Cold and hot wars: The contentious animosity between Nuer and Dinka tribes of South Sudan


Since our country officially became independent on July 9, 2011, which was our collective success, our jubilation faded away after a couple of months because there are people in South Sudan government who cling on their own tactics to fight a cold war against the people of South Sudan, or Nuer tribes, in particular. For the past seven and half years, a millions of dollar has been spent on destruction and trying to bribe others to help a few leaders build their own Empire, for some it is just a shrinking business, for many these was money that should have been better spent on building peace or on development in South Sudan.

I want to take you back to the genesis of contentious animosity between the two cousins, Nuer and Dinka. I have been thinking why there is an enormous hatred between these tribes, because I have been seen the twisted face of hatred. In 1988 we crammed on the Red Tank routed from Baydit of Manyadeng as the local people call it, to Anyidi then to Ajakger and from Ajakger to Gumuruk of Murle territory, an overweight captain three times my size, by the name of Thon Lual slapped me on the face just because I said something in Nuer language.

The only thing I remember was hearing Mr. Lual saying, *NYAGAAT CIN RAN JAM THONGE NUER.* From there on I changed. Not only because I was slapped, but because I was much disturbed by the blatant outpouring of joy from the other Dinka boys who are clearly glad because a Nuer son was humiliated.

South Sudan is a country today, it must be a good idea if we go back and seriously pondered on the worst deeds we did to ourselves. I go back on time and discover that the contentious animosity between Dinka and Nuer was a chronic disease that we needed to give some consideration before we talk about a country and development. Let us go back to what I term as Cold and Hot War: Contentious animosity between Nuer and Dinka.

Dinka Cold War against Nuer:
In the year 1839, when an Egyptian expedition flotilla which tried to discover the source of the White Nile approached a Nuer village on the east bank of Bahr Al-jabal, known today as Fangak, that was inhabited by Jagei Laak and Thiang, the villager flocked to the shore of the river to look at the new sight of large sailing vessels on the river. With the same gesture typical to the Nuer when faced with a surprise, they sacrificed an Ox before returning to their villages.

The Egyptians, however, were confused about the killing of an animal, and then their suspicious where confirmed by a Dinka soldier serving as interpreter, who maliciously and wrongly told the Egyptians that the killing of the animal by the Nuer meant that they were ready to kill you.

Next day, the Nuer villagers returned with gift of goats and tobacco to the Egyptian boat, but when the Dinka soldier again told his masters that the tobacco was poison, the Egyptian soldiers instantaneously opened fire, killing one Nuer, and wounding a few. At this point, Nuer hostility toward foreigners was pushed into high gear. This was intentionally done by the Dinka soldier who regarded Nuer as powerful enemies against Dinka. (Wilson 1903-13)

Again in 1899, the Dinka Leaders who contacted the new government with the stories of Nuer atrocities and belligerence were the same leaders who had been expulsed by Ngundeng and expelled by Deng Lakka. Since they became the government they became subjects whom the government was honor bound to protect. Their largely unfounded report against Nuer aggression forced the government to the legendary confrontation with Ngundeng. Subsequently, the governor of Upper Nile province led patrols against Lou Nuer, the most important homestead of Gun Lou Nuer which was burned and much of their livestock captured.

Despite the despoliation by government soldiers and their Dinka auxiliaries, Ngundeng and most of Lou refused to give battle, it was later confirmed by Dinka informants that Nuer give up fighting because they always felt sorry for Nyarraweng (Nuer-Bil) and Ngok Dinka whom always enjoyed good relationship with Nuer and never wanted trouble. (Wilson 1905)

Another Dinka Cold War against Nuer:
In 1983-84 the jubilation from South Sudanese to join the SPLA/M Liberation force was enormous compared to the jubilation to vote for referendum. Both are reverses by SPLA/M of it being tribalistic, and racist movement as it was and up to date. For the first time of its inception the conduct of SPLA forces was chaotic, with many murders against the civilian population. Especially against Eastern Nuer of Gajaak who had good relation with the separatist movement of Anyanya II.

From the commencement of the movement early inauguration between 1983-7, the SPLM political deployment took a sharp on the tribal line where the Twich Dinka were given significant opportunity for a reason to join and attain military strategic places, with the purpose to defend themselves against the neighboring tribes such as Nuer, Murle, Toposa and Mundari. As it was clear when John Garang gave a speech in Fugnido Refugee camp in 1989, seventy five percent of his speech was all against Late Samuel Gai Tut Yang, Nyanya I, Nyanya II, and their so-called wicked belief for South Sudan independence.

This proved my suspicions that John Garang was a tangible Arab proxy who tried to stop Southerners from achieving their goal of South-Sudan independence. As the story suggested that Garang was not part of revolution, he first tried to stop it, but when things got tough, he followed them anyway to keep his dirty secret of making sure South-Sudan independence will not be achieved.

I should say, unapologetically, in a heart-beat that his death was a blessing in disguise, for Southerners, but great tragedy to the people of Abyei, Nuba Mountains and Ingesena, who all shared his view of a secular united Sudan.

When the historic Nasir declaration was announced on August 28, 1991, by two former members of the High Command of the SPLA, Riek Machar and Lam Akol issued a radio message that called for the removal of Garang from leadership. Initially, Machar and Akol blamed their defection from the SPLA/M on the dictatorial leadership of Garang, and on the accusation that Garang committed countless human rights abuses against SPLA/M members. This announcement opened a huge door for Nyanya II rebels who had great grumbles against the SPLA/SPLM leader and his Dinka tribe.

Nyanya II rebels quickly rushed to Bor areas in great excitement for the first time in a decade, and the result was historic. Beich State commander, Simon Gatwich Dual, who is recently now arrested by Dinka conspirators in Juba, was the commander who protected Bor Dinka from being attacked by Anyanya II groups, since he became an ally who offered no resistance and the result was catastrophic.

For the first time in the history of Nuer and Dinka animosity, Late George Athors army killed forty seven civilian in Fangak County in the summer of 2009, and for second time in 2011, after South Sudan referendum vote. Again late George army killed one hundred and thirty two (132) civilians in Phom Chuol Deang. Then Fangak sons and daughters in the army intervened. Now Fangak people are happy that late George Athor is too power-less to kill them again. Hey, they cannot be too sure.

SPLA/M soldiers with big guns opened fire on Fangak Nuer indiscriminately on men, women and even children after a battle with fighters belonging to their minority ethnic group, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians, according to witness accounts contained in confidential U.N. reports. A U.N. team that traveled to the Nile River village 11 days after the April 23 killings saw more than two dozen corpses and said grass-roofed mud huts clearly contained many more bodies, the team confirmed the death toll of two hundred and fifty seven (254) dead civilians.

But the number given by a local official is 389 which have not been independently verified by UN-teams. Despite all these killings, Junglei state authority never paid a visit to Fangak County. All these killings are taking place in Fangak Nuer, plus various massacres of over a thousand people in Uror, Akobo and Mayom Counties from western Nuer. If you do the math, a quarter of people who voted for the independence of South Sudan are robbed of their lives by their own government which claimed to protect them only a couple of months before they celebrated the birth of South Sudan Nation.

Inarguably, the worst part is there is no justice for their lives, and worse than this, the military prison somewhere in Equatoria is stamped with people who has been wrongfully accused of trying to assassinate Benydit Salva Kiir Mayardit. People, if SPLA/M learned anything from its extensive failure and butchery, they should recognize that Samuel Gai Tut Yang death will forever stalk the SPLM down for many years to come, unlike the death of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese leaders who are slayed in cold blood by those fictitious to-be the leaders of our nation today, shame on them.

In conclusion, I should argue that our government violent attitude toward its own citizens would produce more militants and more crimes, but less economic stability. For example, killing of Nuer in all four counties, intimidation methods, persecution without due process, incarceration punishment, would produce public outcry.

The fact that the government claims to be a democratic government, it should act like one. It should only react to unlawful violent behavior without any repression. That means to identify the criminal and disengage the suspect from wrong doing. In short, Southerners should declare an all-out war against outlaw militants and that should eradicate the bad elements in our society.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author and not the website)
For concern, comment or question please do not hesitated to part with me @; or
Thank and take care!!
Pajok Kong Kulang, USA:


  1. Awil Liero says:

    Go stupid tribalistic Kong for trying to glorify Violence- Nuer backward act… History tells us Nuers are big fans of anything New… Majority of Gen. Athor’s foot soldiers were Lou Nuer and Murle, so they killed their own fellow Nuer Fangak if your claim is true..


  2. Marko says:

    What an idiotic article. I could not even hold myself to finish reading it all. You idiot, South Sudan is not just Nuer and Dinka. You should first get your facts straight, and then come and argue. Your writing tells me you know nothing about Sudan history. Do not just search a web, find an article about Sudan history, and then believe it to be true. FYI, not every thing written on Internet bears truth to it. You are a shallow-minded person I have ever met. How could you judge the entire tribe of Dinka because of your bad experience with one individual? The hatred between Dinka and Nuer that you are talking about just exists in the shallow mind of yours and your likes. Please if you have nothing to say, then shut up. I wonder why the South Sudan nation editorial committee allows these kinds of rubbish to be published. Is this website being run by Nuer shallow-minded individual like the writer of this article? Shame on you, editors, for publishing this kind of nonsense. You should only allow the publication of the articles that bear some truthfulness in them. You editors have the courage and post my comment, if you are not shallow-minded like the author of this article.
    P.S. From Editor: We have the courage, Marko, to published your emotional comment, but do you have the courage to accept the writer’s personal views, after all he’s entitled to them?

  3. Michael Manut Lual says:

    Brother marko, thank you for your advice to web, for them the publishing the nonsense not the truth but what I have recovered from they are the ones who promoted such kind of life and triblisma. Like what Pajok say, they are encouraging it. Shame on them. And Pajok is like his uncle Simon Gatwich, shame on you, Pajok…
    Manut Michael is in RSS twic mayardit county he can be reached at

  4. Lok Franco Kok says:

    South Sudan is, and will continue to be seared by the flame of tribal hatred, if the youth will not quit to follow the footsteps of their wrong leaders. Mr. Marko, from his comment is among those kindling fire on dry grass. Nobody is perfect, but life is a good teacher for a person who needs to learn. No one is happy for the all mess our young Nation is going through. The unity of all tribes could be the strength of our new country, and that’s everyone’s desire. Let’s stop provoking tribal conflict, instead put our concentration on how to develop this nation.

  5. Research has shown considerable mentality and social organization of Nuer people of South Sudan. Nuer lacks any sort of organization in their livelihood, that’s why you see them jumping into conclusion before any bit of consultation. This issue of war and warrior is a fake idea since Nuer are primitive in every aspect and this is proved by series of defection of their senior commanders during liberation struggle………….for more details regarding Nuer social set-up, read more about them by Evans-Pritchard.

  6. Benydit. says:

    Mr Pajok,
    Bad thing is that you didn’t talk about Bor massacre which your fellow tribesmates committed, #Riek Machar Teny and his old friend Dr Lam Akol. Your Nuer leaders especially Riek are responsible of George Athor’s death because of your wishful thinking that he might overthrow mighty SPLM/A as you claim……….don’t talk about civilians who were killed in Fangak, don’t you think hosting militia can led to loss of lives…….., Please don’t publish this kind of article if you really want people to have people in South Sudan…..Benydit is in Bangalore city,India and i can be reached @

  7. Bany Both Ruach says:

    Are we really primitive? Do you think that without Nuer south Sudan could get its independence? Who were the first people to defect against Khartoum government? You greedy people, how can you compare yourself to us? You even sold our land out for personal interest, did that happen in Nuer? That happened because you Dinka think that you are wiser than others. My last message to both Nuer and Dinka is that, let us leave those past things, let us unite to develop our country. Both of us are south Sudanese citizens.

    • Marko says:

      If Dinkas are not wiser than the other tribe in S.Sudan, at least they’re wiser than Nuers like yourself and your likes. You have a tendency to jump to the conclusion. Tell me he could; your Dr. Back-stabber be credited for the independence of our nation. Do not get me wrong, there are many patriotic, but Dr. Backstabber and his likes are not among them. If Dinka are greedy, then you guys are food lovers, who could do the improbable just to fill his stomach. Both of you, the writer of this article and yourself are agents of intolerance in S. Sudan. You idiot, do not let hatred blind you, it will not take you any where.

  8. kib kor says:

    marko you are an agent of intolerance, just like Kiir and Riek
    we will ship in more guns but spare the women and children please!

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