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To the “Faceless” NGO Worker: In Jonglei, David Yau Yau is a Problem and the Problem is David Yau Yau

By E.E. Dantes*

November 8, 2013 (SSNA) -- Firstly, if one cannot stand up by putting a face or their name to a statement they believe in, maybe they should not state or write it at all. That said, I would like to respond to some things raised by the unnamed author of “South Sudan: In Jonglei, David Yau Yau is not the Problem.”

(1) The author wrote, “In post-independence South Sudan the majority of rebel leaders have been Nuer and there have been no, insignificant (sic), Dinka rebel leaders; the biggest tribal group in South Sudan, occupying both presidential posts to date. Why should they rebel?”

This is a laughably sad condescending statement. For the record, (a) In post-independent South Sudan, there has been only one president, so the boththe author is referring to does not make sense. (b) Equating a presidential post to be a satisfactory factor of not having a grievance is as an absurd statement as saying that Africa-Americans have no grievances because Obama is the president. It is plain silly to say that Jieng (aka Dinka) have no reasons to rebel because the president is a Jieng. This statement infers that Jieng are the SOLE beneficiaries of the presidency, this is a falsehood something many NGOs working in Jieng homeland can corroborate. (c) I do not know how one determines significance of rebel leaders but I think there was a certain George Athor not so long ago whose personal grievances where not amalgamated to mean a greater cause of Pigi his home county.

(2) ...“but at a much lower scale the motivation of the Murle is the same as Palestinians, who want their own state within South Sudan. The Murle and DYY are also not the only ones in todays South Sudan who are campaigning for greater self-determination – just take a look at the ongoing low-level shilluk rebellion against the Dinka in Upper Nile State.”

Wow! Really? (a) There is an ocean between Palestinian issues and Murle – they cannot be compared whatsoever even in a context of this supposed notion of self-determination by the Murle people. The two causes are incomparable – even the ideological definition of self-determination is different among the Palestinians and the Murle (on a personal note, I think it is an insult to the Palestinian cause). (b) In addition, the supposed rebellion against Jieng for self-determination in Upper Nile is just a palpable fib. This is perpetuating falsehood of big bad Jieng, hell bent on destroying and colonizing the minority. Firstly, the Upper Nile State is a home to three peoples, Collo (aka Shilluk) Kingdom, Jieng and Naath (aka Nuer). The Collo Kingdom is the home to some of the most influential people in the history of Sudan namely: Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Pagan Amum, Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, Dr. Lam Akol (leader of SPLM-DC) and Baguot Amum (Pagan’s sister and wife of late Nyancigak, SPLA Commander from Murle). Secondly, historically the Collo lived on the west bank of the river Nile during the British colonial times while Jieng and Naath lived on the eastern bank. However, during the wars, people were continually displaced and subsequently Collo settled along the eastern bank resulting in frictions with Jieng around the areas of Lul and Anakdiaar. Thirdly, in relation to various rebellions in Upper Nile, namely that of Gabriel Tanginya and Johnson Oliny, these were not specifically against Jieng or Nuer but against the government in Juba. Tanginya was unhappy with the terms and rewards of incorporation into the SPLA. Oliny on the other hand was unhappy how his ancestral community was treated. Oliny’s community straddles the Sobat River, which marks the southern border of Upper Nile State and northern border of Jonglei State. During rainy season, the people migrate from one side of the river to the other, essentially crossing state borders. The community therefore fell through the bureaucracy as the two state governments passed them back and forth and not accepting them into one state. This was not the fault of Jieng or Nuer community but that of the government. Fourthly, no Jieng has ever been a governor in Upper Nile in post-independent South Sudan. Therefore using Upper Nile State as an example shows how the author has no understand of the issues in South Sudan.

(3) “I have no sympathy for DYY I don’t know how many crimes he has committed and few people do........... Very few Murle people actually subscribe to DYY’s political agenda, if such a thing can be said to exist, but he has become a last resort for community protection among the Murle.”

This is a glaringly contradictory statement from the author who equated Murle’s grievances with Palestine’s cause and Yauyau’s stated political agenda as similar. The author stated that Murle wanted a state of their own in South Sudan something, which Yauyau actually said was an objective of his rebellion. Therefore, how can the author back away and say that Murle do not subscribe to Yauyau’s political agenda? The author also says, Yauyau has become a resort for community protection, against whom?

(4) ...“the forced disarmament campaign exacerbated the tensions targeting the minority group, the Murle.”

This is an astonishingly dishonest statement from the author. I do not know whether the author is aware that Anyuak, Jieng, and Lou were the first to be disarmed in 2006 in Jonglei and Murle were not. Small Arms Survey reports are quite insightful. Just to give a bit of context, in 2005 Lou Nuer and Jieng of Duk clashed for the first since peace was agreed between Jieng and Nuer. The government for whatever reasons decided between January and March in 2006 to forcibly disarm people. It conducted a preferential disarmament campaign targeting in Jonglei, Nuer, Jieng and Anyuak. Jieng and Anyuak handed their weapons in peacefully although woman, girls and children suffered abuses in the rural areas and were promised compensation by then Governor Philip Thon Leek. That promise was not kept. Nuer on the other hand refused citing the fact that Murle and Jikany Nuer of Upper Nile still had arms. This led to a confrontation in May in which 400 SPLA and 1,200 Lou Nuer were killed. SPLA committed many atrocities as a result while the UN, many NGOs and commentators turned a blind eye. Nuer blamed Jieng and the government because the General, Kuol Dim, who was in charge of disarmament in Jonglei was Jieng.

Thereafter, Lou repeatedly harassed Duk County until in May 2007 Jieng of Duk ë Padiet retaliated and looted 20,000 heads of cattle and killed unknown number of people. Here is a summary (Most of it from Small Arms survey, News Reports, IRIN Website, International Crisis Group and academic journal articles):

Jan - May 2006:

SPLA disarms Jieng and Anyuak peacefully, Lou resists, and 1,200 are killed. Lou Nuer rearms within 18 months (ICG).

May 2007:

Duk ë Padiet clash with Lou over grazing rights resulting in Jieng looting 20,000 heads of cattle.

July 2007:

Murle attack Akobo. Hundreds are killed (no concrete figure is given).

October 2007:

Murle abducts two children from Bor County.

Nov. 2007:

Murle kills 8 and steals, 7,000 heads of cattle in Padak in Bor County. The Murle raiders are pursued but they ambushed the pursuers and kill 21 Jieng while they lose only six.

Jan 2008:

Murle attack Anyuak in Pochalla County, kills 26, and takes 105 cattle.

Then due to census and other things 2008 threats by Jieng of Bor County to raid Murle things quiet down.

Jan. 2009:

Murle attacks Lou in Akobo kills 300.

March 2009:

Murle attacks Wuror and kills 600-750

March 2009:

Lou attack Murle in Lokuangole and kills 450

April 2009:

Murle attacks Lou in Akobo and kills 250

May 2009:

Lou attacks Jikany in Upper Nile and kills 71 (Nuer against Nuer).

August 2009:

(a)    Lou attacks Jieng in Wernyol in Twic East County twice killing 11 and 47 on each occasion.

(b)   Murle attacks Lou in Mareng killing 185.

Sept 2009:

Lou attacks Duk ë Padiet killing 167.

Then everything goes relatively quiet because of referendum and the elections and 2010 passes without major incidents in Jonglei.

Feb. 2011:

Murle attacks Wuror County and kills eight.

April 2011:

Lou Nuer attack Lokuangole, in Pibor County kills 200 Murle. 

June 2011:

Lou Nuer attacks Gumuruk and Lokuangole, in Pibor County, 400 Murle and 398,000 heads of cattle looted. Nuer Youth also reports on the Internet that Jieng has joined them.

August 2011:

Murle attacks Wuror County and kill 750 Lou Nuer.

Dec 2011:

Murle attacks Jalle in Bor County and kills 42

Jan. 2012:

(a) Lou Nuer attacks Lokuangole and Pibor and kills between 1,000 - 3,000 Murle.

(b) Murle attacks Duk county and kill 47 people while they are under attack! One thought they would be busy defending themselves!

Feb: 2012:

Murle attacks Anyidi in Bor County and kills nine Jieng and in retaliation, Jieng in Bor Town kills seven.

March 2012:

Murle attacks Nyirol County and kills 30 Lou Nuer

March 2012:

Murle attacks and kills 225 in Ethiopia and within Jonglei.

If one does the math, it is quickly apparent that the Murle are not a targeted victim minority that the author makes them out to be. It is quiet clear that they are very aggressive and have been the primary source of instability in Jonglei at least since the signing of CPA in 2005.

Commentary

Jonglei State has many problems stemming from weak governance at both state and national level. Certainly, taking sides and misinforming the world will not help the local people whether they are Jieng, Naath or Murle. The fundamental problem in Jonglei lies in the fact that the state is vast with no strong civil administrative institutions. (1) All of South Sudan is aggrieved, from a bad government. (2) Ethnicity is used as an excuse for impunity. When Abel Alier was the Head of HEC in 70s following Addis Ababa Peace Agreement, the Equatorians cried "Dinka! Dinka! We want Kokora (re-division of Southern Sudan)." When Joseph Lagu headed HEC everyone cried, "Madi! Madi! How many are there? (Madi being a minority group)." Since 70s, South Sudan is being slowly Balkanized. (3) Nobody knows why Murle is fighting unarmed Jieng civilians. When Athor went to the Bush, he had personal grievances and the whole of Atar (his home constituent) did not follow him because their issues are not personified in Athor. However, Yauyau has been used to excuse Murle's atrocities against other civilians. People say Yauyau has a grievance (what is it? And against whom?), and then they add that he is standing up for his community (really? What if those in Pigi, Duk, Twï, Bor, Wuror, Nyirol, Pochalla and Akobo - frequent victims of Murle start standing up for themselves, what happens?). (4). All guns must be laid down at all cost either voluntarily or forcefully and people have to talk or else everyone should be left to their own devices the latter being Somalianisation of Jonglei.

(5) David Yauyau is a problem in Jonglei State if not the major problem in Jonglei State primarily because of his sponsors in Khartoum (see Eric Reeves blog from comprehensive analysis). He is exacerbating pre-existing tribal tensions into something much bigger by politicizing it with illogical demands of separate statehood for the Murle. If the UN and NGOs want impunity to end in South Sudan and all rebellions to die out like the M23 in D.R. Congo, then they must do to Khartoum what UN did to Rwanda. The West must impose embargos and sanctions to deny people like Yauyau supplies and sources to continuously fuel the rebellion. The UN and NGOs must stop the glaring biased approach with they have adopted in South Sudan and must stop undermining the South Sudanese government in the name of selective human rights protection.

*E.E. Dantes is an Australian academic with keen interest in South Sudan’s political affairs. The views expressed here are his only, and do not represent that of the institution which he works for.

Thiang Nuer Youth Association: ‘The youths are the backbone, strength of every nation’

PRESS STATEMENT: For immediate release
Date: 08/12/2013

"The Youths are the backbone, strength of every nation worldwide and when the Youth have decided the nation has decided."

Juba, December 8, 2013 (SSNA) -- Likewise, Jonglei state's Youths are therefore part and core of this notion or national obligation to protect this nation from external threat instead of thinking about destabilizing the community internally. For this reason, there should have been an immediate need by Jonglei State people especially the Youth to build trust, peace and confidence among themselves notably now.

As we write this initiative press statement, Jonglei State has already ranked as one of the most insecure state among the ten states of South Sudan. Where deplorable situations had/have been happening before or after the CPA, during its implementations (2005-2011) as well and even after South Sudan's Independence, in 2011.

These deplorable situations include the killing of innocent people, children, elderly, loss of properties/resources caused by cattle rustling and David Yau Yau rebellion among others. Without disputing this fact, the less-informed Youths in remote areas in the state have a lion share in instigating damages and indiscriminate departure of human lives in the state on regular basis.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, all the well-informed Youth members who are living in Towns and Cities to advice the grassroots brothers, who used to raid other (their) people cattle for personal interest. We always could hear spontaneous news that Greater X's Youths have attacked Greater Y's village(s) with a death toll reached hundred people, sometimes thousands of people and subsequently thousands of cattle raided. Thus, we the Thiang Nuer Youth of Fangak County would like to come up and call upon all Jonglei's Youth Associations Leadership from other ten counties to re-visit their purposes, broad objectives, visions, and missions. By generating means, start doing everything possible to end grassroots Youth fatal activities in the State!

Mutually, define Youth future life/legacy in Jonglei state. So that there will be a chance for us to invalidate blames for insecurity being put on the Youth in Jonglei State by the world: "The Youths are the source of insecurity in Jonglei state!" To practically demonstrate, that the Youths of today are the backbone/strength of the nation and the Leaders of tomorrow as well, so this notion won't be achieved unless we can contribute and start doing it now not in any other time.

Intentionally, we the learned Youth in Towns and Cities as cited earlier on should think twice now and collectively begin generating some strong measures to end those shocking events. Call for meetings and conferences! One of the recommendable strong measures we can adopt is general "forgiveness" by all sides (Greaters' Youths) no matter how much damage—wounds caused by the previous condemnable actions. This directly must go to some of the most warring three Greaters namely, Pibor, Akobo and Bor remote areas Youth. That language of forgiveness is a best way to save the lives of our innocent fathers, mothers, children, and our common interests as well as the image of the Youth in Jonglei State. Because no nation like ours emerged just from hatred-oriented country, Sudan, could copes with its affairs without complications in building it.

However, what makes everything to end/address pitfalls—or people always resorted to, as overall solution is "General Forgiveness." Which certainly warrant comprehensive consent by all Youths from Greater Bor, Greater Akoba, Greater Pibor and Greater Fangak levels at the first place and then to the state level. To say together as Jonglei State Youth and Intellectuals" Let bygones be bygones" and start promptly influencing our respective grassroots Youths to arrest the situation by immediately embarking on "Youth Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation" in Jonglei State with the support from our Governments, local, state and even national Government.

The Thiang Nuer Youth Association (T.N.Y.A), Fangak (South) County of Thiang Nuer is bordered by Lak Nuer in the North, Jagei Nuer in the West, Gawaar Nuer in the South and Padang Dinka of Pigi County in the East. The basic ambition of this Association (T.N.Y.A) concerning peaceful co-existence as stipulated in its constitution, one of the objectives, Article 4(6)(8) is to promote and initiate Peace among Greater Fangak Youth in particular, create linkages and promote socio-cultural solidarity with other Jonglei State Youths and South Sudan Youths in general.

Therefore, the Thiang Nuer Youth entire membership in South Sudan and the Association's Leadership in its Headquarters, Juba, is hereby calling upon the Greater Fangak Youth and Jonglei State Youth to embark on reconciliation initiative process and open a new chapter despite the terrible past events. Once more, General Forgiveness and Youth initiative for Peace in Jonglei state should be an excellent way to start our Youth initiative life, on the right path.

We hope positive understanding between the Youth in Jonglei State will follow this statement in order to break current communication barriers, so, we keep in touch!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all South Sudanese and wish our nation a prosperous year, 2014.

Long live the South Sudan Youth Support!

Long live Jonglei State Youth Initiative!

Long live General Forgiveness and Unity!

Signed:

Manyun Guek Biliu, Chairperson
Thiang Nuer Youth Association (T.N.Y.A)
Juba, South Sudan
Contact: 0959002614/0956291219 or Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Where the Upcoming Peace Negotiations will be Won or Lost in South Sudan

By Tongun Lo Loyuong

February 6, 2014 (SSNA) -- Many reports have surfaced in the past days that suggest that the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)—the regional agency mediating the peace process seeking to resolve the internal armed violence in South Sudan is fishing, among other things, for agenda to guide the second phase of the peace talks. The process has been re-scheduled to kick off on February 10th, 2014, three days behind the initial schedule slotted for February 7th, 2014. But then again this is Africa. Welcome to African local times! With that what follows is where the upcoming peace negotiations will be won or lost in South Sudan.

Plethora of burning issues can guide the political dialogue as presented in the previous article easily found in my blog (http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/understanding-the-problem-is-half-the-solution/). This can be corroborated with other similar entries by numerous other analysts, without the need to fish in deep shore. All it takes is a mouse click away. Google and read, without Wikipedia as much as possible!

Chief among some of the consensus issues that have been highlighted and that can guide the agenda for the second phase of the peace talks is the need for a holistic and inclusive process. A holistic and inclusive process that facilitates local representation of as many South Sudanese but also as many other regional and international conflict stakeholders as possible is the key to sustainability of any outcome of the peace talks.

It is common knowledge, however, that the idea of working with numerous conflict stakeholders is particularly unpleasant and challenging, and hence often subtly resisted by most state-actors tasked with mediating peace processes. The mediation process that led to the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) in 2005 is a glaring example of resistance to common sense and logic. The CPA negotiation process shows how too many loud voices of key conflict stakeholder repeatedly appealed for inclusion in the process, but equally repeatedly and ultimately ignored, if only a Darfurian can testify.

The Troika guarantors of the peace process and IGAD, which was spearheading the mediation process as well as the dyad parties to the conflict, the National Congress Party (NCP)/National Islamic Front (NIF) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), all conspired to deny other grievance groups, political parties, civil society actors, traditional leaders and elders and women and youth a place at the negotiation table.

The Church was the only actor who played some role in the CPA negotiation process. But even then it was only allotted a marginal behind the scene role in the early stages of the process, such as in negotiating the release of prisoners of war (POW). The Church was again called upon during the people-to-people peace and reconciliation process (P2P), from mid-90s to early 2000s.

The Church’s efforts ultimately managed to superficially reconcile the ethnically fragmented Southern house at the grassroots, but which paved the way for the reunion of SPLM/A, and its breakaway factions, and which bolstered South Sudanese position as a united formidable front at the roundtable. The inclusion of the core provision of self-determination clause in the CPA was a direct outcome of the reconciling efforts and contribution of the Church. But after that was accomplished with the signing of the Machakos Protocol in 2002, the Church too was quickly elbowed out of the way.

In brief peace negotiators, particularly those provided by States tend to be lazy in identifying and inviting key conflict stakeholders to the negotiation table. Often as Timothy D. Sisk has discovered in one of his articles entitled “Summary,” of a volume in a peace work journal, the mediators’ tendency to obscure facts in conflicts is a deliberate act. Their biggest fear is that “extensive information searches during negotiation may reveal incompatibilities of interest that serve to escalate rather than resolve the conflict.” The intention may be justified, but now look where such an eschewed peace process has led us?!

In a piece entitled, “The Many Dimensions of Catholic Peacebuilding,” Professor, Scott Appleby, the Director of Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies defines peacebuilding, including peace negotiations as essentially processes and activities aimed at “building relationships at every level of society dedicated to non-violent transformation of conflict, the pursuit of social justice and the creation of cultures of sustainable peace.”

Elsewhere, in an article entitled “Strategic Peacebuilding: An Overview,” Appleby and his colleague, the renowned peace scholar and practitioner, John Paul Lederach, further argue that: “At its core, peacebuilding nurtures constructive human relationships. To be relevant, it must do so strategically, at every level of society and across the potentially polarizing lines of ethnicity, class, religion, and race.”

Another prominent peace scholar and practitioner, Peter Wallensteen also a colleague of Appleby and Lederach at the University of Notre Dame, goes further and stresses that, “peacebuilding in this case entails the reforming of state structures, and also bringing together factions that have been fighting for a long time. Issues of war crimes, reconciliation, as well as economic reconstruction are high on the agenda.” Their views are particularly relevant to South Sudan’s current political violent trying times.

At the moment IGAD Secretariat is reportedly engaged in shuttle diplomacy and consultations with key conflict stakeholders to identify and agree on “framework, structure and organization of the second round of the negotiations.” National healing and reconciliation, which is critical has been identified as key to the political dialogue, which is laudable. But time will tell how far the IGAD mediators can go, who they are going to invite to the negotiation table and whether they have learned a lesson or two from the previous conflict exacerbating CPA peace process.

That noted the immediate background against which the IGAD fellows should premise their assumptions is the political power struggle at the SPLM party level that ultimately plunged South Sudan into deadly armed violence and has now become a national problem. What that premise should look like is the topic of part two this sequel of articles. Stay tuned!

Tongun Lo Loyuong is a freelance policy analyst from South Sudan. He holds two Master’s Degrees with honors and academic excellence from the United States. The last of his two MAs is in International Peace Studies and Policy Analysis for Political Change, from the University of Notre Dame – Indiana. His research interest is in South Sudan’s governance and peace and conflict issues. He is reachable at” This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; and http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/

Ethnic Culling in Sudan

By Eric Reeves

February 22, 2012 (SSNA) -- In response to the secession of South Sudan, the northern country now known simply as Sudan has decided upon a draconian solution: it will deny citizenship to all in the North who are judged, on a purely ethnic basis, to be "southerners."The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime has not yet clarified the terms for alien residency, but they will be deeply discriminatory, as the regime's behavior long has been. During the long civil war (1983-2005), more than 2 million people fled north, to what they had hoped would be safety and opportunity, and many remain---700,000 according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). A great many of these people---most of them, according to some estimates---were born in the North and have never lived in the South.

For the men who rule the capital of Khartoum, it does not matter that these people meet the traditional international criteria for citizenship (birth, long residence, property ownership, pension rights). The regime is determined to proceed with what will be nothing less than a comprehensive ethnic culling of the population in the North. And it will begin soon: April 8 has been set as the deadline for "southerners" to leave or establish residency under terms not yet specified. Many will simply be expelled, though many who wish to leave and escape growing persecution will have no means of transportation; indeed, the IOM has declared that such a massive deportation program is "impossible," far beyond any available logistical capacity. Khartoum has exacerbated the problem by denying further barge traffic on the White Nile, as well as other means of transport. Moreover, the rainy season begins in just over a month in the South, which will make many roads impassible.

The international community should not be asking how to assist the Khartoum regime in this programmatic ethnic culling, but rather how to protect those who are subject to such a flagrant contravention of international norms and humanitarian law. Sarnata Reynolds of Refugees International put the matter in appropriate terms, calling Khartoum’s plan "intolerable":

"First, the individuals targeted by this plan have a legitimate claim to Sudanese citizenship, since most have lived in Sudan their entire lives, and there is currently no way for them to apply for South Sudanese citizenship. Second, forcing men, women and children into deportation camps and shipping them off to a country that many have never seen would be a legal and moral disaster."

Khartoum knows perfectly well, as does the international community, that forcing hundreds of thousands of "southerners" to move to the South will come as a number of other humanitarian crises are reaching a crescendo of destructive potential on both sides of the North-South border. This "repatriation" occurs amid an already massive displacement: some 110,000Dinka Ngok remain displaced from the border region of Abyei. Tens of thousands have fled the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan (on the northern side of the border) to South Sudan's Unity state; many additional tens of thousands have fled from Blue Nile to Upper Nile state; and many more tens of thousands have fled to Ethiopia. The UN estimates that it needs $145 million to respond to these population displacements alone, and this says nothing about the immense needs within Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where many hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced or are in desperate need. Meanwhile, Khartoum continues to deny all international humanitarian relief.

Those forced to return to the South are likely to have few of the resources necessary to resume agricultural livelihoods, and they will be arriving in a country that is already desperately struggling with food shortages. Valerie Amos, the UN's chief humanitarian official, recently warned that "the situation in [South Sudan] as a whole is extremely precarious, and the risk of a dangerous decline is very real." All this is compounded by military actions that largely destroyed the fall harvest of sorghum in both Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains. In the Nuba, late spring planting was also disrupted by indiscriminate aerial attacks on civilians and their agriculture, bombing that continues to the present.

Of course Khartoum knows a good deal about exacerbating humanitarian crises, as we saw during the terrible famine in Bahr el-Ghazal in 1998, during the humanitarian blockade of the Nuba in the 1990s, and during the civil war in the South, when Khartoum regularly denied virtually all access to Operation Lifeline Sudan, which served millions of people. In Darfur Khartoum has for eight years manipulated and denied humanitarian relief in immensely destructive fashion. It's hardly surprising that, following the southern self-determination referendum in January 2011, Khartoum closed many border-crossing areas to the South, thus halting the movement of food and other items and contributing to severe food shortages.

The NIF/NCP's indifference to human suffering and destruction, and willingness to manipulate humanitarian issues for military or diplomatic advantage, betrays its deep and abiding racism, reflected in the long and ugly history of regime-condoned slavery in Sudan. A 2003 study by the Rift Valley Institute identified, by name, more than 10,000 taken into slavery from Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Warrap state. The total actually enslaved was undoubtedly much greater, and thousands of people from these regions remain enslaved in the North to this day.

The regime's indifference also derives from a religious zealotry that those attempting to serve as negotiating intermediaries with the regime mostly fail to recognize, despite mounting evidence of intolerance. In Khartoum there has been a marked increase in threats and attacks against churches, priests, and Christians of all denominations. Those perceived as Christians ("southerners") are often forcibly conscripted by press gangs working for renegade militias that operate, with Khartoum’s support, in South Sudan. It is not surprising that the NIF/NCP appears to be contemplating another name change, as reported by the resourceful Sudan Tribune:"Karam Allah Abbas, governor of Gadaref state and head of the National Congress Party in the eastern Sudan province, disclosed that there is a trend within the ruling party to change its name to Hizbollah (Party of God)."

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir made clear that he would purge the North of non-Arab and non-Islamic elements during the southern self-determination referendum over a year ago.

"'If south Sudan secedes, 'he told the Guardian, 'we will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity ... sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.'"

While the world sees these developments as threatening vast human catastrophe, Khartoum sees only diplomatic or military advantage---an opportunity to further weaken South Sudan, with an eye to military seizure of southern territory in the oil regions. Certainly the regime is well aware of---and in fact intends---the consequences of compelling hundreds of thousands of "southerners" to flee into an already tumultuous, unstable, and deeply threatening environment.

Perhaps this deliberate distress inflicted on South Sudan is meant to create diplomatic leverage in settling the dispute over oil revenues, where Khartoum's negotiating brinksmanship has backfired and compelled the South to shutdown all oil production. But exacerbating humanitarian crises is unlikely to change the views of the southern leadership. The more likely explanation is that this is all to make the South more vulnerable to military incursions of the sort we have seen this past week at Jau, and in relentless aerial bombardment of sovereign southern territory.

If conflict resumes in greater Sudan, it will be waged largely as a war of attrition in which humanitarian needs are simply used as another weapon---and great numbers of civilians will die. It will, in short, be like all wars waged by this regime. And it will be a war that legitimizes ethnic culling as a weapon of mass destruction.

Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College, has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for more than a decade. He is author of A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.

Appeasing local leaders on Abyei or the ‘Mile 14 Area’ will come at a cost

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

November 3, 2012 (SSNA) -- No wonder that the implementation of the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement(CCA) signed on 27 September 2012 between the two Sudans which includes,  oil exportation and security arrangement as well as trade border is back in limbo following Khartoum’s rejection of the African Union Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) unanimous position on Abyei.

The AUPSC in its bid to sort out things chose to give both Sudan and South Sudan a period of six weeks in which it's hoped that the two sides may be able to reach a negotiated settlement on the border demarcation but especially so on how to hold the referendum in Abyei come October  2013. However what followed is typical of the Sudanese north versus south politics. South Sudan approved of the AUPSC decision, while Khartoum chose to reject it.

The nomadic Messeiriya Arabs have already expressed their disagreement to Khartoum’s proposal of dividing Abyei into two parts between Sudan and South Sudan. Surprising though it is Russia, an old ally to Khartoum,  who supports the view to divide the territory, even when the Arab nomads oppose it. Probably it is time that Khartoum realizes that it is the Messeiriya Arabs and not the Russians who will be affected by any decision taken on Abyei.

If at all the Messeiriya Arab nomads are genuine in their demands for water and pasture, then an undivided Abyei will offer that for them on the condition that they do not lay any claims to the land. The current territory of Abyei has already been granted to the nine Dinka Ngok chieftains by the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

It beats logic to hear that Khartoum and their proxies in the Messeiriya are still eyeing to have the post PCA Abyei. Khartoum may want to have a part of this Oil rich territory because of its mineral resources and that’s why it suggests the territory be divided. However that might not be their sole aim, as the National Congress Party (NCP) of Al Bashir could as well  just be putting hurdles in the way of finding any peaceful settlement to the Abyei Problem,  for this is a regime that cannot exist without crisis. And as such  they must create some.

As for the Messeiriya Arab nomads, dividing Abyei between the Sudan and South Sudan will only leave them with the northern part of the territory which is already witnessing desertification at the most unprecedented pace. They are aware that such a hasty policy will later on backfire when the real future of grazing lies deep in the South Sudan hinterland. Again, they also understand too well that the Ngok Dinka are no longer ready to surrender more land to them.

In fact when it comes to the politics of Southern Kordofan and Southern Darfur, it can be seen that Khartoum is literally walking on a tight but thin rope. The Baggara tribes of the Rezeigat and their cousins (though often fighting one another) the Messeiriya are a group of people that can easily change loyalties whenever their local interests are threatened. 

It’s actually an open secret that there are many Rezeigat and Messeiriya recruits in the ranks and files of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement (Minni Minnawi and Abdel Wahid el Nur factions) as well as the Sudan People Liberation Movement / North (SPLA-N) rebel groups which are battling the NCP led government in Khartoum.

It seems that as Khartoum is afraid of the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) Chapter Seven on its head it is also worried about the fluid position of the Baggara tribes of Southern Darfur and Southern Kordofan. This is clearly demonstrated by the way that the NCP is easily forced to sign agreements with either the government of the neighboring Republic of South Sudan on issues of borders and Abyei on one hand or reach settlements with the SPLM-N as it happened in Addis Ababa (Malik Agar / Nafie Ali Nafie Agreement), but only to return home and renege on it in order to please it’s Baggara constituency.

The SPLM led government in Juba is no better either. For when the SPLM delegation to the Abyei PCA in The Hague failed to defend the South Sudan’s territorial right over Panthou/Heglig, the delegation and in fact the whole government came under intense fire from the grassroots. The people of Pariang didn’t especially take it well as they saw in it what they interpreted as an attempt by the government in Juba to trade Panthou in return for Abyei. These are sentiments of course, but they are real and deserve addressing.

Again there was the Abyei war, and then followed by the Panthou/Heglig war. How these wars begun and how they both ended remain an issue of huge controversial arguments amongst the South Sudanese people. This is even more so amongst the communities in the areas in question.

What is common between the two unfriendly neighbors (South Sudan & Sudan) in spite of the recently signed so-called comprehensive nine protocol cooperation agreement (better known as the September Agreement to remind people of the infamous September Laws of Neimeri), is that both countries are run by two totalitarian regimes.

This has been eloquently described by none but the outspoken opposition politician Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) I one of his writings , when he said: “during the CPA interim period the Sudan was a one country with two systems, however following the 9th July 2011 independence of South Sudan from Sudan, we now have two countries with one system”.

Both the Khartoum’s NCP and Juba’s SPLM are notoriously known for presenting their views in the international fora or even reaching  internationally binding agreements without consulting with their grassroots. And as such each and every agreement they sign in the name of their people are often rejected at home.

While the Agar/Nafie Addis Ababa Agreement represents an example of how things can go wrong in the Sudan, the recent inclusion of the “Mile 14 Area” in the demilitarized zone between the two countries and the loss of Panthou/Heglig during  the Abyei PCA settlement are  the South Sudan’s equivalents.

Nonetheless both ruling parties (SPLM & NCP) continue to struggle with how to appease their supporters in the disputed areas coupled with the buying of loyalties whenever a controversial deal is struck. As for Khartoum it is well known for not only dragging its feet when it comes to the implementation of agreements, but it even renege the whole truce all together.

However sooner than later some of these irresponsible behaviors are likely to do away with whatever little credibility is left for these political organisations. They can as well create a new tension in the already strained relation with the international community.

It only suffices here to say that any attempt by Khartoum to appease the Messeiriya warlords by blocking the Abyei Referendum, in the face of what is an unanimous decision by the AUPSC  will definitely expose the regime  to the wrath of the international community.  On the other hand Juba may face a similar fate should it attempt to stroll an extra mile trying to appease General Paul Malong Awan, Governor of Northern Bahr Ghazal State as he and his people stand opposed to the inclusion of Mile 14 Area in the demilitarized zone.

The bottom line is that  there will definitely be an inevitable  cost should any of the two governments subscribe to satisfy the local leaders in either the’Mile 14 Area’ or  Abyei at the expense of the AUPSC brokered truce. And this must be clear!

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,uk or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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