We, Collo Community Council would like to send this brotherly letter to you so that you may review your position in regard to the annexation of Collo land in eastern side of Nile to the newly formed state called Eastern Upper Nile State.
Both communities namely Collo and Jieng co-existed for centuries without any kind of land grabbing or conflict in related to land issues. They were living in peace and harmony colored by intermarriage which bound them together and it created intimate relationship which no one can deny.
Collo was astonished in early 1980s, when certain elements in Jieng community started to claim that all lands in eastern side of Nile belong to them and all Collo Communities living in that side for five centuries must evacuate it and go to western side of Nile.
Those elements in Panigur meeting called by Late Dr. John Garang came up again with that request, but Dr. Garang rejected it by giving them the historical background that Malakal is a Collo land.
Unfortunately, the untimely death claimed the life of Chairman of SPLM/A, Dr. John Garang. Sadly, the present government has executed the agenda of anti-peace elements within Padang Jieng in Upper Nile.
Indeed, the Collo Council is hereby requesting reasonable thinking on your side about the claim made by your community in regard to Collo land.
As faithful Christians let’s look critically to what the Bible is teaching us “Never move an old boundary mark that your ancestors established” (Prov.22:28), also the Bible says ‘Never move an old mark or take over land owned by orphans for the Lord is their powerful defender, he will argue their case against you.’ (Prov.23:10-11).
Brethren, the ambitious scheme of land occupation is not an easy task to be attained because no single community will accept any invader to take away the ancestral land.
Moreover, you as community leaders must fully understand that the scheme of claiming Collo land is going to victimize your community and spoil healthy relationship between two communities that co-existed for centuries without trouble and war.
Be assured that the government which supports such ill-intended project is destroying your community and exposing you to danger, whole magnitude no one can tell you.
Honestly, neither Salva Kiir nor other Jieng communities will be there at the time fueling the fire of this criminal land grabbing project. Therefore, wish you to be mindful of the interest of your community; in having good neighborhood living with Collo.
You may want to be reminded that Collo community knows the consequence of war because they fought deadly wars with invaders such as the Turks and the Mahdists but never fought its neighbors.
Indeed, let’s examine our ways and turn back to the spirit of peaceful co-existence. We should be aware that the thought of pain, homelessness are bitter poison that will keep each community to stand for their rights.
Collo community is asking Padang Jieng to refrain from aggressive behavior; you shouldn’t think that the Collo community is weak when they didn’t react to President Kiir decision of giving away Pijo. They were hoping that matter would be resolved peaceful. But the same mistake is being repeated by the President.
We advise you to reject the decree of instituting Jieng state in Collo land as that will be the best way to ensure peace and tranquility in the area.
In case you don’t want to accept our advice and you are not ready to associate yourselves with Collo community in Upper Nile, that is your choice and it is respected, but we want your community to approach the office of President to make a second decree to institute your headquarters in one of your four counties and leave Collo land in peace.
So many people misunderstood Collo when they rejected creation of Eastern Upper Nile State that takes Collo land without its people.
President Kiir can protect the interest of Jieng by giving them a state in their own ancestors land and no one will have quarrel with such, but the problem come when he annexed other people’s land to Jieng.
The question of forcing Collo community to go to western side of Nile as only option to have relationship between Jieng and Collo will not materialize. Often it only remains fractional like the one of Israel and Palestine.
As Jieng leaders, you must be assured that instability and insecurity is more on your side. We know that you can take your wise decisions for benefit of your community. But any emotional or irrational decision will produce instability in Upper Nile state as whole.
We approach you in this appeal as brothers to foresee the negative consequence of the annexation of Collo land in eastern side of Nile without being part of that state.
Please see what the Bible is saying ‘Don’t be like the wicked who scheme to rob honest people or take away their houses, no matter how often honest people fall, they always get up against, but disaster destroys the wicked.’ (Prov.24:15-16).
Moreover, the Bible puts it clear that ‘People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed.’ (Prov. 26:27)
Finally, we send you this brotherly letter in order to revisit the presidential decree for the creation of new state for you in Collo land, observe its benefits and consequences and try to weigh it thoroughly, we are ready to sit down as a family to sort out the issue if you are ready to denounce the decree as a starting point.
Samson Oyay Awin
Chairman of Collo Community Council in Khartoum
CC. United Nation Council
CC. Human Right Commission
CC. Rt. Majesty, Reth Kwongo Dak
CC. Collo Intellectuals Committee