BY: Yorwin Otor, SOUTH SUDAN, JUL/04/2013, SSN;
For those who are familiar with Malakal conflicts through 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 may now know some indicators might precipitate the next conflict that will start from Malakal and go on to engulf the whole South Sudan are currently strong. What remains is who will start this war. Some of these possible indicators that might lead to a civil conflict include the land grabbing by Dinka.
Akoka was a Payam of Baliet County before it was turned into a county by former Governor Gatluak Deng Garang. Akoka should have come out with its Payam borders. Instead now, this county is expanding its borders into Shilluk territory. Because of its lesser population, it does not have a member in the parliament.
The authorities of this area not leaving the Shilluk in peace in Fashoda and Makal Counties. They have become the source of insecurity. If they have sincere claim over Shilluk land, why can’t it be settled in a peaceful manner in a conference or dialogue?
Recently, the Commissioner of Akoka smashed the sign board of Makal County knowing the fact Makal and Akoka do not share any borders. Akoka Payam now county has borders with Melute, Longochuk and Baliet Counties respectively. Why are these borders not disputed? The commissioner was briefly suspended from duties but, re-instated by Governor Simon Kun Pouch upon his return from sick leave. The messages of congratulations for his instalment came from Nuer groups.
Recently, SPLM-DC applied for permission to celebrate their fourth anniversary for the formation of their party formation. The permission was denied by Deputy Governor in which SPLM-DC stepped down. In another event, Collo University Graduates Association asked for permission to conduct a conference for formation of the association in River Port Hall which was granted.
Rumours went around that the event was another SPLM-DC celebration and Dr. Lam Akol has sneaked into Malakal town to address the occasion. SPLA was put on alert to prevent Dr. Lam Akol entering into Malakal. Some prominent Shilluk houses have been searched at night but with failure. If DR. Lam is a fugitive who’s not allowed by SPLM with its armed wing SPLA to come to his home town Malakal, then this also applies to the entire South Sudan.
Why should people and especially SPLM members forbide Dr. Lam not being in Juba? The search for him in Malakal is an indication that his life is in danger. On the day of the conference, police was sent to disperse this conference, but the graduates stood firmed and gave the police their permit. But if the graduates were to resist and went roiting on the streets, what could have happened? The police could shot at them especially if they are Shilluk. The Nuer government is holistically targeting Shilluk even the Shilluk who die heart SPLM members.
Another episode occurred during the burial of Ustaz James Ogil at Apiew in Adhithang, a Shilluk village across River Sobat. This area was occupied by Akobo Nuer and Dinka during the 20 years civil war. SPLA disabled persons have settled in this village. The first batch of mourners that went to prepare for the burial were seriously beaten and were threatened to be shot. The burial took place the next day only after SPLA protection was provided miraculously from an unknown source.
The border conflict due to land grabbing by Dinka and bullying by the Nuer against the Shilluk has become a thorn in the flesh. No matter how much the Shilluk population is forced into cowardice by these terrifying events, one day pushing somebody against the wall might cause a reaction.
The response of Johnson Olony to the amnesty could ease the usual accusation against the Shilluk and SPLM-DC. But what remains to be seen will be the reaction of SPLA and government in Juba. Olony is currently in Juba, but, there are rumours that the President is refusing to meet with him. He will be in difficult situation if SPLA prevents him to let him come to join his forces in Lul Payam, Upper Nile State.
Akoka Dinka are eyeing Olony as a potential threat to their claim over Shilluk land on the east bank of the Nile. It is unlikely that Juba will respond to Olony positively. He is already in a lion’s den
Currently, indicators for potential danger that might probably ignite a civil war from Malakal are many. The above mentioned indicators are quite enough. It is a matter of time and it will happen. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
Yorwin Otor firstname.lastname@example.org