Desperate Situation: The suffering people of South Sudan have been abandoned

By: Tongun Lo Loyuong, UK, AUG/04/2014, SSN;

With South Sudan edging closer to the predicted famine that is poised to affect a third of its population, and with the peace talks to end the devastating civil war exhibiting little urgency, it is not far-fetched to conclude that the international community has abandoned us.

The appeal for $1.8 billion, a funding threshold required to arrest the humanitarian situation and South Sudan’s rapid descent into famine is yet to be reached, as funding commitments made by several members of the donor community remain unfulfilled.

But I guess such reluctance from the donor community is predictable, as most members of the donor community have probably never experienced surviving on water lilies, or going to bed with an empty stomach growling for a mouthful.

In addition, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has now earned the label “man-made,” which means it could have been avoided. The implication, which has been publicly voiced by some, is that South Sudan’s political leadership is to blame for creating the humanitarian crisis and the conducive conditions for the impending famine.

It is common knowledge that the international community tends to respond to these kinds of crises after the fact, when graphic images of vultures waiting to feast on the corpse of a starving child begin to circulate in the media.

They tend to respond even more swiftly if the humanitarian crisis is a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and Tsunamis, just to mention but a few examples.
It is understandable, therefore, that there is an overall reluctance to clean up a humanitarian mess created by reckless leadership and greedy politicians in South Sudan, only that it is the hapless poor South Sudanese in remote rural areas who are bearing the brunt.

The politicians’ immediate family, relatives, stolen wealth and illegally accumulated assets are all stashed away in safe havens in the region, or abroad in the Middle East and the West.

Our political leaders, who hold the key to ending the suffering of our people, also seem to have forgotten where we all came from when it comes to suffering from hunger and starvation.

The government of South Sudan seems to not be bothered, as demonstrated by its recent squandering of a reported $1 billion in arms purchases from China.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian community appeals for funding that is not forthcoming to prevent an impending humanitarian catastrophe billed as the worst in our history.

The government remains preoccupied with counting the cost of war and committed to allocating funds for its continued execution, which further exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

Amidst talk of the resumption of peace talks to deliberate the composition of an interim government, opposition parties and “civil society” groups are equally consumed with who gets what position in the interim arrangements and the “new political dispensation.”

This is at the expense of embarking on robust policy advocacy and channeling of collective efforts to mitigate the impending famine so as to, if partially, alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable South Sudanese women, children and the elderly in the conflict hotspots who are poised to be affected most when real starvation hits.

Since the violent outbreak in mid-December last year, the suffering South Sudanese poor have been treated to endless but hollow utterances of public condemnation after atrocities committed in the wake of every violation of the several agreements and re-commitments to agreements signed on cessation of hostilities in the past several months.

Threats of targeted sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes of the perpetrators of civilian atrocities and gross human rights abuses remain but threats, ineffective enough to scare even a dog.

The handful of targeted sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes that have been handed out by the Americans and the Europeans are toothless and have circumvented the godheads and lords of the civil war and the real peace spoilers of the peace process.

In short, the international community has not done enough. They know it. And unless regional and international efforts are redoubled to coerce the parties in the conflict into urgently signing a peace agreement or risk facing serious punitive measures and consequences, South Sudanese will continue to feel abandoned.

Tongun Lo Loyuong is a South Sudanese expert and researcher in international peace studies. He studied at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and is currently pursuing a PhD in the UK. Email: or leave a message on his blog:


  1. Eli says:

    The only solution is to overthrow Juba regime and initiate reelection for a legitimate and civilian people’s government.

    • AGUMUT says:

      It seems you had already opened your legs like something i don’t want to mention on here. I am not a Dinka,but Dinkas mothers talk a lot about SUN RISE or tomorrow because not to spoil yourself of being poor. To overthrow government is not the best thing we can do.

  2. Eli says:

    We all hate to see these kinds of images, it’s painful, shameful but yet its real. They are our people who are victimized simply for who they happen to be. These could be your own family members.
    We cannot and should not point fingers but take on responsibilities individually or in groups and change our lives and our situations. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If we can only listen and respect one another these kinds of images would not continue to shame us all over the world. Now a days some of us are even ashame to introduce ourselves as citizens of South Sudan. I for one am not proud to be carrying these burdensome name although I will not give up the struggle for true liberty, justice, freedom and pursuit of happiness for all.
    We can not give up now, maybe the best is around the corner.

  3. Eli says:

    My name is Eli Wani and I am not above the LAW. SSNLF stands up for the people of South Sudanese freedom, Justice, Liberty and in Pursuit of Happiness for ALL.
    May God bless our people.

  4. Dear Mr.Tongun Lo Loyoung:

    WOW!!!! You said yourself South Sudan expert! In which field??? Can you tell to us as an expert for South Sudan politics.Why there had been upheaval taken place in December 15,2013??

    In your article,international community plav always a red card in the game! Thank you

    • Tongun Lo Loyuong says:

      @ Chief Abiko,

      I understand you are baffled by the description “South Sudan expert.” It wasn’t me who described myself as such, but the editor of the Kenyan Daily Nation Newspaper where the article was first published. In fact I find it quite embarrassing to refer to oneself as an expert, because it carry an aura of omnipotence. But I believe as human beings, we will continue to learn until death do us apart. That noted I did, however, earn two master’s degrees from prestigious universities in the United States and spent four good years conducting academic research and writing solely on South Sudan conflict and peace policy issues. Before that I spent four years of reading about the colonial history of Sudan, Church History, Biblical Studies, Christian Theology and Ethics, as well as Islamic History, the Qur’an, Islamic Theology, Philosophy and Spirituality and Muslim-Christian relations in the Sudan, among other topics at the undergraduate but also graduate levels. I believe I have earned the academic right to be referred to as an expert by others, though I personally feel uncomfortable about it. As a final comment, I don’t think being an expert on a topic makes one a magician who could have prevented the tragic pre-meditated events of the December 15th, 2013. All one can do is predict and warn against such an eventuality, which I have tried my best to do along with others, but which unfortunately fell on deaf ears of leaders who are not interested in peace. I hope this comment can allay your concern.


      • Alier Malek says:

        Dear Tongun Lo Loyuong
        Your respond to Chief Abiko’s cheap questions truly vindicate you as an expert; he may have less respect for you as a professional but I have. You need to brushed off people like he is and don’t give them value by responding to them. His knowledge is obviously much lesser than the contents of his writing!

  5. AGUMUT says:

    War is no good for people of Unity State in general and particularly Nuer, i think Riek Machar should have disappeared long time ago and give a chance to people of Unity State.

  6. Blood sucker says:

    These innocent people are suffering because of these two murderous and megalomaniac poor leaders. Their days are numbered . They have caused enough havoc to humanity. The good Lord will soon kick their ugly assess and they will soon also join the great majority.

  7. False Millionaire says:

    Those who preach hatred n violence should b very happy.This is exactly what will happen to our people throughout the country if their ill wishes come true.

  8. Bismark says:

    It is sad to see these types of images from home-land. It clearly testifies the failure of the government delivery service to those who elected them to power. It also depicts the fact that the fight for freedom, independence and equality is now in the dustbin. History will judge those who failed our people in all aspects of life harshly. And to those who look at ourselves as Nuer or Dinka and forget the big picture of being a South Sudanese is really a big shame. Please discover your inner selves and define yourselves as South Sudanese in order to stop this current carnage and the rest that might come due to this ignorance.

  9. Charles says:

    Dear Tongun. A well researched article. While we wish to blame the international community for not doing enough to end this man-make catastrophy, we must also take the bigger blame for allowing it to happen in the first place. The international community’s patient is running out on us. Someone should for example research how much the international community has poured into South Sudan since the CPA was signed. It becomes frustrating even to the best human to see what you have just built for a people and for their own benefit destroyed again and again. We must remember that the money being used by the international community in South Sudan is tax-payers’ money which would have benefitted its own people.
    Furthermore, the international community sometimes finds itself in a dilemma. When it acts hard and firmly, it is accused of interference, and when it uses kids’glove it is accused of not being hard enough: sort of a lose-lose situation. And yet when childern begin to starve, die of cureable diseases, live in squalid conditions, we turn to the international community for assistance. In a sense we do not want them to interfere when we are doing the mess, but then turn to them to come and clean it up! Until when is this going to continue?
    South Sudanese must get serious and trully have a change of heart, and squarely face up to their problems. We need to produce a crop of leaders who are selfless, and who put the interest of the country ahead of their own personal ambitions and narrow interests. Are there any out there?

  10. alex says:

    This is the reason why peace is paramount solution to our problems. We should desist from beating more drums of war. The only way out is IGAD mediated peace talks to bring to an end such untold human suffering. Military solution can not work but if we choose peace instead of war, we can achieve a lot.


  11. Bismark says:

    It is sad to see these types of images from home-land. It clearly testifies the failure of the government service delivery to those who elected them to power. It also depicts the fact that the fight for freedom, independence and equality is now in the dustbin. History will judge those who failed our people in all aspects of life harshly. And to those who look at ourselves as Nuer or Dinka and forget the big picture of being a South Sudanese is really a big shame. Please discover your inner selves and define yourselves as South Sudanese in order to stop this current carnage and the rest that might come due to this ignorance.

  12. Dear Mr.Tongun Lo Young:

    I love your respond so much! You are the man! Thank you.Educated people are open always on matters without ever withholding problems from minds!Take care! I wish you well on your endeavour you were in!

    In your article,the pictures are very perturbing indeed! Let President Kirr and Riak Machar,see the pictures by themselves! Our land is well blessed.How can hunger looming in people in the land in the country????? This is very bad! Have a nice day! back to you to the audience on the board!

    • Andrew Jenge says:

      Abiko, it is good you came out after acknowledging your mischievous act. If you are concern about titles, why we do not see you with placard TILAR, YOU ARE NOT A PHD and another one with DR. BIONG, TELL US SHORTCUT TO BE A PROFESSOR! You do not need a paper document to be call expert. The president of RoSS English is far better than yours, he is a third grader, I wonder which level are you chief. Abiko, you are an expert of your own ignorance! Thank God, you have written in lowercase today instead of your usual shouting case. Editor, we need some convention here to stick to lowercase when commenting unless you are an editor or under certain circumstance!

  13. False Millionaire says:

    Alier Malek:

    Please brother,don’t ever give arms where u should never.Simple explaination to kill a starting small bush fire is better than extinquishing it latter with a sea water tank.Infact there r questions of human rationality here that distinquish us from savage beasts.Professor Tongun’s manner is an example for all of us.Our intention is to have a better society that will permit us to live in the context of complet understanding.

  14. False Millionaire says:


    Yes brother.I believe there r invisible selfless leaders out there constituting the hope for our country n the people.Brother ELHAG PAUL was so kind to say it in his article:SPLM,a curse to South Sudan.But this could have been in his best south sudanestic days with his heart seeming to b full of love to our country n the people.What follows is a grave uncertaintity with tribal ill feelings filling the front lines of our thinking brains:never the general interests of our country n the society.This is our major handicap becouse if those invisible leaders should come to light inorder to shorten our cycle of suffering,we must b willing to work to achieve unity among us first.But this begins from the content of our exchanges in this forum.

    • Gordon says:

      Hi Tongun,

      Your article is well and informative. In fact it consoles to read there are people who look at this conflict from the perspectives you have used here. It is not about a politically correct language, but at least to bring out the voices of the people bearing the brunt. People who continue to think that this conflict should be extended by one more day, if they are able to stop it are really beyond being inhuman.

      At the moment the many scenarios in South Sudan would be describe as intolerable by any standard including those other standards back in the 1800s or by standard of war. We were at the lowest level of Human Development Indicators by the time the conflict broke out. Being that low on indicators like the child mortality and maternal death was enough to prick the conscience of the international community to work closely with South Sudan.

      But as it is the case, power makes people simply drunk and ready to sacrifice any number of lives to either get it or keep it. Therefore rightly it shocks the world to see how we are going down but we can afford buying arms. That happened with the government of Sudan in 2006 when the international community is to provide aid to Sudan, but Sudan was exporting grain! The question is who should really care for the suffering of the people in a country where their own leaders are buying arms instead of food? South Sudan should not be begging for food for help, but should be sending food to help other people after depending on help for such a long time. It is time to return the generosity. That is what normal people would think.

      The problem in countries like South Sudan, is that there are just a few people who are really citizens who have the right to ask questions, contribute to the decisions affecting their lives and demand accountability from their governments. Take a look across and tell me whether that is not the case. The rest of the people are just subjects who get what the leaders want them to get. Leaders have sunk to the level worse than those days when people talk of the divine right of the leader. Because then, the leader with Divine right has to care for the people otherwise God intervenes. There is a moral code they adhere to. Leaders who can sacrifice any number of people and fortify themselves with lies to the world, no longer behave like that. This is a cultivated practice and some of the indicators are those you mention. They have their family living in comfort somewhere but they claim to be leaders. A hell of a situation to be in.

      Never give up and keep speaking up. Your qualification is good enough for it and this is the area you can use. In fact one thing clear is that the leaders engaged in this conflict have clearly failed as leaders and lost all legitimacies they had. The facts cannot be hidden, although some people still believe that they can get away with things like this one.

      It is time for people to see that bad behaviour is punished. It is time for people to see that justice, fairness, honesty, magnanimity and goodness is rewarded. We live in the world which hold on to these later sets as values but not the Nazi or Fascist Ideologies. We live in a world wherein there is almost no border except when these terrorists caused problems. The terrorists in South Sudan who can sacrifice 4,000,000 lives are known. Why is this not a crime? If already 10,000 people have been killed, why is this not a crime? Keep speaking and the world will one day respond to take up its responsibility.

      By the way did you remember that IGAD was not going to achieve the peace in Sudan without American Leverage? If people are paid daily $250 dollars that time and they do not get that kind of money why would they want to finish the conflict? it is not only the Sudan case. Today there is Hammas, because it was a protest against the PLO. Arafat was travelling the world over and being received on red carpet. Was he any more interested to end the struggle and sigh peace? A lot of arguments were raised about in articles and the result is Hammas. And in the over 40 conflicts in Africa, face to face negotiations did not yield positive results when there is no leverage from a Super Power. The time of conflict is the moment for the worst level of corruption at unprecedented scale. South Sudan is among those countries who fall in the categories where leaders will have no incentive to sign peace if left to their devices.

  15. BILL KUCH says:

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    Here is my question for you guys or our editor to give me a relevant answer. Why are south Sudanese rebels refusing other parties their participation in the peace talk process? Do you remember when they needed every detainee to be released in order for them to participate in formation of new government? So, why are they backing away from their wishes again? Thanks!

    • AGUMUT says:

      @BILL KUCH, Are you still sleeping!

      Conditions because Riek Machar and his cronies on the brink of Collapses or Defeated.
      The Majority of our people don’t support Machar,he is in LIMBO.

      • BILL KUCH says:

        Well, I am not sleeping and I knew Dr. Riek military power is no longer there. So, this is the fact and therefore, he should give in before he finishes his people. He is not smart as usual.

  16. Makoi Mayen says:

    Do we need to blame anybody here apart from Riek Machar? This idiot is the satan of South Sudanese

  17. Civil society in the new nation are suffering due to Riek Machar devastating

  18. Chief Abiko, I do not know how long you have been going to school, and what level you graduated from? and what field you have specialize on? I believe professor, Tongun Lo Loyoung has spend 28 years from his life until now, and still going to school doing a PHD. Look at his effective manner when he responded to you, don’t you think that he deserve the title professor and expert in the field that he studied about South Sudan? here in the United states and may be in Europe, people who earn a bachelor degree and became well inform and knowledgeable in specific area of study are call professors or professionals, even though they don’t earn a master degree or PHD. professor Tongun is an expert in South Soudan conflict as the others describe him, and his writing performance has proved that. We disagree to agree is the healthy culture of civilize people. Take care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.