Dinka Malual betrayed: Going North or Going it alone?

The devil is in the details of South Sudan and Sudan oil agreement for Dinka Malual

Martin Garang Aher, AUSTRALIA, SEP 2/2012, SSN; September 27, 2012 will be reminisced by Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal as the month which brought back to life the dark history over the control of the frontiers with Rizeigat Baggara of Southern Darfur. On that day in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, presidents Bashir and Kiir swapped the rhetoric with brotherhood; a new cowboy-hat-on-the-bald amity; and together they signed oil agreement which is courteously wrapped in throngs of other subsidiary agreements to form an angel in the framework.

The entire deal, which comprised of nine bilateral agreements, included the diabolical insertion of Mile 14 pasture-land between Dinka Malual and the Rizeigat into the national frame of both countries, thereby making it a bitterly contested border zone.

Panthou is already a thing of the past and Abyei referendum, always used as a winning bargain or peace mantle by South Sudan, remains as elusive as ever.

To Dinka Malual, nonetheless, Mile 14 situation is almost akin to the time between 1860 and 1880 when Zubeir Pasha formed forces with the Arab Rizeigat and drove Dinka Malual beyond River Kiir/Bahr el Arab.

Though the Rizeigat had had the backing of the authorities most of the times that they ventured southwards, their numerous attempts in the early twentieth century had been prohibited forcefully by Dinka Malual. The result had been continuous traditionally acknowledged seasonal agreements between the two communities on how to access pastures on either side of River Kiir.

It is important to note that Dinka Malual never go to Dar Rizeigat for pastures. Always, it is Dinka Malual that are forced to open up and be accommodating. And judging by the recent Kiir-Bashir agreement, they have once again been forced – perhaps sooner or later – to relent for the sake of peace that ought to kill them.

Of course the anger is enormous in Aweil community worldwide. Some think they have been abandoned by their government through allowing another opportunity for the marauding Arab Murahaleen to resume their rustling; while others view it as a trading off of their land for Abyei, a region that initially legally and administratively chose not to be part of South Sudan.

Common men are asking whether Aweil should shoulder Abyei’s problem. But the reality is that both Aweil and Abyei will always shoulder their own problems with Rizeigat and Misseriya. And all have burdens to share with South Sudan and the Sudan.

Where is Mile 14 conundrum, or what Mr. Magdi Gigouli, a notable Rift Valley scholar, referred to as ‘Abyei in the making’ heading to? Might we be seeing old wounds being pricked once again?

Paul Malong Awan Anei, the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, a former general in the SPLA army, a native of Dinka Malual whose part of his native area lies within Mile 14 and a veteran who sustained more than eight bullet wounds from the Baggara as the then zonal commander in the Second Sudanese Civil war in Aweil area Command Post, made a no less show prior to the conclusion of Kiir-Bashir talks in Addis Ababa.

Upon sensing that his state’s national security would be offered as a sacrificial lamb, he hastily went to the Ethiopian capital where he had talks with his boss, president Kir and the mediating team.

One is unsure if in the tense and pressurized atmosphere of the negotiations Kiir was able to listen to him.

Governor Paul Malong’s message to South Sudanese upon return in Juba and to Aweil citizens in particular was no less categorical.

“I want to assure you that we are in Mile 14 and we will be there to stay. This is our area and we know how to manage relations,’ he said.

He had indeed fumed earlier on that implementation of such an agreement would be done when he is not there. Whether this indicates a resignation or an old adage, ‘over my dead body,’ is a matter open to interpretation.

The whole scenario of withdrawing SPLA forces ten kilometers south of Kiir River thereby paving way for creating a safer border demilitarized zone (SBDZ) carries an emotional charge among Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

To the Rizeigat, it may mean an implementation of the boundary which the British governor of Bahr el Ghazal, Mervyn Wheatley and the then governor of Darfur, Patrick Munro agreed on and imposed in 1924; Dinka Malual never accepted the agreement that went any mile beyond Kiir River.

And to Dinka Malual, it is another imposition in which they are never consulted that had just occurred. The Sudanese had a delegation of Rizeigat presenting their case to the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) while South Sudan government never spoke with the Dinka Malual, the custodians of the border clues.

This already justifies trouble. Both Dinka Malual and Rizeigat are a surprise to one another when it comes to what goes on along Kiir River. In all the historical wars on Kiir River, it begins with pastures, picks up in the water, culminates in the rustling and fully accelerates in the blood.

Many South Sudanese would not agree with Mile 14 being a contested area. However, given the economical implications that the oil shut-down had created, sceptics perceive this latest agreement as a sell-out to Khartoum for the oil to flow.

Khartoum might praise its negotiation skills and view Kiir-Bashir agreement as a booty of war of attrition.The economic implication of oil stoppage gives an impression that South Sudan is dying for cash. The national treasury is running dry.

In any sense, South Sudan is now frantically paying heavily for halting its oil torrent which constitutes the mildly-spoken ‘lifeblood’ of the two nations by many analysts.

The craving for economic freedom that accompanied government decision to stop the oil flow in the first place is now being run down by an avalanche of desperation. People are angry and hungry. When South Sudan shut down its oil earlier in 2012, hunger was a minute thing that could be sustained. What was at stake was the national pride and economic freedom.

The South Sudan chief negotiator, Pagan Amum – just like his country men and women who demonstrated on the streets of Juba in support of the decision that halted oil transit through theft-perforated pipeline of the Sudan – asserted his contentment saying it was a matter of national economic freedom. So it was, no doubt.

But to Dinka Malual, the adored economic freedom is now forfeiting their land for cash. The freedom in demand for Malual Giernyang or Malual Buoth Anyaar, as they fondly call themselves, is not only economic or political, it is freedom from dispossession that they must counter from any Sudan, be it South Sudan or Sudan.

And as the governor asserted, so are the people of Aweil who will have to join the land when it goes north, or hang on to it to the detriment of peace between the two Sudans.

Martin Garang Aher is a South Sudanese residing in Western Australia. He can be reached at garangaher@hotmail.com

Regards, Martin Garang Aher.
‘Busara itakulinda, ufahamu utakuhifadhi’
Mithali 2:11
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent the website.)


  1. Of course, Brother Aher, you have highlighted your discontent on behalf of your tribe Malual Giernyang to South Sudan’s national government in a written form despite the last week’s finalized agreement stipulated into nine deal packages in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our President of South Sudan Gen. Salva kiir could not rush just for a sake of oil deal interests instead of looking at the whole scenario in which his country citizens had been sacrificially defending on the common undemarcated borders between two rival countries. As for the case of Aweil Community is the same issue which could be similar with the concurrent situation that is likely threatening to Panaruu Community despite the fact that their Panthou/Helige was illegally traded with Abyei to the North Sudan in 2008. So, what direction actually this nation of ours will get through since the leaders are selling away their country’s resources indirectly and skeptically without a concern from the inhabitants who currently own those made dispute lands for its right. Meanwhile, they are brushing aside people who are concerned to know whatever they have been doing in absent of the community members whose right is needed to be involved, and later the leaders themselves tarnished the community concerned into their self-interests. Well, which means our problems will concurrently beep up into heaps, if this kind of a malpractice system is kept manipulating in South Sudan by our ruling leaders like that.

  2. Bismark Bura says:

    It is unfortunate that upto now some of us have not grasped that the war fought against Jallaba is mainly a war for the land we call South Sudan. For an inch of it taken means a lot to the inhabitants of this land. Neither is it logical to swap part of it for another part which is supposedly to be part of it. It angers one to learn Abyei which is now the main theme of deliberation in search of peace between the people of South Sudan was deliberately handed over to Jallaba on a silver plate by inhabitants of the area in total disregard of kinship between them and the other South Sudanese Dinka. However having said so it is still having the features of South Sudan as such it should be made to come back to where it belongs. Hufrat Nahas, Kafia Kingi, Kaka, Pan-thou. and the rest of the land under occupation.

  3. Simon Deng says:

    Dear Martin Garang Aher, You are absolutely right in your analysis regarding recent agreement between Juba and Khartoum and how it disregarded both the arguments and feelings of Aweil Citizens pertaining Mile 14 and other border areas that the Northern Sudanese political and military machinery has encroached upon over the years. All conscious, identity-oriented and proud South Sudanese people from other parts of the country will stand shoulder to shoulder with the brave people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal to challenge this blatant betrayal and short-sightedness on the part of the ruling SPLM leadership or for better description, Pagan-Kiir Van Wagon of experimental or ameteur negotiators who seems to lose to skilled and shrewed northern counter-parts every time there is a discussion on important matters.

    The Ruweng/Panaruu Dinka territories of Panthou (Heglig), Karasana and surrounding areas are already almost a gone case (no concerted efforts to win them back and I have no hope on any negotiations) and not mentioning Abyei whose inhabitants have some hands in its annexation to the north; Magenis and other border zones, only God knows what fate awaits them with their unfortunate inhabitants! If Mile 14 which is courageously won back by blood and proudly occupied by our gallant men and women in uniform is being offered back to the North on a golden plate, what hope can anyone have on other places that are already firmly controlled by the north including Abyei?

    General Paul Malong Awan Anei, you have always been my hero, together with the brave people of Aweil whose bravery I have no slightest doubt as they defended their territory for more than a century against far superior armed enemies; you are not alone and won’t be left alone by other proud Southern Sudanese nationalists in this latest treachery. Is oil production more important than our land, Benydit Kiir Mayardit? Beny Pagan Amuom Okiech? How about you Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, where is your voice on this, Kuar-mi-dit?

    To all inhabitants of contested areas in the north of the country, please accept my sincere condolences in advance as it seem only blood will win back our territories, we have no leadership to really rely on their wisdom, unfortunately! Was Dr. John Garang the only one capable of successfully outdoing Northerners in negotiations, fellow Southerners? If no, when will such skills be put to use and if yes, then we are doomed!!!

  4. Deng says:

    Mile 14, Abyei, Panthou or any other areas open to grab by Khartoum are not the issues to concern those inhabiting them only but a concern to all citizens of South Sudan if not the government of South Sudan which seems to be less assertive in its argument. Khartoum government or the so-called president Bashir scraps, cancels, invalidates… you name it the agreements with impunity, the example being the agreement signed by his Nafie and Malik Agar. If President Kiir could not do that, then let people like General Paul Awan do it and be our hero like Bashir who is a hero to his criminally insane Arabs.

  5. KUOT WOL WOL says:

    Kiir, Pagan and Alor have given away 14 Mile area to Sudan in order to get Abyei back easily. They know that Aweil People always get angry for one day and tomorrow they will forget and laugh. Malual Jernyang is a threat to other Dinkas who want to control South Sudan. If there’s a real democracy, those SPLM leaders will not rule South without Aweil. That’s why they want to make Aweil people as slaves for the South. But that will not happen, it will be better for Malual people to react like Nuer otherwise, Kiir will make them slaves of South.

  6. Dear editor, allow me to give thanks to Martin Garang Aher for his meaningful Article. Thank you very much, my dear brother, for putting the facts in to writing. You know we, Dinka Malual/Malual Gier-Nyang, are always the victims of any thing but we don’t give it up. We always deal with any that comes on our way. If Kiir agreed for the mile 14 to be a contested area then we Buoth Anyar, put up our hands and say we can’t take it. That means we’ll all say NO to that agreement. That place there called mile 14 is a grazing area/grazing Corridor and we are living within that land. The question goes to those who might’ve said yes! To that agreement, do we (Dinka Malual) look like Arab tribe? Khartoum government is still looking for trouble but as we people of Malual Gier-Nyang are concerned, we will face those Arabs and their government in Khartoum and we are very happy that our brave governor is not a big fan of saying yes! To all south Sudanese let’s say No to Miles 14. God bless South Sudan. Dominic Diang Chan, RSS,Aweil.

    • kirson says:

      Beloved Malual Gier-Nyang, we are so proud of ourselves and we don’t fear, we always stay standing and I know that most of South Sudanese citizens are so much angry with the so called negating team of south Sudan unlike the NCP team which made their side a garden of Eden offered to the rest of their citizenry in Khartoum.

      Pagan, Kiir and the rest negotiating team mates got no single idea of where mile 14 lies in NGBS, despite the pathetic agreement they had with Mbeki South African not South Sudanese. Pagan has never been in what they now called mile 14 since he was born, his actually, I mean I can even compare him with Mbaki and the rest of UN, AU n bla bla bla….which are using the fake maps to find out where is River kiir and the line of mile 14.

      I have nothing much to say but am asking those who signed mile 14, God, did these guys really vote for separation surely and if yes I got these (Ws).
      1- what is Separation?
      2- what is democratic ruling part/government
      3- Pagan,Kiir and the so called SS negotiating team, did you guys vote for unity,wealthy or separation?

      Awiel will never part of a contested area and Mr. President you know us better, whether you stand with us or not it actually changes nothing but you gonna regret this promise.

      Awiel oye

  7. Deng Lual says:

    First of all, I would like to thank the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state for his bravery and courage to speak out against the proposed “14 miles” agenda. Mr. President will know that people of Aweil have been fighting Arabs in Kiirkou before our grandfathers were born and our people were still fighting for our land till the CPA was signed. I was surprised by the president and his negotiating team to just rush and sign agreements without consulting the bordering states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Unity states regarding the issues on the table.
    This is a time for Mr. President to forget the votes of NBGS coming in the next election. Our people are fed up with this cowboy-hatted man and it is time for him to give us a break.
    I would like to point out that Mr. Paul Mayom Akech must apologize to the people of NBG for calling our land a “no-man land.” Is Kiir River a no-man land? Deng Lual, USA

  8. Joe says:

    There will be no giving up or surrender of our Land even an inch, never. In the first place who mandated the present so called SPLM Leaders to renegotiate what has already been done in the CPA? Do this leaders know why we went to war? Did they go to war for power and wealth? Do we surrender our land for oil?
    We did not make a mistake in giving 90% vote to SPLM to deserve what is taking place now. We should remember that the confidence we had on SPLM has gone with Dr. Garang all together. We must stand up for any challenge. I assure you Martin, we are prepared for any thing. We still have trustworthy SPLM leaders like Governor Malong Awan, no problem. Miles 14 is ours and it remains that way— no trading with it.

  9. Jacob Deng says:

    This is a result of having a weak, unqualified leaders to lead a nation. You people are full of praising dull leaders and shun democracy, why then cry now? It is your leader that you chose and love dearly that you would kill someone for saying the truth. In meantime, didn’t you people of Aweil know that the money you stole during finance ministers Arthur Akuen Chol and Kuol Athian, is coming to haunt you with your Mile 14 land? Mieth Apiol or Children are well! What happens to children that there is no money now? Sell their land, I guess.

  10. Hi Aher, thank you for your wise and clear articles,I strongly support denouncing of mile 14 that was proposed by AU. We, Monyjang Malual Giernyany, our forefathers owned land since creation of the earth and nobody can claim it. This is our right as Dinka Malual not to stop talking about Arab`s deceit and I support state Governor’s rejection and particularly Aweil Citizens. God help our new Nation Republic of South Sudan.

    • kirson says:

      Thank God that the beloved brave citizens of NBGS are united more than ever and what I know that thing of Mile 14 isn’t going to happen or else we dump every single agreement they did for their own wealth interest, on oil flowing. Jacob Deng, you might be right of saying” if you got nothing to feed you kids and there is enough land you can sell part for their survival but Guess what. Awiel is different in anything compared to Abyei and we both know.
      We are the strongest part of SPLA and we are natural born braves, so lean back and watch us do this confidently and we need no support from some one who doesn’t know what our forefathers land is including Mr. P and Pagan Amoum and the rest. NBGS oyeeee!!!!

  11. Michael Manut Lual says:

    Brother Aher, thank you. What is so-called Mile 14 will not and never will be the disputed area between South Sudan and Sudan, we Twic Mayardit community we are behind you.
    Manut Michael, RSS. Twic county.

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