Show Us Your ID’s: Ethnic Patriotism And The Killing of Simon Dhieu In Yei River County

BY: Martin Garang Aher, APR/21/2016, SSN;

Ethnic targeted killing is heightening in South Sudan. The constellation of killings out of tribal detestation, ordinarily executed following effective identification to establish the correct ethnic origin of the person(s) to be killed, has, to this juncture, reached its zenith.

A few days ago, presumably April 13, 2016, Simon Dhieu and his co-worker of the Danish Demining Group (DDG) based in Yei, were gunned down by a group of unidentified Dinka haters on the outskirt of town. They were on their usual routine – which involves locating and destroying mines and other unexploded ordnance – exploring suspected areas to be demined.

Their killers, who stopped the commercial vehicle they were travelling in to the demining site, made no secret of what they were looking for. After forcing them out of the vehicle, they asked about their ethnic origins. The specific identification process employed by these determined killers included asking if there were MTNs or Dinkas among the occupants of the vehicle, numbering about eight people per the narratives of those who witnessed the scene.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the demining workers grew numb, unable to speak for fear of being caught lying, which might have led to further catastrophic consequences; or as a ploy to hide the identities of their colleagues that the assailants demanded to know. Either of the two, the ploy did not work.

The assailants asked for IDs at gunpoint, which were produced under intense nervousness. Satisfied with their search and identification that Simon Dhieu and his friend were Dinkas (the other who said his mother was a Kakwa from the area was spared), they separated them from the group, undressed them, tied their hands behind their backs, faced them away from the rest, took aims and in an unembellished bestial ferocity, shot them all in the back.

The two young men, intelligent and dedicated nation builders who, on daily basis, risked their lives demining their new country from mines and other unexploded ordnances left behind by two decades of civil war – especially Yei River County – contorted and collapsed in front of their colleagues. The mother earth, unpreparedly, received their lifeless bodies pushed down on it by the curvature of space. On the ground, they lay never to get up again. Their colleagues looked on completely petrified, outraged but powerless.

Dinka The MTNs

The killers were out looking for the MTNs, a euphemism for the Dinka people. MTN is a South African-based Mobile Telephone Network operating in many countries around the world, including South Sudan. But to understand its contextual use in this ethnic-based targeted killing, one has to understand the Hutu paramilitary génocidaires of 1994 – The Interahamwe Militias – that likened Tutsi ethnic group members to cockroaches and set about to exterminate them; the Sudanese president’s likening of South Sudanese to insects (hasharat) that should just be sprayed dead. More broadly, think of any other time someone likens another person to a monkey, a dog or a pig – wishing to do unto them the treatment such animals would receive.

The perpetrators always used these euphemisms to deny themselves any feelings of sympathy or remorse. It is a human way of turning off humanity and revealing the devil within in its full glory. But in this case, a simple analogy is that MTN coverage seems to be everywhere, just as Dinka majority in South Sudan could be found anywhere in the country, hence, the MTNs.

The killing of Simon Dhieu and his Dinka co-worker is one count among many: between Juba and Yei, people have been pulled out of vehicles and killed; between Juba and Mundri West and East, vehicles heading North of the country have been ransacked and travellers killed mercilessly; out of Rumbek to any direction, extrajudicial killings have been meted out on tribal identities.

Even in Juba itself, people say it would be stupid to walk on in the streets at night without checking your back. Suburbs have become lethal tribal areas with people from particular regions of South Sudan settling exclusive from others.

Lethal Tribal Identity

At the moment of their death, and in the realms of the spirits – if there exists a metaphysical ability enabling the dead extend earthly tragedies into conclusive discussions in the worlds beyond the physical, Simon and his colleague would still be questioning their abrupt and tragic human engendered demise.

No doubt, even those alive and have heard or witnessed the killing are probing for answers as well. There is a need to fill-in the gap left by the deaths of these two young nation builders with answers. They had no time to ask their killers. Their killers were filled with rage. Simon and his friend were, in turn, filled with fear and questions.

They died before working out anything for resolution or understanding. The only message that brutally departed with them was the question and confirmation of their Dinka originality.

In South Sudan, a nation that must assert itself among the nations of the world, telling the truth could be part of nation building. But, in telling the truth about who they were, Simon Dhieu and his Dinka colleague stumbled on a mystery: having been born Dinkas was a deadly natural reality that kills at once upon pronunciation or realization.

That was why they were killed. They might want to know why it was lethal to be found or born a Dinka? Would they have survived had their killers known that in the Dinka blood runs a shared DNA strains linking them with Kakwa, Acholi, Shilluk, Anyuak, Nuer, Taposta, Luo, Atuot, Aliap, Didinga, etc? Would they have been spared if they had a chance to remind their killers that, despite being the Dinkas they so much hated, they both shared the history of marginalisation and, now, the independent South Sudan?

The Nation Built on Tribal Allegiances

To suggest that South Sudan is a nation built on the glaring reality of ethnic patriotism, one cannot be accused of overstating the network of the South Sudanese society’s identity crisis.

We have seen this in government, where communities rally behind politicians hailing from their areas; we see it in the South Sudanese army, paramilitaries and militias where people we have blood relations are the ones we support and stand by irrespective of inabilities and misleading, often destructive dreams; we know this when we speak and argue with pervasive national character and suggesting revolutionary changes while discreetly, wishing that these changes be done by somebody closer to home; we see it in employment sector, where entire tribes dominate key structures of subsistence; in the airport and immigration where rules only apply to tribes other than mine; in service delivery queues where if an official delivering services is of my blood relation, tribe, region, or any other category that fits, we must be esteemed queue-jumpers.

If ethnic groups favour themselves over everything, then the end of everything will always be ethnic clash – Clashing over resources, government positions, national projects, administrative areas and all that the country throws at her citizens.

South Sudanese must rise and meet the challenges of true nationalism – It is not right to speak with national rhetoric while practicing ethnic patriotism. Nations of the world that are now considered prosperous, peaceful and strong did one thing: they shunned ethnic allegiances and accepted to be one and subjects of a nation.

It is in shunning ethnic loyalties that the deaths, like that of Simon Dhieu and his colleagues, would be brought to an end. If it starts effectively at the national level, other gruesome deaths related to ethnic loyalties would surely be curtailed. END


  1. Okuc says:


    It is very sad these two gentlemen were killed because they are Dinka and that was the reason of their demise in Yei county. It is true these gentlemen were killed because of identity by their killers who identified them as Dinka and being a Dinka in South sudan under regime of kirr is enough to be a target by those whose relatives or loves ones have been killed by Dinka in National Army or SPLM and Security Services which are dominated by Dinka.
    The reality in South sudan is very sad because Kirr supported by his ethnic or so called Jieng council of elders who use state machinary to kill and suppress the rest of South sudanse in pursuit of Dinka domination of all institutions in the country is responsible for the death of these two innocent gentlemen.
    Recently, women, children and old men and women were killed in UMIS in Malakal by splm and Dinka padang militias who are armed by Kirr’s regime in Juba to carry out such horrendos killing of powerless people who took refuge because the state failed to protect them; instead the state is the one killing them.
    killing innocent people like the ones killed in Yei county or elsewhere will not stop until regime in Juba and its supporters realise that using state machinary to kill or suppress others will not achieve their agenda of turning South Sudan into Dinka republic because such methods have been tried in some countries and failed. you can terrorize people for definite period but once they overcome their fear no force can subdue them no matter your numbers.

    • Operation Hammer says:

      You’re justifying the killing of innocent Dinka civilians because the government is taking care of armed rebels who were ambushing and killed their soldiers in the country? Well; there is a serious regrouping now by the Jiengs in general to deal with those killing. The government would be told not to intervene for few months and the operation “Goor” would not be only travelers but it will go as far as to the villages! Do you now think any None-jieng would be walking freely without fear of being killed whether or not he or she is innocent and it will not be only Equatorian but the Collo wouldn’t be immune to this as well since your justification for this is loud and clear!

      • Deng Monymor says:

        Operation Hammer,

        Operation Goor is the only solution for such act. It has, however, already started and I hope those who are now enjoying it will not cry and complain as the outcome of their hatred is going to produce what they will not be happy with. As we saw Riek Machar I (1991) and Riek Machar II (2013), we are going to see the consequences of Kokora II as we dealt with Kokora I in 1980s. It is clear now that the problem in South Sudan is not the government, but the tribe……preparation has already started, and so Joan Adams will have a lot to talk about on the phone very soon.

  2. Kokora II says:

    Martin Garang Aher
    Only two Dinkas got killed and you wrote a whole page, but thousands are being killed by Dinkas all over South Sudan. Did you write a word? Do you really think peace has come to South Sudan? No, the worse is still on the way.

  3. Toria says:

    Sad news to hear that these gentlemen were executed because of their ethnicity. Sorry to say this but I got to be honest with you, being a Jenge in South Sudan and in North Sudan is like being a Nazi in East and West Germany in the late 1940s after the fall of Hitler. On the front page of this very website if you scroll to mid section on the right of the screen you will see dead people pilled up like woods, guess who are those? Are they Jenges? off course no. Guess who killed this innocent civilians? Non other than Jenge militias of Kirr and Malong. “What goes around comes around”.
    here is a simple lesson of truth for you, the golden rule says: “Do unto others as you would like them do unto you”

    • Bol says:

      Nazi, which was a political ideology is equivalent to Jeing which is ethnicity in North and South Sudan…..Mabior Garang is a Nazi in 194s language or a Jeing in 2016 language….This is a very simple way of deciphering the complexities of government, revelation and thuggery! Dose this statement really reflects historical facts? What about Non German who supported Nazi ideology? What about German ethnics who opposed the Nazi? Love and hatred do shaped the way human sees things! The beginning of the commentary got nothing to do with its ending [Sad news….Do unto other…], because people tend to be sorry for what is wrong, not for what is excusable! Please declare your support for MTN hunting activities…You don’t need to hide behind colourful language of cause and effect.

  4. Nikalongo says:

    Targeted killings for whatever reasons must be condemned. No innocent citizen must be made to pay any price for the ill doings of the leaders of our country. At the same time, the government through her security organs and supporters must respect and not subject her ordinary citizens to inhuman behaviours as it is often the case. This country belongs to all her citizens. The arrogance and stupidity that the country belong to some and not others will only help to incite tensions between communities.
    RIP citizen Dhieu. May your death and the death of thousands of others brutally murdered by ethnic bigots bring us an everlasting peace.

  5. Force_1 says:

    Martin Garang Aher;
    You knew very well that these hatred were spread here on this side for years and now those are the results; but make no mistake about it; the page is going to be pulled out of their playbook and the retribution will spread like wildfire.
    And on the other hand the Yei River is going to come out with their retribution against Dinka as well and then the Dinka come out for their next revenge and the games goes on the on and on the way we all want. And we all need to make sure no one is going to complaint to the International community and #Toria and Kokora II need to hear that loud and clear! We are not going to blame you for killing innocent Dinka but don’t blame Dinka for killing innocent Equatorians travelers on any road and where in South Sudan.

    • Nuer-Another Israel in East Africa says:


      Bring it on, coward! Our only fear is that you will run to Museveni with your pant down. MTN is fitting name for you and embrace it like the Nuer has and continue to be called Nyigate. Yes indeed, what goes around comes around. I am against the death of Dhieu. It would have been nice if Salva Kiir or JCE can test it personally. These idiots are using Dhieu and many Dinka as human shields. Time for them will come one day.

  6. Gatdarwich says:


    This is purely a concocted typical Jenges’ lies. The fabricator of this history has a hidden agenda. Yei residents–non-Jenges must be sternly warned period

  7. alex says:

    Dear Mr Grang
    Condolences for the unfortunate killing of innocent people. Right now the liberators are dealing with Machar but soon the game will be over. Those bandits will pay for their actions. Those who show hate they will rape from it. The law is there to hold wrong doers to accounts. These bandits want justify their barbaric actions but soon they will be told they are wrong . Machar was deceiving the world with his propaganda but now he has realised that when you lie there will be point all you friends will reject you. I think those of Akuc have read the orders given to him. It is a shame today to Machar and his supporters. They have humiliated themselves to a laughing stoke.
    The SPLA will not rest until S. Sudan is free from criminals who want to come to power using bogus tribal politics. We have read their writings and the joy they express for the killing of these innocent people. Toria, Akuc and some others are happy for what happened. These criminals do not value human life and time will come to educate them to value and respect human life. They are the one killing people and they are the first to blame the government. This is a wrong thinking. So Toria and Akuc this is still your time but time will come for to understand that you were wrong

    • Operation Hammer says:

      It doesn’t have to be people responsible for killing those innocent Dinka to pay the price but the innocent Equatorians will pay the price dearly and that’s sad to say but the people whose their innocent were killed thinks exactly the same way. We will leave the bandits who killed our innocent civilians alone but take down nonejieng travelers the same way they do to Dinka. The reason the bandits are killing our people is because they said the government killed their rebels. Innocent Equatorians better armed themselves before travelling from now onward!
      I completely agreed with “Operation Hammer” that let’s have this kind of killing for months without any government intervention until one of us get his knees for peace!

  8. Toria says:

    Alex, Bol, Force_1
    There was no jenges killed it was a hoax from another one of your jenge warmongers, lies, lies, lies as usual. But it’s a propaganda that will backfire one day. Revenge killings should have started long time ago but others are tolerable not barbaric like you jenge lunatics. You have being killing others since 1983 till today, you are the murderers soon to go to the courts.

    • Force_1 says:

      Tell that to the families of those who were killed that it’s a hoax and make no mistake about it; the direct families of the victims who were killed are the first one who will never sleep until they take their revenge on other innocent Equatorians who had nothing to do with the killing of their love ones. They are going to have a good excuse and their reason would be; their love ones were killed while innocent and therefore shouldn’t they do the same?

      • Jake says:

        Same excuse as all other Non jieng your Dinka militias killed, i.e Nuer,Equatoria, chollos and Murles. Dinkas shouldn’t be crying for being targeted you started it when you thought you had all the guns in your store rooms, now everyone has guns. Let the game continue. Now you don’t have money to hire mercenaries to fight for you. face it. Cowards

    • Deng Monymor says:


      Cool down and stop glorifying this behavior, my friend. If things go like this for a while, don’t you think your Ma’di tribe will suffer much more than others? I hope you are mature enough to see what the result of this action will produce for you and your kinds.

  9. Charles says:

    It is unfortunate for the two young lives lost in that circumstance. However, that being said does not mean it came out of nothing. Its because some people have lost their love ones in that same manner across South Sudan and as such the vicious circle goes on. Coming to Machar’s issue of having humiliated himself by running an armed group is not true the truth will be seen when war breaks out in Juba and we will see who supports Reik. It will be a big surprise for the.government in Juba especially Kiir to realize that even those who dine with him in the presidential palace may not be his true supporters, but by then it’ll be too late. I am not wishing for my fellow South Sudanese to continue living in a.war.ravaged country. God bless that young nation.

    • alex says:

      Dear Charles

      Thanks very much. We will see if that is the plan Machar has, history will prove who is wrong. Those who have the guts to fight let them start it. We can not underestimate your strength but we need action support your delusions. Those who are ready to sacrifice their lives to face the fire are welcome. The lessons learn from the outcome will help to educate our future generation. With all your Judas Iscariots still dinning in the presidential place, they will come to access whether they made a wise decisions for those who will succeed to escape the wreath. So, I am assuring our people, do not be scared of anything. I thing splm-in opp knows the risk of starting a war in Juba and they will think twice before making any reckless miscalculated coup attempt.They will rape the fruits of their actions. Blessed are the peace makers and those who are pure in the heart for they will see God.

  10. Aguer says:

    For you all who are defending these. Thugs,be careful what U wishing for,to day they are killing Dinkas ,tomorrow it will be your brother or your sister husband. .crime is crime its doesn’t have tribes.instead of condemnations you guys are supporting it as if it was a victory war go ahead good luck with that who knows

  11. Toria says:

    “Blessed are the peace makers and those who are pure in the heart for they will see God.” Amen to that Alex, this is the first ever something you said I agreed with. Although you are not the “peace maker” referenced here.

    “The SPLA will not rest until S. Sudan is free from criminals who want to come to power using bogus tribal politics” Really? The criminal is SPLA so let SPLA not rest until each an everyone of them face justice and SPLA as a criminal organization will be dismantled.

    Alex and the likes;
    Your accusations of Dr Riek Machar is bogus and baseless. After all Riak Machar is the Architect and the Father of 2011 independence of South Sudan. Had it being left for late Dr John Garang and you the blind followers we are still at war with the North. So, all you Jenges who are “enjoying” the fruit of Riak’s brainwork need to get on your knees and kiss Riak’s feet if not worship his Excellency the First VP designate and next President of South Sudan Dr Riak Machar when his plane touches the ground in Juba anytime as you read this message.
    Sorry but the plan is beyond your reach. So, enjoy while it lasts because this is the last time you test the presidency.

  12. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Charles,
    U will be disappointed as a dieheart supporter of Dr Riak.
    If u don’t know anything about the events of 1991 and their grave consequences in terms of human cost and set back to the struggle for RSS independence under Dr Garang,it ought to be becouse u weren’t a child soldier in the struggle.
    Dr Riak is a traitor who have sent and will still send many lives to hell.He ran to Khartoum after failing to overthrow Garang in 1991 and joined ranks with the Jalaba to reverse the SPLM/A military gains.Assumed he wasn’t a party to the events of 2013,how was it possible that he didn’t prevent the massacres of dinka masses in nuer homelands after assuming the commander-in-chief seat of the SPLA-IO?
    That is just one among the high points that make of him a tribalist contradicting any notion of a struggle for national interests to all.
    If the war u predict ever breaks up in Juba under Dr Riak,please trust me it would never take any turn from a tribal context.
    Weren’t u born yet when the events of Rwanda took place?
    Dr Riak is due in Juba tommorrow.The interim government will last 30 months.If u are certain of what u predict,it will take place within the 30 months.If accidental cases of death stay at bay,u and me will be still alife.I will be a happiest man if I survived that tragedy and seen my point proven out of the mark.

  13. Hoiloom says:


    Read what you write, tough talk from people who rely on mercenaries.


  14. alex says:

    Brothers Lets talk peace now. I think the war mongers might have learn much within this one week.
    Was it worth to fight all this two years and now we are back to square one peace talks. After loosing 50,000 men at end we released that, peace was the best option. Were we out of mind by then? Didn’t we forecast that war can be destructive, nasty and difficult sometimes. Quick temper, anger, lies,blames, smearing others hate and tribal politics our worst enemies and to make it worse this bad practice is being used by our so called politicians and educated elites. The rivalry for power and positions has pushed them to divide us. They plan hatred among us and we just take it literally. We need to open our eyes and stop following people blindly. The so call equatorial leaders who want to start another war should think twice before starting another war or otherwise they risk being damped like what is happening now

  15. john Yugu says:

    There one thing that some communities need to understand that no signal community has a monopoly of weapons in South Sudan. We all buy them. So Dinka can’t be threatening others about dangers of war. Hadn’t been of the Ugandan and Sudanese mercenaries JCE and kiir would have been history by now folks..,
    So please stop this useless threatening phrases .you better embrace peaceful coexistence or follow the path of Saddam,Mabutu and Kadaffi .your mentor Musevein can’t be trusted By the way Musevein is using you guys theJeings!!This very Musevein is the one who has destroyed Congo stole their resources…

    • alex says:

      Mr Yugu
      If you are still not happy with Kiir being in power, there is room for you people to wadge another war instead of complaining of Musuven. This time UPDF is not longer in S. Sudan so anyone who is not interested in peace can taste what war is. I find some of these argument childish. Had it not to be Omer El Bashir who will try to fight. we have to change our language to peace.You people kill innocent people on Yei, Kajokeji, Mundri, Yambio, Nimule, Bor, roads in the name of fake liberation.

  16. Martin Garang,

    Thank you for exposing the evil did against our brothers. Those killers whether what tribe they come from will never succeed in the evil plans. However, you should also expose the names of those civilians killed and thrown into Yei River for being Nuers when their brothers rebelled to join Dr. Riek Machar. The future of South Sudan lies in the hands of patriots like you and me; read more from the Bible (Mark 3:24-25)

  17. False Millionaire says:

    U aren’t obliged to admit truth about U.
    But time will prove very quickly that those of Oliny and the rest of the Shulluk Militia leaders to the exception of the dying lion Dr Nyaba are very wise in distancing themselves from u.The mess up in RSS is due to the lack of an accountable government.But that will be achieved one day if elites of good will take over.Peace comes among citizens with mutual consensus and trust.That will be the hour in which cases of discontent including illegal land grabbing crisis will be put to an end one good time for all with the shulluk masses losing no one single tooth.

    I am an RSS citizen and one among those who understand Dr Riak inside out.His dream is a sterile power and the means justify the end to obtain it.Think about the events of 1991 and those of 2013 and the many lives that have been lost.I know u will jump up too hurriedly to refute his role to them.But it’s most irresponsible to think that he will not mastermind another tragedy in pursuit of the same sterile power so soon.
    We are in a live show in a broad day light my friend and those of Gore,general Kenyi and Dau Aturjoung will eat their livers so bitterly in regret of having been dragged to the mud they don’t deserve in a cheap way they have never made an effort to understand long before it’s too late.

  18. Mony-etet says:

    When will we learn from the past mistakes ? Dr. Riak has just returned to the country and people are now talking peace . why do we dwell so much on hate speech ? The author has not done any mistake when he wrote this article , he was just informing the public , my question is , what have we achieved from war since 2013 ? Ugandan troops have left but where have anti-Dinka the Dinka to ? do not kill innocent Dinka or any tribe but they are not part of the politics otherwise…………..let handle this peace with utmost care so that we could restore our beloved nation to its feet otherwise there is no winner in this war , 2013 crisis is the living example in that regard ….stop war language and embrace peace immediately , being internet warriors will not save this nation , the entire nation is talking peace while you are dragging us back to war …..stop that nonsense ……may the souls of our beloved brothers rest in eternal peace …Amen

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