of appropriate from relying on modern method to the hybrid one. The hybrid means adopting traditional conflict resolution method alongside method which will help in maintaining peace between the two communities. The question that then comes into play after proposing the change in the approach is, can the new proposed approach be effective to permanently end the conflict in Gogrial State?

In the opening of this work, I clearly pointed out that the conflict between the two communities is rooted in history. Thus in my opinion, where the conflict is historical in nature, there is a need for historical approach though after getting a solution the modern approach is applied to maintain peace. This is done by creating a forum for People-to-People peace to freely to talk out their historical problems perpetuated by the current complicated problems facing South Sudan.

To get the permanent solution to the conflict between the communities, the question that should be put across here is what is the appropriate approach that can bring appropriate solution?

Can Nuer-Dinka Wunlik approach help in solving tribal conflicts between the two communities? The next question, which is invited by this question is, what is the Wunlit Approach?

The Wunlit Approach as referred to above, was an approach adopted in the resolution of the conflict between Nuer and Dinka. Wunlit was a place where the conference was held. Wunlit is found in Bahr El Ghazal, Sudan by then but it is now found in South Sudan. The conference was held on 27th February-8th March 1999 and it was facilitated by the New Sudan Council of Churches as well supported by the SPLM/A.

The conference brought together the people from the six Dinka and Nuer counties bordering one another on the West Bank of the Nile River. The Wunlit Peace Conference was attended by three hundred and sixty (360) delegates. These delegates were divided equally between Dinka and Nuer (i.e. 180 each).

In accordance with that division, thirty delegates were invited from each county from the six counties as already pointed out above. During the selection of the delegates, each county selected delegates in a way that there were 15 chiefs and 15 other leading persons including representatives of traditional leaders, women and youth. All these persons were crucial in the peacemaking process in playing different roles.

Besides, each of the teams came with an entourage of advisory and support persons such as chiefs, elders, spear masters, women, youth, ethnic militias, church leaders – raising the total number to well over 1,000 persons. In addition, numerous observers were invited to the conference as well as six Nuer chiefs and two Murle chiefs from the East bank of the Nile were invited with the hope of encouraging them to undertake similar peace initiatives in their respective areas.

During the conference local authority officials were involved, including the SPLM County Commissioners and the Executive Directors from each county as well as the military and security personnel. There were also external observers that included church leaders, representatives of sponsors, donors and several reporters.

The Wunlit Conference was then opened with the ceremonial sacrifice of a large white bull, provided by the chief of Wunlit, Gum Mading. The reason for killing white bull (Thon Mabior) in form of sacrifice was taken to be a sign of commitment to peace and communal reconciliation. Apart from traditional ceremony of bull killing, the Wunlit approach combined with Christian practices as the Christian Prayers were also conducted.

During the conference as a way of reconciliation the method used by the participants in indentifying issues was through four ways namely: storytelling and issue identification, working groups, synthesis and plenary presentations and consensus building and approval of covenant. After the identification of the issues, the second part was the truth telling that was started on the second day.

The second day was a day of celebration and reflection and at that point, the people who gathered at the conference began to speak of the wrongs that have been committed against them. This was possible because Nuer and the Dinka believe that reconciliation is possible only after the truth has been shared. Because of that fact, in that peacemaking process, a little more than a full day was given to either side to tell their stories to the other. This phase involves story telling.

During the discussion, one side was given a chance to tell the stories of the atrocities committed against them. Then the other side was given a chance to do the same and to respond in rebuttal. The time of telling the truth as it is always was a painful time as all speakers recalled their losses and sufferings. It was tense. Those telling stories would recount atrocities and name the people who committed them. Each tribe was given an equal amount of time to share their grievances.

In the process of talks, there was a time the talks might break down into accusatory and personalized attacks. However, despite the potential of anger and hatred, the talks continued peacefully. The stories ranged from raids, battles, abduction, and rape to slavery. The old wounds of past were reopened. The meeting hall is awash with memories, tears, and sadness. When the issues were identified, the participants engaged into intense discussion and by the end of the discussion they declared that:

“All hostile acts shall cease between Dinka and Nuer whether between their respective military forces or armed civilians. A permanent cease-fire is hereby declared between the Dinka and the Nuer people with immediate effect; that Amnesty is hereby declared for all offences against people and property committed prior to 1st September 1999 involving Dinka and Nuer on the West Bank of the Nile River; freedom of movement is affirmed and inter-communal commerce, trade, development and services encouraged; that local cross border agreements and movement are encouraged and shall be respected; that it is hereby declared that border grazing lands and fishing grounds shall be available immediately as shared resources.; that displaced communities are encouraged to return to their original homes and rebuild relationships with their neighbours; that the spirit of peace and reconciliation this covenant represents must be extended to all southern Sudan.”

After agreeing and then came up with the above declaration, the participants concluded that all resolutions adopted by the conference were hereby incorporated into the Wunlit covenant. The participants further appealed to the SPLM/A to endorse, embrace and assist in implementation of the covenant and its Resolutions. The parties further appealed to the international community to endorse, embrace and assist in implementation of this covenant and its resolutions.

As it can be understood above, by appealing to the SPLM and international community to assist in the implementation of the covenant, the participants were alive to the fact that even if they agreed to end their conflict for such an agreement to hold, there must be a central authority to enforce it. Moreover, for an agreement between the two communities to stand, there must be strong authority as well as independent judicial system to punish those who will breach the agreement in order to maintain the agreement intact, which is vital for maintaining peace after the agreement.

In summary, for everlasting peace to be achieved between the two communities, the similar approach that was adopted during the Wunlit Peace Conference as discussed in this work should be adopted. In fact, the same approach was adopted in the past between the two communities in form of Kal Kuel Covenant between Apuk Giir, Aguok Mou and Kuac Ayok that was signed, on September 27th, 2008.

The problem is not that people communities are not willing to go into compromise to achieve peace but the problem is that there is no political will on the part of National and State Governments to enforce what the two communities have agreed.

The agreement of the warring parties can stand if it is enforced as they have agreed it without the authority in charge of enforcement applying discretion. Any discretion will be viewed by the party affected as being bias or partisan. The only way of dealing with issues that need some flexibility is to call the parties together and decide over something that needs flexibility or discretion. In short, for the agreement between two communities or other communities to achieve peace, it must be enforced as agreed by the parties but not as the authority enforcing it deems fit.

It should be concluded with the recommendation that for everlasting peace between the two communities to be achieved, the Wunlit modality should be adopted so that people are engaged in truth telling to say all that happened to them in the past. In doing that they should be given humble time to discuss all the issues and root causes including the atrocities they have committed against each other. It is after the parties have said all that has been causing them to fight that is when they can come up with declaration to commit themselves to peaceful co-existence.

After all these, the remaining part is the enforcement of the Agreement, which should be the duty of the state Government to enforce it as parties have agreed not as the authorities of the state think. Without these being done, even if the disarmament of the two communities is carried out several times, there will be no peace. The disarmament should be a short term solution to create conducive atmosphere in which parties can engage in peace talks.

NB//: The Author is a lawyer by profession; he graduated with honors in law from Makerere University, School of Law. He participated in various workshops and training in community mobilization in awareness of their constitutional rights in Uganda. He is the member of Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) and NETPIL (Network of Public Interest Lawyers) at Makerere University; he is currently doing research with NETPIL on private prosecution; he is trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); he participated in writing Street Law Handbook on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Uganda. He is practicing with Onyango and Company Advocates Bunga—Ggaba, Road Kampala He is currently staying in Kampala Uganda where he is undertaking bar course training. He can be reached through juoldaniel@yahoo.com or +256784806333.

General Thomas Cirillo Has Been Granted Amnesty? This is a trap!

From: Toria , South Sudan, SEPT/18/2017, SSN;

In a recent development, the unlawful sitting President of South Sudan granted an amnesty to C-in-C of NAS Gen. Thomas Cirilo. I have an urgent message to Thomas. Please don’t fall for this trap.

This is nothing but a pretext to lure you and other Equatorians back into Juba for their next sinister plans, they have calculated that your move into the bush is the biggest threat to them and so they will do anything to get rid of you particularly by assassination.

Lies of Juba Regime:
“Analysts say the move to free the former political detainees without any pre-condition demonstrated Kiir’s determination to resolve the country’s civil war.”

“He also claimed the country was dominated by Dinka tribe and the army turned into a tribal militia that “targets non-Dinka ethnicities”.” Nothing has changed.

There are some points that you need to take into consideration as to why Juba regime is doing this:
1. They have reckoned with your heavyweight personality that tipped the balance against their survival.
2. Juba regime is already too deformed to be reformed; there is nothing that the so-called National Dialogue could do to change anything as long as Kirr remains in power
3. You, Sir, Cdr Cirillo, in one of the only remaining truly Equatorian leaders and we CAN NOT risk to lose you like the many Great Equatorian leaders that perished at the hands of Garang’s SPLA.

Kirr is no different and he will kill anyone whom he feels will challenge his authoritarian regime and you have already called for removal of this illegal President when you left.

That alone is a treason which could be used against you.

“The National Salvation Front (NAS) is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country, Kiir must go, he must vacate the office without further bloodshed,” that’s what you partly wrote in your six-page letter of resignation.”

Brother; PLEASE DON’T COME TO JUBA!!!!!

4. The people of Equatoria are with you, and you have given us all the reasons to fight for our rightful ancestral soil, this is not the time to rush back to Juba without having the proper agreements.

That’s WE the children of Equatoria must get back every inch of our forefathers’ lands from these Dinka squatters.

The only peace will come when roaming Dinka herders relocate back to their regions without preconditions particularly removing their cattle away from Equatoria so that we have the land for agricultural developments.

5. Finally, I could go on more but I would like to end my argument that the only time revolutionary people will put down arms will come when we are all ready for peace.

Kirr and his cohorts are not ready for peace, they are trying to force the opposition forces into submissions which is not the way forward.

Unless there is mutual respect for everyone in South Sudan, we have yet to about.

Hitler and the Nazis were forced to surrender and then Europe was in peace.

Juba Kiir’s regime and their JCE Cohorts are all criminals and until they are taken to the ICC, they must not get away with Crimes they committed.

IF THERE IS ANY AMNESTY TO BE GRANTED, THE KIIR’S SPLA CRIMINALS MUST FIRST GO TO THE ICC AND COME OUT CLEAR.

HOWEVER AND WHATSOEVER, THEY ARE ALL CRIMINALS AND THEY BELONG BEHIND BARS.

Position Statement of Diaspora Aweil Communities on Gen. Paul Malong’s Detention

Dear Mr. President;

We the undersigned, on behalf of our respective communities in Diaspora, extend to you our warmest
greetings and best wishes as you endeavor to propel our country forward, endeavoring to achieve the
ideals indelibly etched on South Sudan’s Coat of Arms.

We have been reflecting lately, Mr. President, on the unflattering situation of Gen. Paul Malong in Juba. It is with this solemn issue in mind that we write to convey to you, the concerns of Greater Mading Aweil Communities in Diaspora.

Mr. President, Mading Aweil community in Diaspora is quite troubled by the health and welfare of General Paul Malong Awan. This disquiet is confounded by recent refusal to allow him to attend to his daughter’s burial, following the tragic incident in Kenya.

With one daughter deceased and another critically burned, he should have been allowed to visit the family but authorities in Juba chose the opposite.

We are pleading with you, Mr. President, to release Gen. Malong Awan from his current house arrest to attend to his fatherly obligations, including providing a decent funeral to his daughter. It is a travesty of justice that he should continue to be under house arrest uncharged, even at a time when he is asking for a permission to attend
to his deceased child’s burial, leave alone his medical needs.

Think about it, Mr. President. Not long ago, Gen. Malong defended the Constitution of the Republic and he risked it to save the country from “enemies of state.” Now that he is not holding a public office, should he not deserve better than his current post-relieve treatment?

As for the fear of unknown, we do not believe that he poses any threat to the peace and security of our nation more than the current rebellion.

If you have lost trust in Gen. Malong, then we suggest you swap his current personal bodyguards with soldiers you
trust more and allow him to travel home.

In a country that aspires to be democratic, it makes no sense to hold someone without charges past three days. Of course, it is totally unacceptable that some people in the Community have felt the compulsion to ventilate on social media regarding this issue.

We recognize that some of these remarks may have been a little too harsh.

As leaders of Mading Aweil in Diaspora, we thus apologize on their behalf unequivocally and unreservedly to Your Excellency, the President. Such comments or attendant divisive undertones have no place in our society.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is the will of the majority in Aweil Community in Diaspora that unlawful detention is deleterious and not allowing Gen. Malong to attend the funeral of his deceased daughter is equally unconscionable.

While we respectfully await your prompt response, please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of our
highest consideration.

Yours Sincerely;

Mr. Simon H. Angok
President, Aweil Community in Australia 13th / 09/ 2017
Mr. Atileo A. Deng
13th President, Aweil Community in Canada / 09/ b2017
Mr. Adim M. Puot
President, Aweil Community in USA 13th / 09 / 2017

GREATER MADING AWEIL COMMUNITIES IN DIASPORA
(AUSTRALIA – CANADA – THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
Date: Wednesday 13th September 2017

End conflict, bring peace & conduct true National Dialogue not Elections

BY: DANIEL JUOL NHOMNGEK, KAMPALA, UGANDA, SEP/14/2017, SSN;

For elections to be considered and declared to have been conducted freely and fairly, they must have been conducted in accordance with the law which represents the will of the people.

In respect to South Sudan, there are many speculations even from government officials that the government is planning to hold general elections in 2018. This is unacceptable and should be opposed by all South Sudanese who love South Sudan as a country.

Whereas the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan provides for the elections to be held regularly as a sign of democracy (see; Article 194) but where the elections are called and held in bad faith with the intention of maintaining power, then, such elections are in fact amounted to the breach of the Constitution itself.

In respect to “fair’ election, it means that all registered political parties have an equal right to contest the elections, campaign for voter support and hold meetings and rallies. This gives them a fair chance to convince voters to vote for them.

A fair election is also one in which all voters have an equal opportunity to register, where all votes are counted, and where the announced results reflect the actual vote totals.

The question is, if the elections are held in South Sudan, can they be free and fair? Of course not.

As things stand now, there are rampant insecurities that will not allow citizens to vote freely and fairly. In addition, many citizens are displaced within and majority are sent into exile.

As the UN report indicated since December 2013, the conflict has devastated the lives of millions of South Sudanese and more than 3.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

This shows that if the elections are held while the substantial section of the population is displaced then they will not be free and fair in the real meanings of the terms.

In other words, majority of the ethnicities making up South Sudan will not vote in the said general elections.

Thus, for free and fair elections to take place, there is a need for the government and the oppositions to come together to agree to end the conflict, bring peace to the country, return all displaced citizens and conduct true national dialogue.

Without these the free and fair elections will never take place in the country. Therefore, in my opinion, elections are not a priority in South Sudan.

For meaningful elections that are going to be free and fair to be held, the following should be done:

First, violent security Forces should be reformed; second, the amendment or repealing of the laws must be made to produce the laws that protect human rights; third the state controlled media should be made political neutral to ensure fair access for every citizen.

This will help candidates to express their views freely and be able to air out their opinions on national matters; Third, independent Election Commission should be formed to oversee the conduct of general elections; fourth, the independent interim government should be set up to help in implementing reforms as agreed by both the government and the oppositions;

Fifth, the Constitution-Making Body/Process should be formed and launched to write the constitution that will provide very clear two terms limit; after the peace is achieved, the true and genuine national dialogue should be conducted alongside the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with issues of accountability and reparation and finally the census should be conducted to know the number of eligible voters.

It is after all these are done, that is when the general elections that reflect the will of all South Sudanese can be held successfully.

In conclusion, I appeal to all South Sudanese to boycott the proposed elections by the government unless the above proposals or recommendations are implemented because allowing the government to go on the elections in the present situations, it will entrench the ineffective government that will reforms desired by South Sudanese impossible.

Consequently, if the reforms as stated above are not carried out, South Sudan will never achieve peace and the war will remain in the country indefinitely. It is therefore my passionate appeal as well as the international community, the AU, IGAD and East African Community not to allow the elections continue unless all the above mentioned reforms are conducted.

All South Sudanese should not sacrifice the future of South Sudanese for individuals’ interest to hold to power. We must stand up against all power hungry politicians to achieve the future South Sudan we want.

The Author is a lawyer by profession; he graduated with honors in law from Makerere University, School of Law. He participated in various workshops and training in community mobilization in awareness of their constitutional rights in Uganda. He is the member of Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) and NETPIL (Network of Public Interest Lawyers) at Makerere University; he is currently doing research with NETPIL on private prosecution; he is trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); he participated in writing Street Law Handbook on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Uganda. He is practicing with Onyango and Company Advocates Bunga—Ggaba, Road Kampala He is currently staying in Kampala Uganda where he is undertaking bar course training. He can be reached through juoldaniel@yahoo.com or +256784806333.

BREAKING News: U.S. sanctions Gen. Malek Rueben, ex-Gen. Paul Malong and Minister Michael Makuei & networks

US Dept of Treasury, FINCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) SEPT/06/2017, SSN;

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this Advisory to alert U.S. financial institutions about the possibility that certain South Sudanese senior political figures may try to use the U.S. financial system to move or hide proceeds of public corruption. This advisory reminds financial institutions of their due diligence and suspicious activity report (SAR) filing obligations related to such senior foreign political figures.[1]

It also highlights persons who have been subject to sanctions because of their actions threatening the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan. High-level political corruption can damage a nation’s economic growth and stability as it can interfere with the international community’s efforts to support and promote economic development, discourage foreign private investment, and foster a climate where financial crime and other forms of lawlessness can thrive.

Situation in South Sudan
The U.S. Department of State has been publicly documenting the unfolding situation in South Sudan.[2] As noted, in 2011, after a bloody and protracted conflict, the Republic of South Sudan gained formal independence from the Republic of Sudan. In 2013, a new political conflict began within the ruling party of the nascent South Sudanese nation, growing into a broader conflict.

An estimated 1.9 million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, with another two million displaced internally, including more than 200,000 civilians who have sought refuge in UN-protected camps within South Sudan. The warring parties have failed to adhere to an agreed ceasefire, leaving the civilian population suffering through widespread violence and atrocities, human rights abuses, recruitment and use of child soldiers, attacks on peacekeepers, and obstruction of humanitarian operations. The ongoing conflict also has resulted in widespread food insecurity.

South Sudanese Political Corruption
During this time of internal conflict and devastation, certain South Sudanese senior political officials, representing both the government and the opposition, have engaged in and profited from corrupt practices.[3] According to the U.S. Department of State, various forms of endemic corruption in South Sudan have increased since the beginning of the South Sudanese Civil War in December 2013. For example:

Abuse of position and use of shell companies: Government officials have regularly abused their positions to enrich themselves illegally under the guise of conducting government business. South Sudanese government corruption is often conducted through the use of shell companies belonging to the relatives of government officials.

Abuse of government contracting, particularly involving natural resources: Government officials misappropriate public funds outside the parliament-approved budget to supplement limited government salaries and to enrich themselves. Corrupt officials steer government contracts to businesses—particularly in the natural resource (oil and gas) sector—in which they, their family members, or close associates have some level of beneficial ownership and control.

Use of international financial system and real estate: The funds accumulated through the proceeds of South Sudanese corruption are moved to accounts outside of South Sudan. Once the funds are held in accounts in other countries, they are used to purchase real estate (among other things) in third countries.

Abuse of military procurement: South Sudan’s military spending is the highest in the region. Public reporting indicates that senior military officials in South Sudan have also engaged in corrupt practices similar to their political counterparts to enrich themselves, their families and associates. Corruption has been particularly egregious in the procurement of military matériel and services, which account for nearly half of South Sudan’s annual budget.

Abuse of military payrolls: Corruption in the military payroll system also is rampant: generals appear to routinely siphon off civilian budgets for their personal benefit or of their organizations, as well as to procure arms and supplies that have directly threatened the peace, stability, and security of South Sudan. Military commanders have even reportedly stolen soldiers’ salaries.

Another example is the proliferation of “ghost soldiers”—fictitious soldiers who only exist on payroll documents—has been identified by academics and journalists as one of the primary means by which funds are diverted to senior military officials.

Designated South Sudanese Persons
To further assist U.S. financial institutions’ efforts to protect the U.S. financial system from laundering the proceeds of corruption, FinCEN is providing information on South Sudan sanctions designations by the United States and the United Nations. Including the September 6, 2017 designations, the United States has now sanctioned nine South Sudanese persons and three companies.[4] The United Nations has sanctioned six of those same persons. As warranted, the United States may issue further designations related to South Sudan.

OFAC Designated Individuals and Entities

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated certain persons in South Sudan pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13664 (“Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan,” issued on April 3, 2014, placing them on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).[5]

The OFAC sanctions broadly prohibit U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, from engaging in transactions involving designated individuals and entities, including but not limited to the making or receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, for, or from such persons without a general or specific OFAC license or applicable exemption. For each designated person, all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that come within the United States, or that are or come within the possession or control of any U.S. person, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

United Nations Sanctioned Individuals

United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2206, adopted on March 3, 2015, established a global regime of targeted sanctions on individuals and entities to support the search for an inclusive and sustainable peace in South Sudan. The Security Council has renewed UN sanctions with respect to South Sudan annually, most recently in UNSCR 2353 (May 24, 2017). The UN sanctions are managed by a sanctions committee (Security Council Committee on South Sudan, or “Committee”).[6] The UN sanctions place a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals and entities designated by the Committee as responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan.[7] Member states of the United Nations are required to administer and enforce domestic sanctions in compliance with UN sanctions regimes.

Suspicious Activity Reporting

A financial institution may be required to file a SAR if it knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect a transaction conducted or attempted by, at, or through the financial institution involves funds derived from illegal activity, or attempts to disguise funds derived from illegal activity; is designed to evade regulations promulgated under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA); lacks a business or apparent lawful purpose; or involves the use of the financial institution to facilitate criminal activity.[14]

Additional SAR reporting guidance on Senior Foreign Political Figures

In April 2008, FinCEN issued Guidance to assist financial institutions with reporting suspicious activity regarding proceeds of foreign corruption.[15] A related FinCEN SAR Activity Review, which focused on foreign political corruption, also discusses indicators of transactions that may be related to proceeds of foreign corruption.[16] Financial institutions may find this Guidance and the SAR Activity Review useful in assisting with suspicious activity monitoring and due diligence requirements related to senior foreign political figures.

SAR filing instructions

When filing a SAR, financial institutions should provide all pertinent available information in the SAR form and narrative. FinCEN further requests that financial institutions select SAR field 35(l) (Suspected Public/Private Corruption (Foreign)) and reference this advisory by including the key term:

“SOUTH SUDAN”
in the SAR narrative and in SAR field 35(z) (Other Suspicious Activity-Other) to indicate a connection between the suspicious activity being reported and the persons and activities highlighted in this advisory.

SAR reporting, in conjunction with effective implementation of due diligence requirements and OFAC obligations by financial institutions, has been crucial to identifying money laundering and other financial crimes associated with foreign and domestic political corruption. SAR reporting is consistently beneficial and critical to FinCEN and U.S. law enforcement analytical and investigative efforts, OFAC designation efforts, and the overall security and stability of the U.S. financial system.[17]

For Further Information

Additional questions or comments regarding the contents of this advisory should be addressed to the FinCEN Resource Center at FRC@fincen.gov . Financial institutions wanting to report suspicious transactions that may potentially relate to terrorist activity should call the Financial Institutions Toll-Free Hotline at (866) 556-3974 (7 days a week, 24 hours a day). The purpose of the hotline is to expedite the delivery of this information to law enforcement. Financial institutions should immediately report any imminent threat to local-area law enforcement officials.

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FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.

Pres. Kiir continue to suffocate standards of his own Ceasefire: PR

AUG/31/2017; Contact: Daniel Zingifuaboro

On the 22nd of May 2017, in Juba, President Salva Kiir inaugurated an exclusive national dialogue and announced a unilateral ceasefire. SSNMC agree in principle the need for South Sudan national dialogue so as to help heal the wounds in our hearts and in our society and bring sustainable peace so badly needed by the people of South Sudan.

However, SSNMC doubt whether President Kiir is doing this in good faith or it is a political spin to confuse South Sudanese, regional and international bodies to maintain his grip on power. The later is proving to be true.

First, lets talk about the unilateral ceasefire. Salva Kiir continues to call on all opposition groups to renounce violence, put their arms down and return to Juba for his so-called implementation of Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS); while at the same time continues to asphyxiate standards of his own unilateral ceasefire.

If the opposition groups had accepted the phony call of Salva Kiir to put down their guns and walk to Juba for the national dialogue, what would have happened to them in the many areas that Salva Kiir has launched unprovoked military attacks (Maiwut, Pagak, Yei, Maridi, Raja, to mentioned but a few)?

This would have amounted to total annihilation of the oppositions similar to what he attempted in July 2017 when SPLM-IO came in good faith to implement the ARCSS, and later were attacked and chased out of Juba. Is he immune from his own unilateral ceasefire?

Why should he not lead by example by denouncing violence himself? Salva Kiir can fool people most of the time but not all the time.

The current forged First Vice President is by his own or being used to destroy the Nuer people and other ethnic groups. He is unhappy with the IGAD’s prospect of ARCSS “revitalization”, supported by Troika’s view that the current TGoNU is “absolute”.

Therefore, the continuous claims by the fake TGoNU of full implementation of ARCSS is an absolute fib designed by its architects to confuse, delay or derail the peace process and in order to create an impression in minds of IGAD, AU, UN and others that things are okay. IGAD and the International bodies should know very well that things are not right in South Sudan.

They equally know that the self-proclaimed national dialogue is exclusive, not transparent and is conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation such that no one can freely express their views without being apprehended or persecuted.

For example, on 20th of August 2017, Radio Tamazuj reported that a Journalist by name Mr. Peter Moi Julius was kidnapped and killed at Gudele residential area in Juba on the night of the 19th August 2017.

This brings the magnitude of media oppression, lack of freedom of expression and killing of journalists in South Sudan to 58 so far.

IGAD and the entire international bodies are fully aware that the Government of South Sudan has abrogated several agreements including its own unilateral ceasefire.

They know that the current TGoNU is “absolute”. They know that South Sudan is a hostage to tribal elites called the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). They know that President Kiir is implementing his “16 reservations” on ARCSS instead of implementing ARCSS in letter and spirit.

They should know that South Sudan is importing weapons from Russia as reported by African Press on 30th August 2017.

The people of South Sudan are suffering, but according to the actions of President Kiir, they deserve nothing other than to die. SSNMC would like to assert that things are not Okay at all in South Sudan.

Majority of South Sudanese intellectuals are predicting that South Sudan is heading to a very protracted conflict if the IGAD, AU, UN, Troika and others do not act quick enough to avert this catastrophe.

Second, lets thrash out the national dialogue. Human rights organizations have repeatedly reported about abuses across the country. They have indicated that there is no freedom of expression and association for people to air out their views without fear of being persecuted.

As we write, there are attacks launched by the same government in various areas, and lawmakers in Lakes State are arbitrarily detained for simply expressing their views on the national dialogue.

Hence, there are clear indications that anyone who freely express contrary views on issues
causing conflict in South Sudan are targeted, apprehended and/or killed. SSNMC maintains that for national dialogue to be successful, the mandate should emerge from a consensus among the stakeholders to ensure that all participants, even those on the fringes, agree to the mandate.

It is our conviction that before the national dialogue would take place, all must agree to lay down their arms; government to lift the ongoing state of emergency; release all political detainees and open corridors for humanitarian assistance as pre-requisite for national
dialogue.

This will create conducive atmosphere for people to gather and express themselves on national issues without victimization.

In conclusion, the international bodies and human rights groups should watch what is happening in South Sudan with care, especially the recent war in Maiwut and Pagak. The JCE has paralyzed the South Sudanese society.

For example, the case of JCE who are using the forged First Vice President to destroy his own Nuer Community and others for personal gains. In essence when a tribal elite group motivates another tribal elite groups to fight its own people is tantamount to genocide.

The perpetrators call this “counterinsurgency” plan. They loot South Sudanese resources and use it against the South Sudanese and to keep their grip on power. They loan money to stockpile weapons, including chemical weapons, to destroy their own people instead of feeding them.

For example, the African Press report cited above that South Sudan is importing weapons from Russia. If the reports from Pagak are to be believed then, this could be an opportunity for IGAD, AU, UN, Troika and others to investigate the weapons captured by the SPLM/A-IO in Pagak from the genocide orchestrated by the JCE and carried out by Taban Deng Gai on his own Nuer people.

There are anecdotal evidence that Taban Deng Gai is flying with money, bribing South Sudanese and Non-South Sudanese to carry out his brutal agenda to maintain his forged position of First Vice President at the expense of the innocent folks of South Sudan.

His desperate attempt to maintain grip on power has forced him to resort to kidnapping Refugees in East Africa to be deported to Juba to prove his loyalty to President Kiir and the JCE.

SSNMC solely agree with US Senators Bob Corker and Christopher A. Coons’ letter to the US Secretary of the Treasury, the Hon. Steven Mnuchin, on August 1, 2017 to “cut off the free flow of resources to political and military elites” in South Sudan, which makes them to “enrich themselves and fuel violence.”

The dimensions of conflict in South Sudan are becoming complex day-by-day. It is paramount to act now than to let things go out of hand. Such move will precipitate peace and stop South Sudanese tribal elites from enriching themselves while maintaining their grip on power at the expense of the suffering folks of South Sudan.
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August 31, 2017
Contact: Daniel Zingifuaboro,
South Sudan National Movement for Change, SSNMC
Phone: +61 474 047 016
Email: Daniel.isbon@gmail.com

No Country for Civilians…..The Largest Exodus ever from war-torn South Sudan!

The sudden exodus from war-torn South Sudan is the largest Africa has seen since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

BY: Jason Patinkin, Foreign Policy.com, SEPT/31/2017, SSN;

KAJO KEJI, South Sudan — Brig. Gen. Moses Lokujo stood in the ruins of Loopo, a strategic hilltop village in South Sudan’s lush southern Equatoria region. Less than two miles to the east, telephone poles poked over a green ridge, marking the outskirts of Kajo Keji, the seat of the county of the same name, where rebels under Lokujo’s command stared down government forces across a deserted marketplace, one of dozens of front lines in a grinding, three-year civil war that no one was winning.

It was late April, about two weeks after the South Sudanese army had attacked Loopo from the southwest, blasting through two lines of rebel defenses and wreaking havoc through the village. When the government forces eventually retreated to their base along the Ugandan border, the rebels moved back in to find the place destroyed. The homes were torched, the shops looted. A rocket-propelled grenade had cratered the wall of a primary school building, leaving behind sheaves of white ash that used to be books.

The army had attacked again, flanking the rebel positions around Kajo Keji just days before I arrived, but Lokujo’s men had repulsed them under heavy fire. “This is my location,” said Lokujo, a tall, well-built ethnic Kuku armed with a quick laugh and a black 9 mm pistol strapped to his hip. “The enemies will not come out and kill our civilians.”

The reality is that in Kajo Keji, as in much of war-torn South Sudan, there aren’t many civilians left to protect. Loopo was a ghost town except for Lokujo’s troops. The rest of Kajo Keji county, once home to perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, has emptied amid a civil war that has become one of the world’s worst, with government and rebel soldiers murdering and raping civilians for their ethnicity or suspected political affiliations.

Since 2013, tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of people have been killed across South Sudan, though no one is really counting. Untold more have died of starvation and disease. Around a third of the population — estimated to be up to 12 million before the war — have fled their homes.

In the last year alone, 1 million South Sudanese have flooded into Uganda, including three-quarters of Kajo Keji’s population, amid what the U.N. has described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing. It is the largest sudden exodus in Africa since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

So Kajo Keji is now a land of soldiers. The army, largely consisting of a notorious ethnic Dinka militia called the Mathiang Anyoor, controls key border posts and towns along the road to the national capital of Juba, while the rebels roam the hilly countryside. In between are empty villages, burned huts, and silence. Dense bush overtakes abandoned fields. For three days, I traveled across the county from west to east and didn’t see another car. With a few exceptions, the only people I met were rebels.

“Bush is for guerrillas,” said Victor Moses, a rebel who joined Lokujo in February. And the guerrillas, Moses said, aren’t going anywhere. “We are ready to fight even for more than five years or 10 years or 20 years.”

Moses and the rest of Lokujo’s soldiers are part of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition, the country’s main rebel force. The IO, as it is called, was born in 2013 when the national army, called the SPLA, split following a massacre of ethnic Nuer citizens in Juba by Dinka troops loyal to President Salva Kiir.

In subsequent days, Nuer army units defected across the country’s swampy northeast and, along with Nuer youth militia, sought to avenge the deaths of their brethren in Juba. Banding together under the leadership of former Vice President Riek Machar, himself a Nuer, they massacred Dinka civilians and others, plunging the country into a cycle of violence that continues today.

Machar remains at the helm of the IO, but he has been in South Africa since December 2016, after a brief unity government fell apart and he was chased into exile. Meanwhile, mechanized government troops have routed the Nuer rebel units in the northeast, where most of the fighting occurred from 2013 to 2016. As a result, the war has shifted south to the region that snakes along the porous borders with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, making Equatorian troops a dominant group within the IO. Victor Moses is one of those troops.

Born in Kajo Keji in the 1960s, he joined the SPLA in 1987, back when it was a rebel group fighting the Arab-dominated government of then-united Sudan. That war ended in 2005, setting the stage for South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Peace was good, he said, but the abuses by Kiir’s government and his allies in the army became too great. So this year, he deserted his post in Juba, came home to Kajo Keji, and went back to war. “If the government reforms, then well and good. If it doesn’t reform, then the government will reform through fire,” he said.

The blackboard in a classroom in Kajo Keji county still shows the instructions for a social studies paper assigned before the conflict broke out.

The first night I stayed with them, the rebels camped in a cluster of primary school buildings that once accommodated some 400 students. In one classroom, guns and combat boots lined the wall beneath a blackboard that still listed instructions for some long-canceled social studies paper. The next day, during the visit to Loopo, I saw a ransacked classroom with the same instructions on the blackboard, suggesting that people fled simultaneously across the county. It was not a slow exodus but an immediate, sudden emptying. “It’s really painful,” said Scopas Peter, a local chief who stayed well behind the front lines. “If there is no education, that means you have lost the future of this place.”

In the mornings, the rebels brushed their teeth, drank tea, and gave each other haircuts. Younger soldiers played with a pet monkey that had the honorary rank of lance corporal. When they patrolled in their pickups, piled in the back with weapons bristling, the rebels sang and teased. Near a displacement camp in the west of the county, where the few remaining civilians have taken refuge, the men whistled as they passed a group of young women walking toward the Ugandan border. The women giggled and waved back. “Beyoncé,” one rebel whispered as the women disappeared out of sight, provoking much laughter from his colleagues. Another soldier, a tall ethnic Mundari with a pointed goatee, shook his head, declaring that he didn’t want a South Sudanese wife. “My first wife is Arab. The next one must be Australian or American,” he said. “It is important to mix.”

Besides Mundaris, Lokujo’s troops count ethnic Kuku, Kakwa, Bari, and a handful of Nuer soldiers who shifted south to fight in Equatoria. With the allegiance of fighters from around the country, such diversity should be the IO’s chief strength as they fight the Dinka-dominated government. But Machar has been unable to manage the mix.

Non-Nuer soldiers have defected from Machar to join other rebel leaders not affiliated with the IO, accusing him of favoring his Nuer tribespeople. In late July, west of Kajo Keji, fighting broke out between Nuer and Equatorian rebels within the IO after one of Machar’s most powerful Equatorian generals defected and joined a rival insurgency. But Lokujo’s forces have remained under Machar, launching attacks on government positions even as Equatorian and Nuer rebels battle each other just hours away.

Foot soldiers donned berets, baseball caps, floppy fisher’s hats, faux fur bucket hats, and Elmer Fudd hunting caps.

The diversity of the rebels in Kajo Keji mirrored their ragtag appearance. One officer wore a shining green police helmet, another a tiger-striped cowboy hat. Foot soldiers donned berets, baseball caps, floppy fisher’s hats, faux fur bucket hats, and Elmer Fudd hunting caps. They wore camouflage army fatigues, blue police uniforms, jeans, T-shirts, windbreakers, and winter jackets. On their feet were rubber rain boots, worn-out sneakers, and flip-flops. Some sported black leather combat boots, shined each morning by a soldier who doubled as Lokujo’s personal photographer.

Their armory was just as eclectic. They carried AK-47 and M16 assault rifles, PKM light machine guns, homemade shotguns, and Bulgarian rocket-propelled grenades. One soldier had a battered Czech submachine gun. Another wielded a flare gun built by a company in Florida. A young insurgent, looking barely 18, cradled an ancient-looking grenade with a wooden handle. Another packed a wooden bow with jagged, steel-tipped arrows in a fur-lined quiver. Unlike the government, which has purchased weapons through Uganda, the rebels have no major arms supplier. Nearly all of their kit has been stolen from the government in battle, including Lokujo’s pistol, which the general slapped on a plastic table before each meal at the abandoned primary school.

“I took it from an NSS officer I killed,” Lokujo said of his side arm, referring to the National Security Service, a government paramilitary force. Sure enough, engraved on the gun’s side were the letters NSS, right above a stamp reading, “Made in Israel.”

At night, the rebels feasted on boiled pork, taken from abandoned farms. Goats and cows were off limits unless purchased because the rebels considered them the property of the people, but pigs were plentiful and destroyed crops, so local chiefs declared them fair game for the IO. With ample food, the men boasted that conditions were better in the bush than in the government barracks, where soldiers often sit for months without pay. “They tell us that we are thieves,” a radio operator nicknamed Lima Tango said of the government forces. “And we tell them we are living better than them.”

Lima Tango had been a secondary school student in Uganda but dropped out this year after government soldiers razed his father’s fields back home in South Sudan. Without money from the farm, he couldn’t afford the school fees, so he joined the IO. Many others in Lokujo’s unit were also new to war. There were child soldiers who looked no older than 15 and criminals, too. One man had been locked up in Kajo Keji for having sex with 13-year-old girl but joined the rebels after they broke into the jail and released all the prisoners. There was one woman among the fighters, Jane, who had her own room in the school building. In the mornings, she brewed the tea before picking up her M16.

Samuel Lokujo, who is not related to the commander, was a taxi driver when the war broke out. In December 2015, he was taking passengers to Juba when gunmen ambushed his vehicle. He ran and hid in the forest. When the gunshots stopped, he ventured back to find his passengers, two women and two men, dead with their belongings looted. The men who attacked Lokujo’s car wore plain clothes, but he believes they were government troops. So later that night, he waited outside a bar in Kajo Keji where a group of Dinka soldiers were drinking. When one of them stumbled out, he shot him with a bow and arrow, took his AK-47, and fled to the bush to join the IO. He was still carrying the same rifle in April.

“They have been shooting me with this one. Now I have this one,” he said, showing off the weapon in the morning sunlight as Jane brewed tea over a nearby campfire. “They are a man. I am also now a man.”

The rebels took a mystical view of their fight. The former taxi driver Lokujo wore charms around his neck with bits of supposedly magic tree bark meant to protect him from grenades. The rebels credit forest spirits for a key victory at a place called Jokat, where they blocked the government’s advance. According to their legend, a tree fell across the road, trapping an army convoy and allowing them to kill the army soldiers and capture two vehicles and many weapons. After the battle, they claimed, the tree righted itself. They believed history was on their side, too. “Definitely we are going to win,” Brig. Gen. Lokujo said, pointing to a mountain that once served as a base for the Anyanya, a southern Sudanese rebel group that fought in the area in the 1960s. “We are following the footsteps of our forefathers.”

One person they didn’t assign mystical qualities was Machar, who has portrayed himself as the rightful leader of South Sudan according to a Nuer prophecy. Though the rebels in Kajo Keji recognized Machar as their leader, none venerated him personally, and they dismissed the idea that the IO was Machar’s personal force. They also scoffed at his sidelining in South Africa. “Even if he is no longer with us, still the war will go ahead,” Moses said. “The movement is not belonging to him. The movement is a movement of the people, and people are the ones who fought.”

But the people are also the ones bearing the brunt of the war. Dozens of civilians have been killed in Kajo Keji alone, mostly by government forces. Rebels to the east, meanwhile, have repeatedly attacked road convoys, indiscriminately firing on civilians and soldiers alike. It’s impossible to say how many IO soldiers have died in Kajo Keji. The officers insisted that they rarely lose men in battle, but they also sought to hide their wounded. In one medical clinic west of Loopo, they told us that a young man with a gunshot wound in his abdomen was a civilian. Later, he was manning a rebel checkpoint.

The only other patient in that clinic was a young boy with malaria with his parents and baby sister. The small family had earlier fled to the forest after government forces burned their village. They stayed for a month in the bush, surviving on wild fruits and leaves, before returning to their village. The clinic’s doctor, a former SPLA physician named Mike Abut Ali, said the boy had come for malaria treatment twice that week, but due to a government blockade of aid deliveries to rebel-held areas, he had only enough drugs to administer half doses each time. Ali begged for aid groups to defy the blockade and deliver medicine. “You cannot forget us. We are not animals. We are human beings, like you,” he said, cradling a rifle as the small family sat on a stoop nearby. “In the government side, you do assist there, but here you don’t assist.”

The next day, bumping along the county’s orange dirt roads in their pickups, the soldiers sang their favorite war song, vowing to bring “fire” to Kiir, the Mathiang Anyoor, and the Dinka. “Seven years! Six years!” they chanted — a prediction of how long they would fight. “Forget your wife! Forget your child!” At one point, the boisterous rebels drove past the small family we had met at the clinic.

The parents, carrying their malaria-stricken son and baby girl, were walking west toward the displacement camps and the Ugandan border. They were one more family leaving South Sudan, a land that is no country for civilians.

Jason Patinkin is a journalist covering East Africa.