Tiananmen Square tragedy copycatted in South Sudan fratricidal conflict with Kampala’s nod

BY: Peter LoKarlo Ngrimwa, Australia, JUL/28/2015, SSN;

Twenty six years ago the world was profoundly horrified by what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre in the heart of Beijing in which protestors including students were massacred by Chinese troops for what the authorities in Beijing termed counter revolutionary riot”.

Drawing an inspiration and enthralling parallel of that chilling incident more than two decades on, the government army of South Sudan teamed up with its allied militia forces have emulated the feat of Tiananmen Square by deliberately running over and crushing fleeing civilians with battle tanks in South Sudan’s Unity state.

The report, published by Human Rights Watch (News24), has inculpated the South Sudan government troops of committing atrocities against unarmed and destitute civilians which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In a separate report prepared by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) group, the South Sudanese government forces have been responsible for scores of killings, rapes and extensive pillaging and burning of civilian property (Business International Times, 22 July 2015), while the USA that helped create the world’s newest country alongside the global community watches on with folded arms, only eagerly waiting to punish any third world country that may adopt punitive measures against the practice of sodomy, alternatively known generally gay rights.

Courtesy to Uganda army’s lethal counterinsurgency strategies that were once applied by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) on the Acholi civilian population in Northern Uganda who were faulted by Kampala for complicity in the Rebellion led by Joseph Kony against the state.

Those countless murders and mutilations of civilians were all blamed on the LRA by the government of Uganda.

Such feudalistic practices run counter to the very essence of contemporary civilized standards.

Brazenly engaging in a sheer chicanery and Advocatus diaboli, the South Sudan’s government is desperately attempting to deny any wrongdoing and instantaneously seeking to hold the Human Rights Watch (HRW) group and the UN Agencies that reported the wanton and unmatched abuses by the government army responsible for what it calls “false reporting”.

Lamentably, the world is diffidently watching the gruesome massacres in South Sudan with less concerns and infinitesimal receptivity.

In a related note, it is unreservedly inconceivable and credulous to hear certain individuals swiftly pointing an accusing finger at foreign countries as being responsible for the furtherance of the conflict in South Sudan.

You can’t just intentionally go on rampage conducting mass murders, rape spree, castration of young boys, looting and burning of ethnic Nuer village settlements and hastily turn around to blame foreign countries for lengthening the duration of the civil war overlooking your obvious outrageous role and shortcomings.

Have you and the government in Juba for a single moment ever thought of embracing and inculcating a pacific culture and at least a patina of fair play in the country?

Perplexingly, the military spokesman of the South Sudanese army has now put on a brave face and unapologetically talking about the need to launch an investigation into the mass killings in Unity state, sounding as if it was the first time such a spate of brutality has ever occurred.

It is repulsive and exasperating experience. South Sudanese have on numerous occasions been treated to such repeated blatant pack of lies and can’t accommodate this classic travesty anymore.

However, I am still inclined to argue that the exit of the Ugandan military from South Sudan is the panacea and would indubitably pave the way for rapprochement in South Sudan and consequently leading to the creation of a transitional unity government in the country, but anything less than that would certainly stretch further the boundaries of violence and exacerbate more anguish.

With the presence of the UPDF, the government in Juba would always be tempted to believe in winning the war militarily, as long as there is bountiful support from Kampala.

Upsettingly, the President of Uganda has been misguidedly made to believe that if the UPDF could not defeat the SPLA-IO, at least it must maintain the status quo in order to keep open for a while the trade routes to South Sudan.

I think this perception appears to be a production of an outright erroneous scheming which is ill-advisedly premised on gross misconstruction of the political realism in South Sudan.

In my last correspondence to President Museveni, I sensibly cautioned the Ugandan head of state against pursuing a capricious military option in South Sudan’s conflict as it is evidently a futile quest.

Uganda has never been a super power before and would probably never be one in the region in future. The verity is that, the UPDF has only been chasing around rag-tag outfits like the LRA and the Somali Islamic militant group.

The real taste of battle the UPDF have experienced and lost alongside the combined forces of South Sudan government troop and the Sudan rebel soldiers from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) was the encounter for the second recapture of Bentiu by the SPLA-IO in 2014.

The bush war of the 1980s and the insignificant support extended to the SPLA against Khartoum which were reciprocated by John Garang by destroying LRA bases mostly in Eastern and Central Equatoria states were way back.

Likewise the UPDF was forced out of the DRC for similar adventurous undertakings including prowling.

Relatedly, Uganda army would likely be ejected from South Sudan militarily, judged by the potency and combat capability of the SPLA-IO on the one hand and the current fallacious trend of political thinking and ambition of the government of Uganda on the war in Kampala’s next door Southern neighbour on the other.

The recent argument presented by President Museveni that he would withdraw his forces from South Sudan in the event of an IGAD’s alternate force being ready to deploy in the restive country is quite flimsy.

There would never be an IGAD army deployed in South Sudan, it won’t happen because the member countries comprising the IGAD could never synchronize their conflicting interests and furthermore, if deployed, all South Sudanese would treat such a collective force as an army of occupation, and it would unquestionably meet the same fate as the UPDF today.

The mega atrocities happening in the three South Sudan states would not have befallen without Uganda’s military interloping.

Besides, the Tiananmen Square type of abuses recounted in the first few lines of this article might not also have occurred if the UPDF had not bolstered the war endeavours of the South Sudan government troops and equipped the latter with the diabolical modus operandi for the ongoing counterinsurgency operations against the ethnic Nuer civilian population in Unity state.

Finally, the IGAD as the political entity entrusted to resolve the South Sudan’s civil unrest and secure peace for the country does not seem to marshal the collective will to address this ticklish issue, as visibly seen from its conflicting functions.

Most of these countries operate on the basis of ensuring their individual interests and hence fewer efforts are offered towards halting the hemorrhage in South Sudan.

It is a public secret that Uganda is fueling the civil war in South Sudan and is involved in gross human rights abuses including carpet bombing of civilians and yet it is a member of the IGAD and regrettably tasked with the duty of ending the war.

What a monumental double standards on display? Would the Troika members and IGAD plus also see from the same vintage point and through the same skewwhiff spectacle?

SPLM/A-IO does categorically reserve the right to piquantly denounce the IGAD for refusing to place Uganda on its tray of pending business and also for not being serious enough to resolve the South Sudan problem.

The leadership of SPLM/A-IO should adopt further measures by possibly seeking the individual counsel of other parties such as President Jacob Zuma of South Africa; Buhari of Nigeria; Cameron of UK; and Obama about the lopsided approach of the IGAD in handling the peace process in South Sudan, urging these leaders to understand that Uganda is not qualified to be a participant.

Finally, Juba soldiers who are governed by their own unruly impulses at the behest of the police state have committed numerous unthinkable violations of human rights in the country and accordingly, the government of South Sudan that initiated the killing of innocent civilians in Juba on 15 December 2013 must be held accountable.

By the way, in 2011, the Western powers went on hurriedly to invoke Chapter Seven (7) of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), for use against the government of Muammar Al Gaddafi, basically for the death of a handful of demonstrators at the hands of Libyan security forces in the street of the country’s Eastern city of Benghazi.

Today more than a thousand times that figure of civilians in Benghazi have lost their dear lives in South Sudan. Is human life worth differently from one part of the world to the other, “Interest” aside?

Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa
Former Lecturer,
Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL),
RMIT University
The Emily MacPherson Building
Building 13, 379-405 Russell Street,
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
E-mail: ptr_lok@yahoo.com.au


  1. Mawien Magol says:

    If asking you and those UN reporting lies to shown your proof, will you prove to us? Why not talking about these Equatorian rebels who laid ambushed in between Yei -Juba road and Juba-Kaji Koj road killing innocent civilians?

    Do you really know the destruction which these rebels did in Malakal town? On April 22/2014, there were about 2600 civilians were killed by rebels in Unity State, Bentiu town, the UNMISS has the evidence that, the civilians were murders inside their shops, Churches, Mosques, and house. Are these big numbers deaths not worry you?

  2. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Peter,
    The the crude oil has lesser value now a days than it did during the last days of Mammer el Khadaffi and the unfortunate events of Banghazi.
    One should never be unmindful about the fact that it was France which pushed for application of the UN’s chaper (7) against Khadaffi in the name of saving innocent lives in Banghazi.
    But far from having human life saving reasons,France had far reaching economic objectives in africa which were more than difficult to achieve with Khadffi projecting himself as an obstacle.
    To begin from the begining,Khadaffi had high intentions to engage chinese oil companies to exploite it’s oil at the expense of the french companies.

    Do u remember?it was Khadaffi behind the idea of,”United States of Africa”.
    He was more than willing economically and militarily to drive it home.
    The former ivorien president Laurent Gbagbo believed him with many african head of states Museveni included standing on the fence to jump on board at any nearest opportunity.
    The strategy was to make China the first african business partener inorder to achieve the 50/50 economic win/win theory.
    But for France as for the USA and the rest of the western states,Khadaffi was the head of a poisonous cobra.
    It was to decapitate the cobra in terms of killing Khadaffi that was the objective for the UN’s chaper (7).
    After that the cleaning up followed with the overthrowal of Laurent Gbagbo.

    President Obama is in Africa since last week.
    One can never exclude that his viste is motivated by economic interests.
    If RSS could be among areas of the american economic interests in East Africa,an american military intervention in RSS,smoke screened by the notion of innocent lives to save,could never be ruled out.
    But the greatest obstacle to that is,neither the government in Juba nor the opposition among whom are those of u in the SPLA-IO is a potential factor of stability in RSS for the americans to put in place.
    Economic exploitation of the resources like oil,which is the mother of the american interests,requires a total conducive climate of peace.
    Until forces for such purpose rise to exist in RSS,it isn’t without substance of truth to say that american military intervention in RSS will be very long coming.
    As a result,such atrocities as u have narrated to have been committted by the govenment forces in unity state will be committed again and again.

    Never be chocked if some one told u that emotional affects from loss of innocent human lives move less the powerful like americans to punish the perpetrator if they have no substantial economic interests at stake!!!

  3. Holo Kor says:

    Mawien, it has beat some us the logic to read some of you, your writings, although we don’t write a lot here, on this-site (South Sudan Nation) but nonetheless, we cannot escape from your poor thought(s), so far that always loaded with a lot of rigmarole.
    Oh! who are we ever kidding, just you as the same: Mawien, Bol, Alex, Force_1 and a band, just nothing but pooh-pooh! A bunch of…

    Here is you, talking about Equatorian rebels…laid ambushed in between Yei-Juba road and Juba-Kaji Koj road…killings innocent civilians? You might be out of your mind, or perhaps, you’re smoking something-a dope that is.

    You see, the war in South Sudan is not a monopoly, nor it is an exclusive right of yours and your group. And so please, therefore, give us a peace, and stop talking nonsense here, everyday and all day long, because we’re tired and it is not funny anymore to kill or to crushed with a talk unarm civilians.

    So, please for one, be fair and stop harp on about nonsense of: Equatorian this and Equatorian that.

  4. Bol says:

    Tiananmen was about Democracy……a clash between armed and un-armed parties, whereas Juba killings were about (Mutiny or staged coupe-whatever you take)…….How can this be a copycat? Dis-integration of RSS is more foreseeable than SPLA/IO victorious march to J1…….Let’s enjoy our Jack Daniel’s in peace …Its too cold and windy here …..Mate.

  5. Bol

    In Tiananmen Square the Chinese tank crashed a student protester who stood in front of the column of battle tanks to block them from moving forward and consequently he was run over and crashed to death, while in the Unity state of South Sudan, SPLA tanks deliberately crashed civilians to death as they were fleeing away from the fear-provoking scene and not even blocking the movement of the tanks according to the reliable report. This is the copycat I am talking about. Stop distorting my message or else read the article again.

    • Bol says:

      War means one thing (DEATH) and most of the victims in most wars are civilians…If Government’s tanks crushed fleeing civilians while recapturing Bentiue, then the victim are (Collateral Damage) whether they lost their lives in Darwin (02/05/1943), Mogadishu, Baghdad or Juba. Tiananmen is different as the state was well aware of lacks of lethal weapons in the hand of students.
      Peter, I wish I could distort your message because it contains a lot of ugly stuff between the lines. you are motivated be hatred rather than justice. To stop the hemorrhage, you need a different language. There may be no military solution to this conflict, even if UPDF leaves today .

  6. You know guys and especially the author of the article, you’re wasting your time with this guy called Mawiem for he is there to serves his stomach. Mawiem never had a good thinking since school days, if there were fair competition in south Sudan Mawiem couldn’t been the one in position that he is holding today. But unfortunate we have a wrong system in south Sudan. You just follow Mawiem, you will never see truth coming out from his mouth.

  7. Bol, no ugly stuff is contained in my article and not even a sense of hatred as you have stated. I guess it is the unbearable prick of the truth that you feel uncomfortable to confront. Remember, the issue being discussed resides at the apex of morality, albeit you don’t seem to agree. I must boldly contend that even death is the same anywhere in the world as you have stated, the choice and application of the mode of killing draws a distinct line between probity and wickedness. Undeniably, the method of killing employed by the SPLA soldiers demonstrates a higher notch of both hatred and brutality. In some of the Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia the prisoners condemned to death are executed by firing squad, while in a number of states in the USA, the preferable method of execution is the use of lethal injection. Definitely the end result is the same, it is death, but moral conscience dictates that the need for the application of a humane and probably less painful method of killing is acceptable.
    Take an example of two callous men (Men are likely to commit violent crimes than women), that I would like to designate as “A” and “B”.
    “A” shot and Killed five (5) people in a cattle raid encounter and fled only to be apprehended after a while; and
    “B” having attained a paroxysm of rage after a confrontational altercation with his pregnant wife, “A” grabbed a 0.5 calibre revolver and without hesitation put down the poor woman. He did not end there but went on further to puncture the tummy of the woman, got out the fetus and shot it as well before surrendering himself to police.
    Now tell me Bol: who gets the maximum condemnation, “A” or “B”?
    Crashing fleeing civilians using battle tanks is the most brutal method of administering death. That is why I believe that the Ugandan soldiers have introduced a counterinsurgency method of operation, as it once employed in Northern Uganda against the Acholi people who were accused by their government for supporting Joseph Kony and his LRA forces.

  8. Bol says:

    In the early days of this conflict, two of my acquaintances were crushed by Government tanks in Suok Sita , (Atala Bara C) in Juba, one died instantly, the other one survived. They were Dinka and the deceased was an SPLA veteran, with no facial marks. No body said any thing! similar stories are all over the place…. It sad but that is war. It have its own laws. (Ulysses S. Grant’s destruction of Confederate power base in US civil war). Enraging the public by publishing one sided story is inflammatory and ugly. It reflects the mind set of hate and revenge cycles not justice…Where will we go after burning it down? Happy membership of Hate Club.

  9. Hoiloom says:

    Peter Lokario,

    Thank you for this great piece of work. There is no government in Juba but a bunch of of criminals who should be tried in ICC. Their motivation is hatred against the Nuer and nothing else as you can see from response of Bol and the likes. One good observation though:UPDF will not stay in South Sudan forever. We will eventually prevail despite the obstacles. The Dinka lead government thought by killing and bringing the Nuer to their knees they could rule RSS for life and that was a dreadful move.


Leave a Reply to Peter Lokarlo Cancel 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.