The Unknown Origin of Armed Violence in South Sudan

BY: Dhoal Tuolual Larjin, USA, FEB/21/2014, SSN;

Unknown to many people outside South Sudan the armed violence that broke out in Juba in December last year was more than just an intra-tribal conflict. It was an accumulation of past differences and wrong decisions from top leadership of the country.

From my personal experiences, foreign interests cannot be ruled out of the war. I had just graduated with Masters Degree from USA and was lecturing in social sciences at local Juba universities.

The war of South Sudan is originally said to be an intra-conflict war within the of SPLM political party. It sparked to armed violence when political differences within SPLM were not resolved as the party was preparing to organize it preliminary elections for 215.

Most members were in Juba where several meetings were in progress. Differences in opinions triggered intolerance between members and the government became unreasonable.

In the preparation for pre-election, Salva Kiir and Dr.
Riek Machar declared themselves as the next presidential candidates for 2015 election.

Dr. Machar is a Nuer from the second largest tribe while Salva Kiir is a Dinka from the largest tribe in South Sudan. Kiir is the sitting president while Machar is the former vice president.

In the party too, they followed the same order. Kiir the chairman and Riek the vice chairman. Kiir decided to sack Dr. Machar and all his cabinet ministers from the government before the incident happened in Juba.

On Saturday of December 14th, 2013, the president addressed the SPLM meeting attended by all members across the country. When he opened the meeting, he reminded members of the effects of 1991 war. This caused some members to walk out and they did not turn up the next day, Sunday 15th December 2013.

That Sunday, the president ordered the commander of the presidential guards to disarm all the Nuers serving as presidential guards. He then ordered the arrest of SPLM members who did not show up for Sunday meeting.

The commander of presidential guards Major General Marial Chinung executed the two orders with precision. It led to an all-out fight at the general headquarters.

The presidential guards were now divided on tribal lines, Nuer and Dinka. They fired guns against each other from 9 PM.The fighting went on until midday and resumed the following day at different parts of Juba.

Nuer civilians were killed on 15th December, 2013 in Juba escalating the war into ethnic lines across states. The two leaders were caught up in the war that divided the national army along two sides.

Dr. Machar was rescued and ran to bush by some forces loyal to him while his 11 SPLM top leaders were arrested and detained in military prisons in Juba.

He accused Kiir of violating the law by arresting his colleagues. He challenged the government of corruption and unconstitutional policies. He fled to Jonglie state and waged war against Kiir.

There are claims that Ugandan troops helped him to push Machar forces out. People in Sudan believed that Dr. Machar seemed to have much support from the national army than Kiir who depends on Ugandan troops.

I have observed that the war was originally an itra- conflict affair among the SPLM members. It led to ethnic polarization between the Nuer and the Dinka.

It was due to political differences between SPLM members plus resentment to illegal recruitment and disbarment of militarized men.

Foreign intervention on political decisions especially from Museveni was seen as the main cause of violence. There was high corruption at the top leadership and lack of qualified personnel in government institutions. Interested groups clinged to power for long time. They chose war than peace for the country.

The combat caused genocide for the civilians across the country many Nuers were killed in Juba and Dinka killed in Bentiu. The Ugandan warplanes killed thousands of civilians and severe damage on the properties.

Foreigners including Americans were killed in war, for instance, in Upper Nile Ugandan could not survive. Hatred was emerged among the tribes and the war cost government huge amount of money to hire foreign troops from Uganda.

The ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa is mediated by Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) but it is not yet effective because some of the mediators participated in the war fighting along side with government have made IGAD so weak to address the peace.

Kiir did not want to have peace because Museveni had already solved the problem of the SPLM using Ugandan troops. Dr. Machar is set to battle against Kiir and Museveni.

The SPLA in opposition has conditioned the South Sudan to withdraw Ugandan troops and release other detainees in order to have peace with the government. Kiir promised to release detainees but not to withdraw Ugandan troops. Seven detainees were released but four still in detention.

Both warring parties are still fighting on the ground contesting for oil strategic states of Bentiu and Malakal.

The IGAD proposed a temporary government which is an interim government without Dr. Riek and Salva Kiir but it was not accepted by both parties because it will not benefit any.

Kiir could not allow the interim government in place because he was constitutional elected president and his term not yet ended for 2015 next general election.

One would say argument is not valid because the president acted contrary to the constitution like the case of arresting politicians will ground his removal by the people.

The power sharing between the two sides is another means to settle the crisis for is feasible for the South Sudan situation.

UN- trusteeship government was proposed by international community but discarded by the two sides because it did not benefit any of the side.

The government of broad based national unity is an inclusive solution that would completely solve the differences but expensive and timely consumer. A war win loss solution is a military government after defeating a side in war that would be a great advantage for the winning side but very costly and uncertain solution.

For final conclusion, I have plead that the iron war of south Sudan was possible of prevention if leaders were being educated to predicate attitudes of the people.

Foreign influence has destroyed the young nation due to their national interests. I argue that power sharing is the best solution for the war in South Sudan because it is feasible, fair, and cheapest for all parties else the wins lose solution will be applicable to all sides.

The power sharing was used to settle similar crisis in Kenya and it did work out to stabilise the political issues of the country.

I urge the government and international agencies to use power sharing as the solution for peace. The government should limit restriction of members within SPLM to exercise their democratic rights of freedom of speech and gathering.

I think the national army could have been disciplined not on tribal.

Dhoal Tuolaul Larjin was an associate professor at local universities in Juba. He fled the country because of the ongoing war. dtuolual@gmail.com.
Dhoal Tuolual Larjin, BA/MA political science
Currently working on his PhD-USA

7 Comments

  1. Peter Ajak says:

    Dear Mr. Dhoal Tuolual Larjin,
    Your writing is great. you almost emphasised all I wanted to know. You are to some percentage correct, but check your grammar to determine if its from a Master Degree Holder. Be honest if you are a true South Sudanese. Do you also believed that you fueled the crisis and escaped to USA to pursue your PhD?
    Peter Ajak

  2. Eli says:

    Dear writer;
    Although you have narrated well how the present conflict erupted you did not point to the root cause of the conflict. We all knew this was coming even before the independence. Let us call apples and oranges by their rightful names, people like you who profess higher educational scale need not to timid or confuse the masses but rather come up with brave and intelligent ideas. FYI power sharing at this point will not yield any suitable solutions, instead those soon-to-be indicted war criminals should all step-down and agree with those sisterly regional governments like the IGAD’s proposals to form an interim-government which must be neutral party and a non SPLA/M affiliated body be formed to take over until the 2015 elections, Salva Kirr shouldn’t have anything to fear if he thinks he is legitimate candidate to lead us after the next election. But we all know this won’t happen, because this will mean the end of Kirr’s and his unregistered illegal parties in South Sudan like the SPLA/M will ceased to exist.

    Here are some other truth for you:
    Museveni doesn’t really love Kirr or dinka people; he Museveni and Kirr share few things in common; empty EGOS, GREEDS, BLOOD THIRSTS, SELFISHNESS, BORN-TO-RULE MENTALITY, IGNORANCE, CORRUPTIONS AND ALL THE EVIL ACTS. ( to justify my arguments go and watch the predictions made by Dr. Hassan Al Turabi on youtube.com, I usually don’t agree with Turabi’s Islamic philosophical POVs or point-of-views but in this regards I do agree with him of what he said about the “egos of dinkas” way before the so-called independence of South Sudan).

    To ALL my dear Equatorians; this is our opportunity to take back our freedoms and rights from Kirr’s dinka dominated regime, we are the determining factor in this present up-rise against the dinka SPLA/M dictatorship. In fact we need to work together and not be intimidated by them anymore and as the doors for enlisting into the army has opened wide it is our moment to join the military and then turn around to make mutiny and overthrow this regime repeat of 1955 (Torit-mutiny) for a better future. Nothing against dinka people as a tribe but your mentality and behavioural attitudes have left scars in our hearts, for this reason you have no place in Equatoria, again to remind you that by forcing Equatorian women in marriage and producing the so-called dinkatorian bustards doesn’t mean you are being accepted, we do have married few dinka women too, mostly those who grew up in a non-dinka cultural environments and they are the ones who came to us to ask us to marry them, we cannot live together until you adjust your reasoning capacity. Anyone can look around and compare the difference without much difficulty. You are savages and anarchists while we are peaceful and intellectually diplomatic, that is why you prefer to get stuck in Equatoria.
    Now let’s go back to a few years back history;
    During the war with the North John Garang begged Equatorians to help accommodate displaced dinka IDPs, they cried we sympathized with them but they took advantage of our sympathy. If they are preaching of liberation to us we already fought a civil war of Anyanya one movement from 1955 to 1972, had it not being your hypocrisy we ALL South Sudanese could have achieved our goals many years ago. The new liberation is for you to go and liberate your swamps from another savages and anarchist the mighty Nuer youths, let us see how this battle between the RED army vs. the WHITE army going to end.

    The desires of the Equatorian people:
    In Equatoria we want to develop and upscale our systems and bring forth industrialization, building of hydroelectricity dams or fossilized fuel electric generation power houses and modernized agricultural improvements and to build more roads for people not cows, (grazinglands for animals should be fenced and be fed by animal fodders produced by farmers, in fact your cows are of less value compared to international markets, they need to be cross-bred and genetically improved to compete for its meat and milk products, there are people around the globe who are willing to show us how to do ranching if we ask them nicely). We want to build schools for students but not as camp-grounds for IDPs.
    In conclusion:
    So to ALL you dinkas, we Equatorians would rather side with Riek Machar; because in principles Riek has always worked for independence of S. Sudan while on the other side Garang wanted united Sudan.

    Just FYI, Museveni killed your hero Dr. John Garang, Museveni was aware of Dr. Garang’s visions such as; to annexed Ugandan soil upto Soroti which is part of Sudan according to the former imperialist British map, Museveni also killed Gen. Ator, he knows Kirr is gullible and he can use him to accomplish his dreams of conquering whole of East African block under his (dreamland) kingdom.
    My plea to the peace loving peoples of Equatoria and those in Wau (excluding those savages and anarchists) we must join hands to take over and bring about just and lasting peace in South Sudan. May God bless the peace loving peoples of South Sudan and our beloved mothe

  3. Eli says:

    Dear writer;
    Although you have narrated well how the present conflict erupted you did not point to the root cause of the conflict. We all knew this was coming even before the independence. Let us call apples and oranges by their rightful names, people like you who profess higher educational scale need not to timid or confuse the masses but rather come up with brave and intelligent ideas. FYI power sharing at this point will not yield any suitable solutions, instead those soon-to-be indicted war criminals should all step-down and agree with those sisterly regional governments like the IGAD’s proposals to form an interim-government which must be neutral party and a non SPLA/M affiliated body be formed to take over until the 2015 elections, Salva Kirr shouldn’t have anything to fear if he thinks he is legitimate candidate to lead us after the next election. But we all know this won’t happen, because this will mean the end of Kirr’s and his unregistered illegal parties in South Sudan like the SPLA/M will ceased to exist.

    Here are some other truth for you:
    Museveni doesn’t really love Kirr or dinka people; he Museveni and Kirr share few things in common; empty EGOS, GREEDS, BLOOD THIRSTS, SELFISHNESS, BORN-TO-RULE MENTALITY, IGNORANCE, CORRUPTIONS AND ALL THE EVIL ACTS. ( to justify my arguments go and watch the predictions made by Dr. Hassan Al Turabi on youtube.com, I usually don’t agree with Turabi’s Islamic philosophical POVs or point-of-views but in this regards I do agree with him of what he said about the “egos of dinkas” way before the so-called independence of South Sudan).

    To ALL my dear Equatorians; this is our opportunity to take back our freedoms and rights from Kirr’s dinka dominated regime, we are the determining factor in this present up-rise against the dinka SPLA/M dictatorship. In fact we need to work together and not be intimidated by them anymore and as the doors for enlisting into the army has opened wide it is our moment to join the military and then turn around to make mutiny and overthrow this regime repeat of 1955 (Torit-mutiny) for a better future. Nothing against dinka people as a tribe but your mentality and behavioural attitudes have left scars in our hearts, for this reason you have no place in Equatoria, again to remind you that by forcing Equatorian women in marriage and producing the so-called dinkatorian bustards doesn’t mean you are being accepted, we do have married few dinka women too, mostly those who grew up in a non-dinka cultural environments and they are the ones who came to us to ask us to marry them, we cannot live together until you adjust your reasoning capacity. Anyone can look around and compare the difference without much difficulty. You are savages and anarchists while we are peaceful and intellectually diplomatic, that is why you prefer to get stuck in Equatoria.
    Now let’s go back to a few years back history;
    During the war with the North John Garang begged Equatorians to help accommodate displaced dinka IDPs, they cried we sympathized with them but they took advantage of our sympathy. If they are preaching of liberation to us we already fought a civil war of Anyanya one movement from 1955 to 1972, had it not being your hypocrisy we ALL South Sudanese could have achieved our goals many years ago. The new liberation is for you to go and liberate your swamps from another savages and anarchist the mighty Nuer youths, let us see how this battle between the RED army vs. the WHITE army going to end.

    The desires of the Equatorian people:
    In Equatoria we want to develop and upscale our systems and bring forth industrialization, building of hydroelectricity dams or fossilized fuel electric generation power houses and modernized agricultural improvements and to build more roads for people not cows, (grazinglands for animals should be fenced and be fed by animal fodders produced by farmers, in fact your cows are of less value compared to international markets, they need to be cross-bred and genetically improved to compete for its meat and milk products, there are people around the globe who are willing to show us how to do ranching if we ask them nicely). We want to build schools for students but not as camp-grounds for IDPs.
    In conclusion:
    So to ALL you dinkas, we Equatorians would rather side with Riek Machar; because in principles Riek has always worked for independence of S. Sudan while on the other side Garang wanted united Sudan.

    Just FYI, Museveni killed your hero Dr. John Garang, Museveni was aware of Dr. Garang’s visions such as; to annexed Ugandan soil upto Soroti which is part of Sudan according to the former imperialist British map, Museveni also killed Gen. Ator, he knows Kirr is gullible and he can use him to accomplish his dreams of conquering whole of East African block under his (dreamland) kingdom.
    My plea to the peace loving peoples of Equatoria and those in Wau (excluding those savages and anarchists) we must join hands to take over and bring about just and lasting peace in South Sudan. May God bless the peace loving peoples of South Sudan and our beloved motherland.

  4. monychol says:

    Ajak, this archaic attitude of South Sudanese to smear everyone who said the truth is not working.This gentleman said the truth as it did happen I was in Juba and how can you asserted that he might had caused the conflict and he stated that he was a teacher ? The attitude of believing that everyone who said the truth is part of the problem and that parties to the conflict are always guilty is a wild dumb concept recently brooded by pseudo intelectuals from. Dinka Bor and you must. not advance it to social. media .

  5. Tom says:

    To the writer and any commenter.

    You need to be honest and stick to the TRUTH which is permanently residing inside a person.
    By this all will enjoy your land of honey and milk. lies is also around to differentiate.

  6. Kanya Gogo says:

    Dhoal Tuolual Larjin,

    I agree with some of your ideas. But I don’t understand your tittle at all. You call yourself Associate Professor and again you are telling us you are working on your PhD. How do you become an Associate Professor before becoming even a Dr? Is this not a scam? What do you mean by local universities? We have University of Juba which is the only government university and the rest are private universities. I don’t understand your phrase local university.

  7. wanilosake says:

    Kiir is the only person who help us get our independent, not only that he managed to contain jalaba till we become a full nation.
    He also did something wonderfull by bringing all the Nuer Dinka and equatoria militias who would had spoil our independent to SPLA if he hate Nuer why should he integrated them in the first place?

    The writer english doesnt matter but he mention some of the confusion which were misused by riak ,
    we need to look ahead to heal our land

    Wanilosake or Augusteno in calgary

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