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We, the children of war in South Sudan, reject this war

By Tahrier Muon

January 21, 2014 (SSNA) -- I come from a place with a long memory of war.  Starting in the mid-fifties, we fought two civil wars that both times lasted two decades. Our families spent their lifetimes in eerie IDP camps. Most of us grew up with little to no education. Families live on edge, ready to flee from camp to camp at the sight of advancing rebels.

My own travels as a South Sudanese refugee started at Gambella in Ethiopia. Both of my parents spent most of their years here. This was the country they fled too when the war broke out.

My mother lived in Ethiopia starting when she was five years old. They lived in what can only be called slums: poor areas, high crime, little food, surviving under the protection of the UN and Ethiopian government. At first South Sudanese were not allowed to go to school at all. The general population had not yet warmed to welcome the fleeing refugees. More than a decade later, the refugees were allowed to go to school, but only the boys.

By the time girls and woman were allowed to go to school at my mothers camp, she was a grown woman with a family to take care off. The war had rendered her an uneducated mother destined to live poor, not excelling any higher than low class. Multiply her story by millions and you get an uneducated populace.

When I was four, we traveled on to Kenya, looking for better opportunities. First we stayed at Camp Ipo, then Walda and finally settled in a small city right outside of the capital Nairobi called Ruiru. My siblings and I attended school. We learned Swahili the native language, adapting well to the Kenyan culture. My father was able to find odd jobs that got us by. Furthermore, by this time we had relatives in the states that made life in Ruiru much better than Gambella with their help. Our food was still rationed, but we moved from a tent to a small studio apartment, where we lived until our eventual move to the United States.

It’s hard to imagine that this life of hardship has all been because of a war in a country that I have never even been to. In fact my mother herself does not remember the country she calls home.

We have been refugees in three countries: Ethiopia, Kenya and the United States. Our relatives are all over the globe mostly in Western countries. We are all products of a war in what should be a foreign country for us. Our culture is our only attachment. The native language we speak, the dark toned skin that stands out no matter what country we are in, the food we make, the clothes we wear. These are all remnants of South Sudan.

Though I, and a lot of my peers, have never been “home” we very much identify as South Sudanese. It is an identity we can never shake. When we are asked the inevitable question, “where are you from” we foolishly claim the country or state that we live. The question is then followed by “where are you really from?” Forced to confess, we timidly state the truth.

When we arrived in the states, our parents reminded us that this was not a permanent stay. We were here to go to school then return home and rebuild our country. That is exactly what we did. It was hard to come by any one of my peers that did not want to return to South Sudan after college. This was the only thing we were sure about. The anticipated return explains the jubilant crowds of our people around the US and around the world, when our country achieved independence in 2011. We knew it meant that we could finally return home. It meant that we were not going to live poor in someone else country but wealthy in our own. It meant that for the first time we will be part of the majority and will not have to face that pointing question of “where are you really from?”

One after the other a lot of my peers started going back. I watched their lives progress through their status updates on social media. They had good jobs, they bought houses, some even married and had children. Returning to the states was the furthest thing on their mind.

Then, about a month ago on Dec 15, 2013,Soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir ignited war again, tearing the young country apart along ethnic lines. Once again, my newly returned peers were forced to flee. At no fault of their own, they became refugees for the second time. They, and their parents, had been through this before and saw the writing on the wall. For the general population, war can only mean two things: death, or refugee camps. The vicious cycle returned.

What is South Sudan’s problem? Perhaps that our leaders are not politicians, but soldiers. The president and vice president are both generals. They spent decades in the bush. Their political tactics look more like military strategies to extinguish the enemy. With independence their brother became their new enemy. So now we have brothers against brothers, who will inevitably burn the house without compromise.

But why should the entire family suffer? These politicians are old men with old grudges reliving old wars that new generations of children have to fight, while their families suffer.

But there is hope. The difference between this war and the last two is now we have an educated populace who will hold our politicians accountable, and throw them out if they do not follow through on their promises. We will not let them destroy our country for those same old reasons.

Both sides in this new conflict claim to want a democratic process and claim the other wants to thwart the democratic process. They tell us rally our bases and raise arms because freedom is being threatened. We do feel that freedom is being threatened — it is being threatened by these established party leaders who only know war. But we know democracy exists by the ballot, not the bullet. We reject both sides.

We reject the wars of yesteryear. We are progressive and want to move forward as a people in our own country. For generations of South Sudanese to live and grow up in camps is simply appalling. We, the products of war, reject war. We want our children to grow up educated, free of want, free of fear, far away from camps scattered across neighboring countries. We want our children to have the peace of mind in a democracy that reflect their will. We, the children of war, reject this war.

Who is Nuer in South Sudan context?

By Peter Gai Manyuon

January 19, 2014 (SSNA) -- The Nuer people are a Nilotic ethnic group primarily inhabiting the Nile Valley and now they are the one who are in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States respectively. They are concentrated in South Sudan, with some representatives also found in southwestern Ethiopia known by the name Gatjaak. They speak the Nuer language, which belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family according to the history.

Historically, the nature of relations among the various southern Sudanese tribes was greatly affected in the 19th century by the intrusion of Ottomans, Arabs, and eventually the British. Some ethnic groups made their accommodation with the imperial attackers and others did not, in effect pitting one southern ethnic group against another in the context of foreign rule. For example, some sections of the Dinka were more accommodating to British rule than were the Nuer. The Dinka treated the resisting Nuer as hostile, and hostility developed between the two groups as a result of their differing relationships to the British.

Looking at the way God almighty created the Nuer society in South Sudan, you find that, they are gifted by the God with some fours things that, every human being globally have acknowledged.

First of all, they are very strong in the Republic of South Sudan, they have resisted the British colony up to date, most of the tribes including Dinka were colonized and no one will deny the facts unless those whose their intellects is low, because in South Sudan context there are those who want to make shortcuts which is not the reality in the history.

Secondly, Nuer are peace loving people, they like to stay with their friends and other tribes without any problem. They don’t have big heart of other people properties, they are not thieves but they don’t like to be humiliated in one way or the other in their lives globally.

Thirdly Nuer are people who were born democrat , truth must be stay here my dear compatriots globally, they have what is call chiefdoms , which are all elective in the Nuer society beginning from Unity State which most of the historians regarded as the place where all Nuer were created place called “ Thaar Jieth Liech”. They give each and every one his rights and obligation no matter whether you are a lady, man in the society.

Fourthly, Nuer are people who like sharing, no matter how small of the food you have, they can divide equally without any problem in heart. And that is why globally most people love them so much

Coming to 2013 December when Nuer were Massacre in Juba

The number of the people that had been lost in the South Sudan crisis from the December 15th, 16th, 17th 2013 will not be recover by the Nuer Community in the Republic of South Sudan and the world at large, if am not mistaken. The question is who will be responsible for the killings that happened among the President Kiir groups in Juba?  Some people thoughts that, killing of Nuer tribes was a joke which is not the real because Nuer are human beings created by the God almighty and they should also be protected and respected as well by the International Community.

The killing that happened mostly in Gudele, Newsite, Manga, 107 , Khorwilliam area ,Jabel Market new National Security of South Sudan and Jabel Kujuor need good investigation from the International Community especially the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. And if the criminals who were ordered to kill Nuer are not hung in The Hague, that mean there might be another killing because Nuer might revenge unless otherwise, something should be done.

Who can deny if Nuer can rule themselves where ever they are?

God had given Nuer fertile land with a lots of minerals that are within Unity State, Uppernile even Jonglei has got a small oil compare to the Bharegazal Region which had nothings to help people. Can you say that, those very rich people cannot rule South Sudan? The live of the Republic of South Sudan is within the territory of the Nuer without doubt.

The Author is the Independent Journalist who had written articles extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan; you can contact him through, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

‘Madina’ Bor in Bor

By Martin Garang Aher

‘What you see troubling people here, is your fault’ (General Malual Ayom speaking to advancing troops on Bor).

January 19, 2014 (SSNA) -- Talking about Bor can be tremendously challenging at times to a non Dinka outsider, because the word has a tendency to ping pong from being a name of the city of Bor proper (Popular informally as Mading Bor), to a descriptor of the Dinka section inhabiting the large swathe of the Nile on the East Bank in Jonglei State. It is not even enough to stop here, but continuing on with etymology would mean making too many historical mistakes. Here, we are roughly talking of the city of Bor, Madina Bor, and perhaps Bor, the area and the people.

From the colonial Sudan, unto the independent Sudan – and South Sudan - the city of Bor had received umpteenth spotlights, both domestic and international for all reasons with good ones tipping the scale. But in the last thirty years, it had been the cataclysm that befell this serene city and her people that struggled to overshadow the best of it.  The period, 2013-2014, is a case period of tragedy; the latest of these tragedies being the destruction of the city and inhumane killings by the rebels set loose by Juba’s inefficiencies of governance and democratic misguidance.

In less than a month, Bor has changed hands four times between the rebels fighting the government and the national army, SPLA, defending ‘the country’ and the ‘constitution’ yet to be rectified. Division 8 General Peter Gadet Yak, based in Bor, defected with three brigades, per the narrative of South Sudanese army, and stormed the city on the 17th and 18th of December, 2013, killing about a thousand civilians, wounding many more and displacing all that remained; mainly to Awerial County in the neighboring Lakes State on the West Bank of the Nile. Other vulnerable civilians unable to make a prompt escape tolerated the terrifying ordeal of sheltering in the city’s compound of United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS). The South Sudanese army later drove Peter Gadet out of the city. A week later, the White Army mainly from Lou Nuer and Gaweer marched on the city once more, this time, on a counter-offensive with a prophetic mission of nonstop walk to Juba, the nation’s capital. Like in 1991, some villages on their way burnt and people were killed indiscriminately. The march worried the nation and the world.

Residents of Juba were undeniably terror-stricken of the news of a close to 25000 armed men eyeing their city of dwelling. The pressure was felt for real by those who live in the city and foreign others who knew that a violent elemental fall of Juba since its founding might unleash a walking pilgrims from other armed and dissatisfied groups, hence, setting the stage for Africa’s Yugoslavia, with neighbours absorbing the shock waves of war. Rumours of war at the city’s gates were exacerbated by the newly embraced technology in the forms of mobile phones and internet. International Media played its part to the dismay of the authorities who were themselves not impervious from trepidation. Mohamed Adow of Al Jazeera English Channel, who suggested that a reliable source told of a column of the White Army that slipped through the heavily militarized Juba-Bor road and was advancing on the capital, was quickly sent packing to lessen the airing of unjustified fear. On the internet, the newly emerging nationalism disintegrated into ethnic chest beating.

Further afield, responsibility then turned to frustration. The neutrality of president Museveni of Uganda was phenomenally compromised. As a member of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that hurriedly descended on South Sudan for the purposes of peace,  Uganda’s South Sudan matched that of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, with responsibility to protect (R2P) winning over the conceal evacuation of stranded nationals. What began as a peaceful mission became a mission to hunt for the vainglorious rebels or in defense of indefensible abstractions.

A warrior of Museveni’s character in a war zone is indisputably not an excellent peacemaker. With South Sudan’s geographical cauldron able to gulp down Uganda at least three times, president Museveni is well-versed that ‘going after’ Joseph Konyi is less wearisome than going after Riek Machar, whose 25000 White Army’s firepower on one front almost doubles the firepower that propelled the Lion of Ruwenzori Range into rebellious reign in Uganda, back in 1986.

Bor fell again to the national army on January 18, 2014 after almost a month of battling ‘mobilized civilians,’ as the army spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer, would like to assume. Actually, the city was found empty when the national army moved in after surviving heavy losses in ambushes on the way aboard Ute cars, barges and tanks as a conventional army; a strange position opposed to good old days of not being a sitting duck on the road. 

Just like the natives of this historically significant and embattled city would want to know, a perturbing question is ‘why always Bor?’ The simple answer, among many, is that Bor is a victim of peace in a region that is otherwise peace wary. It is unwise to assume therefore that people in this area are not doing enough to protect themselves when for generations they have done all they could to train, lead, fought and accommodated others for a national entity that would safeguard all South Sudanese. Note that Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu, first post Addis Ababa Regional Government leaders of Southern Sudan, went to Church Missionary Society School at Malek in Bor.

“People have gone for business and abandoned the army, we have to lead the fight into Bor and the rest would follow us,” General Malual Ayom continued his speech to an ululating battalion of the sons of the soil. He was clearly subdued by the loss of his colleagues, General Abraham Jongroor and Ajak Yen, Gadet’s first victim of rebellion (quote inaccurate…meaning retained). Fly in generals are be warned that General Malual’s bravery must not be tried in the field, only at home.   This was the same General Malual who was featured on the BBC video in an ambush, self-stripped of any weapons and walking with head held high amidst the showers of bullets and disorderly dashing soldiers. The question of why Bor can pick up another answer: because Bor thinks there is a nation, but alas! General Malual needs to take 'fault' blame somewhere else.

So, when the city of Bor speaks of resilience to bounce back in the face of Gadets’ atrocities to all, including those who shot the first bullets of liberation in this city (Karbino Kuanyin and William Nyuon were also his victims), they simply mean business.

Martin Garang Aher is a South Sudanese living in Australia. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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