Nimule: The murder of Chief Ajugo and ensuing human rights abuses

Date: 15th September 2013, Press Release;

We, the Ma’di community in the diaspora, under its leadership, the Ma’di Regional Council
(MRC), condemns in the strongest terms possible the assassination of the Head Chief in Nimule,
Chief Luvio Ajugo. We stand in complete solidarity with our community in the Ma’diland in
rejecting intimidations and targeted killings in our land. We as much stand with the grieving
family and our deepest condolences go to the bereaved family left behind.

Late Chief Ajugo was murdered after he withdrew his endorsement from the secret deals with
certain politicians serving in the Office of Eastern Equatoria State who are stakeholders to the
mentioned government-sponsored program, which was supported by a minority group who
wants Nimule Town demarcation to be executed in order for them to sell the demarcated land to
their favoured investors.

Late Chief Ajugo who was forced into signing the secret deal with some of the Ma’di politicians [MPs] supporting the Town Council establishment, took a public stand against the unpopular upgrade of Nimule to be a town council. His stand was in keeping with the wishes of the majority of Ma’di community both in the homeland as well as those in the diaspora.

You, our fellow countrymen and countrywomen of our new Republic of South Sudan and the international community should know that we, the majority of Ma’di community rejected this undemocratic and scandalous government sponsored upgrade project rammed in our throat, which could soon create homelessness to the innocent and unsuspecting citizens of Nimule from their ancestral lands.

The authors of this initiative had failed to gain popular support instead the Eastern Equatoria State government resorted to shameful strategies of secret dealing with late Chief Ajugo with the minority of opportunist [local Nimule businessmen] who secretly had begun buying and selling land to unknown persons to the communities in Nimule.

However, late Chief Ajugo bravely announced publicly of the secret deals and listed the names of the so-called scandalous stakeholders. Late Chief Ajugo stood with his community in rejecting the Nimule Town Council upgrade project, which resulted in his murder and now indiscriminate arrest of those opposed to the hideous secret plans.

We demand answers for the murder and immediate cessation of the on-going arrests and death threats to our community youth and leaders.

The minorities and those whose names have been brought to public light by our fallen hero should have been the first for the security apparatus to look at but not so, to our astonishments, they went after every single opponent to their Town Council agenda to include our very Supreme tribal leader, former Ambassador Angelo Voga.

Our fellow South Sudanese, as we speak they, our leadership, are languishing in military jail and we ask why, if indeed there is no hidden agenda against our people, should this not be a police rather than military investigations?

We are alarmed by the latest development in Nimule where after laying our fallen hero to rest, our very own Supreme Leader Ambassador Anjelo Vuga and his Deputy Lagu Jabakana, and essentially the entire Ma’di civil leadership are grabbed and put in military jail.

This is an absolute insult and added injury to the entire Ma’di nation as the security forces under whoever is in charge show utter contempt to the Ma’di people and its leadership!

We demand immediate release of these leaders and an independent body set to investigate the death of our Head Chief Livio Ajugo and this indiscriminate arrest and the human right abuse of our people in order to
get to the bottom of who gave such an order.

Our fellow countrymen, we believe Torit is at the very centre of the utter chaos that is in our
Ma’diland and they cannot perform impartial investigation as demonstrated by the arrest of
every single person opposed to their agendas!

We are appalled that the government of Eastern Equatoria who rammed the Nimule Town Council against the will of the people is now using this unfortunate death of one of our very own to silence and eliminate the entire leadership of our people to achieve their ultimate goal, to do with our land as they please.

We call on the central government, and the UN to intervene to ensure the rule of laws and human rights of our people protected and for immediate release of those who have no criminal evidence against them.

We trust our independent Judiciary system will reach to the bottom of this killings that should’ve never and must never happen in our beloved Republic and country of South Sudan, where a community and her leadership be protected not extinguished.

Urgent call on Central government
We call on the central government to set up an independent body, as we have lost complete faith in Torit, to speedily conduct an impartial, just and thorough investigation, without conflict of interest, to arrest and bring to justice, whether they are in Torit or Nimule, those who are behind and responsible for Chief Ajugo’s cold-blooded murder, to ensure justice and peace prevail and halting intimidations, humiliations and arrests of our leadership and putting an end to escalations of violence and loss of lives.

We know there are people of goodwill in our country as well as in the international community to which we shall carry our case as our people and its leadership are totally insulted and trampled on in our own ancestral land and country.

We, the Ma’di Regional Council and the Ma’di community in diaspora will not rest until you the authority in our country, bring calm to our community in distrust, refrain from arrests that are politically motivated, rather guided by rule of law, facts and judicious investigations, to ensure safety, security, protection and the respect of the universal human rights of those arrested and above all, it is the rule of laws that ultimately makes our new nation a modern state.

Given the profiles of those arrested to-date, mainly those who rejected the town council upgrade, it is no doubt in our minds that the finger pointers are the very people who caused the demise of our Head Chief for his standing with thecom munity, and they the murderers are in turn eliminating additional oppositions and get away with a hideous crime and eventually achieve their goals through these arrests of community leaders who spoke and held the same view as the murdered Chief.

Should Torit continue in this irrational path of aggressions, then Jesus will be killed for Barnabas!

Does our country want to be known for this kind of justice system?
If there is any regards in Torit left towards our people rather than its land, we call upon the Governor to personally suspend the unpopular upgrade of Nimule to a town council, this Mr. Governor will inculcate the culture of rulers and the ruled by consensus and democracy which will restore the environment of mutual trust, respect and healing of our community in particular, our state in general and our country at large.

Sincerely, the community in grief and disgust.

The Ma’di Regional Council: representing members of Ma’di community in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Egypt.

Benjamin Taban
Chairman, Ma’di Regional Council
btavelino@aol.com

12 Comments

  1. Chaka, Jill says:

    When will the oppressors realize no oppression lasts forever? Even the Arabs, we now got rid of them. Why can we respect each other’s ancestral land and live in peace!

  2. SPLA says:

    Very sad indeed. Where are our MPs? Do we really have MPs? They say we shouldn’t take the law into our own hands, but until when? It’s time to act my people otherwise they will finish us. First thing first, chase all Dinkas out of Madi land regardless whether they bought land there legally or not. Why are these people still living as IDPS in Madi land? Shame on GOSS and Kiir.
    Kiir has touched a wrong button with this minority yet most educated tribe in SS. It’s time to apply our knowledge and put our case against Kiir and the GOSS to the ICC.

  3. Mankien town says:

    thank you B. Taban for good article,
    expel those IDP in your land, if you want to be free community,
    those IDP residing in Equatoria region are the most killers of people,
    be careful.

    Mankien Town.

  4. Suzan Ariemo Isaac says:

    Hallo Benjamin,
    Thanks for your message to the entire nation concerning the death of the head chief and indiscriminate arrest of Madi elders. It’s sad and I personally condemn such killing. It became clear the murder was carried by those who plan to demarcate Nimule for the reason they know. Yeah, the situation in Nimule does not exist anywhere in south Sudan. But you Madi people have to work hard on this issue and don’t be afraid. South Sudan government is becoming unimaginable when it comes to killings and tortures. It’s the government killing us yet indicting some people to be scapegoats. I’m not surprised to hear this happening in Madiland.
    Let me mention a little bit about late George Ator the former rebel leader. Sincerely the rebel leader was killed in Uganda; his body was dropped in Morobo just to accuse our people for harbouring rebels. It was a systematic game played by SPLA/M. A lot of our elders were innocently arrested, tortured and some got killed in the process. The people were forced to confess to tarnish our name just for one thing, the war of 2005.

    It was after CPA when our people asked the Dinka that settled here during the war to leave. But they claimed they were not leaving. Our people fought hard and they were defeated and they left. As of today, western Equatoria State is not included in many state programs because of the 2005 incident between my people and Dinka. But for us its great to be free than live with occupiers. If you Madi people allow Dinka to succeed in dividing you don’t forget that we are successful because we are united.
    Suzan Ariemo Isaac
    Mudri-South Sudan
    ariemosisaac@yahoo.com

  5. Michael Joshua Bandas says:

    I was shocked when I heard over SSTV that our chief has been killed in Nimule. I appreciated the suggestion of our sister Suzan Isaac that Madi people should be united so they can face with one voice the common enemy. But I didn’t hear the reaction of our MPs since chief Ajugo was martyred. Let our MPs stand with the local people at the grassroots level and listen to them so that they can find a positive way forward for the solution of this case. They are provoking us for a war but we don’t want war with any person unless for the sake of self-defense which will be the last resort.
    We are deeply sorry for the killing of chief Livio Ajugo but at the same time we believe that he is our martyr of this era, died for the sake of Madi-land and we shall remember him forever in our history. May his soul rest in peace, Amen.

  6. Danide says:

    Hi folks!
    Please let’s be reasonable whenever commenting here! Is there anything that implicates the Dinka people in this killing?
    According to what i heard and read from the media, among the arrested are members of the Madi Tribe and some elements from other tribes from Eastern Equatoria. Let’s be objective in problem analysis otherwise pointing accusing fingers on wrong people will do no good for us but a polarisation of the situation and then subsequent insecurity in the area.

  7. Yakani Joseph says:

    Attention all South Sudanese
    As the Madi people are weeping for the lost of their head chief and arrest imposed on their elders by the government, I would like to tell you that it is not the first time such behaviour of Dinka SPLA/M is being felt in Equatoria. Just of recent our MPs, Chiefs and elders were accused innocently by the same government. They were arrested, tortured and taken to Juba for a claim that they are recruiting rebels in an ally with Congo rebel.
    No! that reason was faulty. Dinka in Yei wanted the town to be demarcated; fortunately our people stood together and said NO! A lot of our people suffered in the process. The local population were terribly beaten by the SPLA soldiers as all leaders and elders were taken for interrogation in Juba. The same government forged faulty statement against us and today they are working hard to disable us so that they (Dinka) can take Yei for themselves.
    Government of South Sudan is completely surrounded with lies. Dinka tribe has strong agenda in Equatoria. We know this, but still to remind you. What is happening in Madi land today is the same thing which happened in Yei, but in different Forms.
    Right from the beginning of SPLA/M rule, their giants in the government had this to say, “Madi are stumbling Block for Dinkanization of Equatoria”. For Equatorians who are not yet touched by the strength behaviour of Dinka, I would like to tell you that if you don’t pay attention to what happened in Yei and now happening in Madiland, we are all victims.
    For Madi people, take courage and don’t surrender Nimule to Dinka. It’s not about Town Council, but occupation.
    josephy@yahoo.com
    Yakani Joseph
    Yei

  8. Ghosh Isaac says:

    Ghosh Isaac
    I would like to register my thanks and appreciation for the message to our nation in regards to the death of our head Chief Ajugo, mass arrest of innocent civilians, harassment and intimidation of our people. Bullet or assassination is not a means to silence elites who stand for their rights, the rights of their people and Ma’diland in general. The murder of the head Chief Ajugo will not grant them what they want, what they would have achieved in a peaceful negotiation.
    Our MPs has not only let us down but they failed us and also divided us to achieve their selfish interest. In the wake of the assassination of head Chief Ajugo, the entire Ma’di community should reserve the right to reject conducting business with any government organs until the following issues are resolved.
    1) The issue of IDP in Ma’diland
    2) Approval and establishment of Ma’di county
    3) Ma’di community should urge the government of the Republic of South Sudan to remove the military base from Nimule
    4) Proper consultation with Ma’di community both within and abroad have to be conducted before any developmental program begins in Ma’diland particularly in Nimule.
    Please include my name in the circulating petition.

  9. Tocar says:

    There is no peace and there will be no peace as long as Dinkas are in Power. What is happening is not only in Equatoria. It has happened in Western Bhaharel Ghazal where the Non Dinkas are, i mean The Fertits. And the same issue of land grabbing happened to the Shuluks, the people of Malakal Town and the areas which belong to them are being occupied by The Dinkas. Not only that, The Dinkas have and The Only Obstacle is The Nuer which they find problemetic and they are trying to find the solution in which they believe that the Power that will be saved for them.
    What the Murles are struggling for is sensible and no one should disregard. What a Hell one Tribe cowing The Whole Nation. We better take action before it is too late for us All.

    • Chaka, Jill says:

      Tocar, Up to now while the rest of the tribes look at Dinkas as fellow countrymen, the Dinkas look at us as subjects! They are occupiers from north to south and from west to east! Time of awakening!

  10. gama james albert says:

    Shame on GOSS, shame on governor of EES, above all shame on Hon. Billal, for their evil action on Madi land, they will never and never achieve their evil plans against madi land. shame on those who killed chief Ajugo especially minority of the business community who cooperated with evil government plans.
    I talk as a true son of the soil. premanuture politics is the problem in south sudan. brothers and sisters, let us stand strong to eliminate the political leaders who are assuming their power by doing evil plan. thanks

  11. SPLA says:

    SHAME ON MADI MPS. TO MADI PEOPLE, VOTE ALL THEM THEM OUT COME THE NEXT ELECTION FOR THEY ARE REPRESENTING THEIR SELFISH INTEREST.

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