BY: DARIUS TONGU SWAKA, Juba, SEPT/14/2013, SSN;
Ref: Murder of Chief John Ajugo, the head chief of Nimule was a conspiracy.
It was Sunday September 8, 2013 when head Chief of Nimule was gunned down during the night. The incident happened when I was in a Hotel in Nimule just for a night waiting to continue my journey to Kampala Uganda. The following day I left for Kampala leaving Madi in Nimule helplessly in a great shock.
On Wednesday September 11, 2013, I was back to Nimule and found that some government personnel were sent there for further investigation. I tried to talk to the local people to collect some information about the death of their head Chief, but almost everyone is scared to talk to me and the atmosphere was tense. Finally, I met a non-Madi working in Nimule with NGOs. He worked there for a long time and this is what he has to say on humanitarian ground.
The head Chief of Nimule was killed for land issues. It was early 2013 when the central government in Juba issued a mandate to transform Nimule town to a town council. The mandate was forwarded to the state government of Eastern Equatoria. The governor of Eastern Equatoria State and his councils decided to implement the mandate without consulting the Madi Community.
What he did was he sent some individuals to talk to the chiefs that they needed them to sign a mandate from the central government to make Nimule a Town Council. The chiefs’ demand to talk to the Madi community first was ignored.
It was in a meeting at night when Head Chief John Ajugo and some Madi were forced to sign a mandate they didn’t want to do without consulting their people in the middle of a dark night.
After collecting signatures, the governor of Eastern Equatoria State announced the agreement, Torit and Kapeota were added to make three town councils in total.
When the Madi community learnt about this declaration, they held a meeting and delegations were sent to Torit to stop what they considered is illegal. It was simple, they are not aware and those who signed the mandate did it illegally.
Then the Governor of Eastern Equatoria State said, “If the Madi people don’t want development in Nimule is up to them” and he withdrew the illegal agreement. In his letter to the central government, he said “the Madi people refused the offer to make Nimule a town council.”
I found there is a mistake here, what he called a mandate to the Madi people changed to be an offer in his statement to the central government.
Now, the idea of making Nimule a town council: is it direct from the government as a mandate or it is the state which had changed an offer from the government to a mandate to the people?
It was in August, 2013 when the Madi community were shocked after learning that the governor who promised them he had withdrawn the idea for the town council went public and announced Nimule as a town council.
It was clear that problems surrounding Nimule today were drafted without the consent of Madi as a people. These are the intentions of the Central government, Eastern Equatoria State government, and Magwi County Headquarters.
This matter is complex; an internally displaced person who said he lived in Nimule for 15 years further added that “it was Chief John Ajugo’s apology to the Madi people which led to his death.” However, he also confirmed that the chiefs and some Madi people were in fact forced to sign the mandate.
Among them he mentioned late Jinno Luluga Kiji, the former youth leader of Nimule. He said Jinno Luluga Kiji was the first Madi who were forced to sign the mandate and to apologise to the Madi people for his lack of intention.
Shockingly, he was killed by sniff poison which was directed through his nose into his brain and later he died in Lachor hospital in Gulu as a mad man. Although any arrest wasn’t made, the conspiracy to kill him was carried out by some members of the internally displaced persons.
Sadly,the Madi people remained voiceless about it.
According to the latest news in Nimule, its true the death of the head Chief of Nimule was a conspiracy from the people who forced them to sign the proposed town council document and the internally displaced persons.
When the former youth leader was killed by sniff poison, his death was covered in his state of madness.
Today, covering the death of the head chief isn’t easy. The Eastern Equatoria State government and the internally displaced persons in Nimule have exploited the matter to torture the Madi themselves.
Arrest and Detention without Charges.
This is where the Human rights commission of South Sudan should intervene. As far as the conspiracy is concerned, several Madi have been consequently arrested and detained in Nimule barracks. Among them were the elders and youth activists. Most of them were Madi who stand against making Nimule a town council without consulting the Madi community.
These people are in a great pain in the barracks. Why should government of Eastern Equatoria State torture its people like this for what they rejected and said NO?
If the death of the head Chief is not a conspiracy, why the Madi people are to be arrested and tortured by the military wing in the barracks and yet there is the Nimule police station?
If its not a conspiracy, why Eastern Equatoria State government pushed for the third town council to be in Nimule instead of Magwi county headquarters?
Why is the government arbitrarily forcing a town council on the people when Madi had asked for a county?
To Madi who are working with the government like Dr. Anne Itto, the acting Secretary-general of the ruling SPLM and others: Your people are in pain, as they mourn the loss of their chief, some of them were in detention in the military barracks in Nimule.
This is a clear sign that the conspiracy is meant for more people to die. After my conversation with the commissioner of Magwi County, the county seems to have little knowledge about what is going on in Nimul and yet Nimule is within the Territory of Magwi County. This is a serious complication.
In conclusion, as the government of South Sudan is waiting for the investigation results, we should also be aware that most of the people who talked to this government investigation team were the internally displaced persons themselves who were more connected to the government than the Madi community.
Therefore, the chance of not representing the interest of Madi Community is very high.
As a lover of my country, I am requesting the Human rights Commission of South Sudan to intervene in this matter and talk to the Madi as a people to get the right information.
As south Sudanese, let us join our voices to condemn the inhuman torture of the Madi people.
Finally, the murder of the head Chief of Nimule was connected to the politics. Meanwhile here in Juba, Angelo Vuga, a leader of Madi, was arrested. These are things which can happen to any group of people. It happened to us in Juba which led to my peoples’ demand to have the ROSS government move the capital city out of Juba.
Unfortunately, it has happened in Western Bahar el Gazal State where people were forced to accept what does not favor them. The same happened in Yei, and now in Nimule.
The idea that the people should not be allowed to plan for themselves, but the government should do it for them, is totally objectionable.
Darius Tongu Swaka
September 14, 2013