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Opinion: Khartoum and Terrorism—what we knew before the horrors of the Paris attacks

By Eric Reeves

November 16, 2015 (SSNA) -- “Khartoum has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks that struck the French capital Paris on Friday, expressing its ‘full solidarity with France … to combat violence and fundamentalism.’” (Radio Dabanga, November 16, 2015)

Or so the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime would have us believe. But remarks recorded at another time suggest a far different attitude, specifically the minutes of a meeting held on August 31, 2014 at the National Defense College in Khartoum by senior regime military and security officials, including First Vice President General Bakri Saleh. The authenticity of the minutes has been fully determined and they have been accepted as authentic by all relevant parties, including the U.S. government. The only dissent comes from the Khartoum regime itself, although it has done nothing to disprove the authenticity of the minutes.

Of considerable importance are the comments of then-Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, as well as other senior members of the regime’s military, security, and political apparatus. They suggest a view of radical Islam that is nowhere reflected in the comments following the Paris attacks. Hussein’s comments are of particular significance in the context of the growing struggle to collect counter-terrorism intelligence. The Obama administration has already shaped U.S. Sudan policy around a toleration of Khartoum in the interests of gathering counter-terrorism intelligence from Khartoum—judged by many highly informed observers to be of only marginal value in the larger scheme of counter-terrorism. This is notably the decided view of Hussein himself.

But such “toleration” comes at a high price, as the U.S.—along with most of the international community—continue to allow ongoing genocide in Darfur, as well as ruthless campaigns of annihilation in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Almost nothing has been done to end Khartoum’s embargo on humanitarian relief to vast areas of the latter two regions; in Darfur, the regime continues its relentless war of attrition against humanitarian efforts: obstructing, harassing, intimidating operations and threatening relief workers with physical assault—this in an environment so insecure that a number of organizations have made the painful decision to withdraw, despite the desperate need of more than 2.7 million internally displaced persons and many more who are without food security or adequate clean water and primary health care. In eastern Chad, some 380,000 Darfuri refugees live without the prospect of assistance from the UN World Food Program in 2016.

Violence continues to remain genocidal in character, and a recent report from Human Rights Watch makes this fact all too clear:

Ahmed, a 35-year-old officer in the Border Guards, spent two weeks at a military base in Guba [North Darfur] in December 2014 before being sent to fight rebels around Fanga. Two senior RSF officials, the commanding officer, Alnour Guba, and Col. Badre ab-Creash were present on the Guba base.

Ahmed said that a few days prior to leaving for East Jebel Marra, Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman directly addressed several hundred army and RSF soldiers:

“Hassabo told us to clear the area east of Jebel Marra. To kill any male. He said we want to clear the area of insects… He said East Jebel Marra is the kingdom of the rebels. We don’t want anyone there to be alive.” (“‘Men With No Mercy”: Rapid Support Forces Attacks Against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan,” Human Rights Watch | September 9, 2015)

While the Obama administration is well aware of the August 31 minutes, and knows that they are authentic, they seem willing to continue the present policy of “toleration” in the interests of gathering more counter-terrorism intelligence. But the comments of Hussein and others should have given pause to such a policy, given the enormous number of human lives it puts at acute risk.

What do we know about what Khartoum provides the U.S. in the way of counter-terrorism intelligence? These excerpts from the August 31 minutes are disturbingly revealing (all commentary is in blue, in italics, followed by my initials; especially important passages are given a yellow background---ER] 

Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein:

“America is facing the crisis of the ISIS and the other Jihadist movements that are newly formed and can move freely outside the traditional surveillance networks. Currently, there are twenty thousand (20,000) Jihadists and fifteen (15) newly formed Jihadist Movements who are scattered all over, from Morocco to Egypt, Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, all the Gulf States, a wide presence in Africa and Europe and nobody owns a data-base on that as the one we have. We release only limited information to the Americans and this on the basis of their requests; the price of this information is the Sudanese armed rebel movements file. The coming days carry a lot of surprises.”

[The clear implication here is that Khartoum has a great deal of counter-terrorism intelligence the regime is not sharing, and that what sharing there has been remains contingent on U.S. help in combating the threat posed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a broad-based coalition of rebel groups seeking to end NIF/NCP tyranny—ER]

Other comments of significance bearing on radical Islam and Islamic terrorism by Hussein recorded in the August 31, 2014 minutes:

“We did a great job with the Ethiopians in terms of securing the borders. The Egyptians conceded a lot. They prevented the opposition from conducting any activities in Cairo, but this is not enough. They must deport all the movements and close their offices. Up to now we have not treated them equally. But I spoke to their Minister of Defense and they know what we can do in collaboration with Qatar and Libya because the Islamists movements took the initiative in Libya.”

[Khartoum has strongly supported the Libya Dawn radical Islamist movement in Libya, by the regime’s own admission; Qatar’s nefarious role in the region is highlighted repeatedly in the minutes—ER]

“In my personal view our relationship with Iran is strategic in the areas of defense and security... but allowing them to operate more than 200 cultural centers that are proselytizing Shi’ism creates many problems with the other radical Islamic Sunni groups, given the fact that we have many Islamic Sunni Salafi organizations belonging to different radical groups from all over the world. We need to strike a balance in our relationship with the Gulf States and Iran. I suggest that we maintain good relations with the Gulf States in principle, yet work strategically with Iran, in total secrecy and on a limited scale, through the Military Intelligence and security. Thus, diplomatic relationships remain the same.”

[What is really meant by “striking a balance” is that Khartoum will seek to maintain its strategic alliance with Tehran, but not at the expense of immediate financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This is in response to the economic crisis, indeed continuing collapse of the Sudanese economy, largely due to an acute lack of Forex—ER]

Comments by others in attendance at the August 31, 2014 meeting:

[1] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“With the appearance of ISIS, Europe and America must cooperate with us in combating terrorism. This is where we can bargain the Sudan Revolutionary Front case.”

[The Sudan Revolutionary Front is a coalition of rebel military forces in Sudan, active in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile; such purported “cooperation” is deeply disturbing—ER]

[2] General Yehya Mohammed Kheir, Minister of State for Defense:

“The Gulf States have only very weak information about the terrorist groups that are based in Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, North Africa Arab Countries and Afghanistan, because there is a lot of tension in their relations with these radical groups. They want us to cooperate with them in the war against terrorism because the radical groups constitute a direct threat to them. Their relation with ISIS, Nusra Front, Muslim Brothers and Palestine Islamic Movement is even weaker. We will not sacrifice our relations with the Islamists and Iran for a relationship with the Saudis and the Gulf StatesWhat is possible is a relationship that serves our mutual economic interests in terms of investment and employment.”

[The clear suggestion here is that whereas the Gulf States have only “weak information” about terrorist groups, Khartoum’s is quite strong. But the regime is unwilling to share that intelligence if it threatens relations with radical Islamist groups and Iran—ER]

[3] Mustafa Osman Ismail, Political Secretary-NCP:

“The relationship with Iran is one of the best relationships in the history of the Sudan. Accordingly, the management of this relationship requires wisdom and knowledge of all its details. The assistance we received from Iran is immeasurable. The commonalities between us are many. People should not limit their concern to the aspect of converting to Shiism only. There are many infiltrators who are working to see us lose our relationship with Iran. We must note that Iran is a friend to all the Islamic movements world-wide. We need to conduct internal consultations first and then we put our Iranian partners in the picture about all the details.”

[In speaking of Iran, Ismail is clearly also speaking about Khartoum’s own “friendship” with “Islamic movements world-wide”—ER]

[4] General Siddiq Amer, Director General of Intelligence and Security:

“My comment concerns our relationship with Saudi Arabia and Emirates on one side and Iran on the other side. 

We are capable of misleading the Gulf States by taking open, declared steps and procedures towards improving diplomatic relations with them. They are backed by the Americans and Israel and have concerns regarding our relationship with Iran, which is beneficial to us because Iran is our biggest ally in the region, in terms of the cooperation in the areas of intelligence and military industrial production. We have relations with all the Islamic movements worldwide and we represent a door for Iran to all these Islamic groups.”

[There can be little doubt that the intelligence relationship between Khartoum and Tehran remains vigorous; of particular note is the claim that “We have relations with all the Islamic movements worldwide and we represent a door for Iran to all these Islamic groups"—ER]  

[5] General Abd al-Qadir Mohammed Zeen, National Service Coordinator:

“The Egyptians have no choice but to establish special relations with us, given the victory of the Islamists in the battle for Tripoli, despite Egyptian support to Gen. Haftar and the air strikes which failed to achieve their goals. These are useful cards in hand and we should use them properly.”

[Again, Khartoum has—by its own admission—actively aided the Libya Dawn radical Islamist movement in Libya—ER]

“The balance in our relationship with Iran on one side and the Gulf States on the other side is important, but my question is: Will Saudi Arabia change its position after it has classified the Muslim Brothers as terrorists? On the other hand, our relationship with Iran is linked to our relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization. Accordingly, we must consult with Iran and the rest of our Islamist groupbefore taking any step in this regard, especially since the relationship with the Saudi Kingdom is not guaranteed, despite their knowledge that we are in a position to threaten their rule.

[The belief by the regime that they are in a “position to threaten Saudi rule” is difficult to construe as anything other than a threat to support terrorism in the kingdom; there is no possibility of a direct military assault—ER]

[6] General Abdalla al-Jaili, PDF General Coordinator:

“We have been targeted for the last twenty-five years because of our relationship with Iran. Both revolutions are committed to Islam. There is no country, other than Iran, who has the courage to say no to the whole WestIran is an essential partner to the National Salvation Revolution” [i.e. the original name for the National Islamic Front movement; the commitment to a strategic relationship with Iran is a constant refrain in these minutes, and must be seen as the context for present Sudanese assistance to the Saudis in their military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen—ER].

“We are the only country in the world that will not be affected by the conflicts taking place between Sunni Islamic groups and the Shi'ia. We have succeeded in maintaining good relations with all Islamic groups, through the cover of social organizations, and not through the state institutions. The secret of the strength of the National Salvation Revolution (NIF/NCP) government lies in the smooth management of the alliance with Shi’ia of Iran on one side and the alliance with the Sunni Islamic groups on the other side. Any negligence or failure to maintain this fragile relation between the Sunni and Shi’ia, will be disastrous.”

[Those who doubt the skill or expediency of Khartoum’s diplomatic negotiation of its ways through regional disputes would be well advised to read this passage again—ER]

[7] Major General Hashim Abdalla Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff:

“The war against the [Sudanese] rebels ends when they return to negotiations, dismantle all militias and surrender all Sudanese land. We have the right to hire anybody interested in fighting for money. The rebels should be the last people to talk about foreigners. Who is supporting them and where are they staying? Aren’t they living in foreign countries? We can bring all the Islamic movements to fight them. We only have to say that these rebels are agents of America. We can create conflict for them with the Islamic radicals, just so they realize their true size; but that is a card we have not used until now.”

[The vast confidence on the part of the Khartoum regime that it can use “Islamic radicals” in its fight against rebel groups is critically telling: only if the regime retained close relations with these “Islamic radicals” could it believe that they might be militarily deployed within Sudan—ER]

“We have a problem with Saudi Arabia because they found out about the weapons we sent by way of the Red Sea to [the Iranian-backed] Abd al-Malik Al-Houthi’s Shiia group in Yemen.”

[That Khartoum now supports the Saudi military campaign against the Houthi rebels is a sign of both expediency and desperate financial need—ER]

[8] General Imad al-Din Adawy, Chief of Joint Operations:

“The Libyan border is totally secured, specially after the victory of our allies, [the radical Islamist—ER] Libya Dawn Forces in Tripoli. We managed to deliver to them the weapons and military equipment donated by Qatar and Turkey and we formed a joint operations room with them under one of the colonels in order to coordinate and administer the military operations. Turkey and Qatar provided us with information in favor of the revolutionaries, this on top of the information collected by our own agents so they can control the whole country.”

[The fact that equipment and military intelligence provided to the radical Islamist Libya dawn involved not only Qatar but Turkey should have sent alarms bells ringing. That Khartoum’s involvement included a “joint operations room” with the Qataris and Turks is especially notable, since the larger ambition—surely known to all in the “room”—was to “control the whole country,” i.e., all of Libya—ER]

[9] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“[There involvement in the September 2013 uprising throughout Sudan] is why Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates are concerned—afraid that all their agents have been exposed and will be arrested by our security forces. On our side we did not disclose anything up until now; we want to use this file to blackmail them instead. They have taken many measures fearing that we may use or release terrorist groups to revenge from them. No need to fear or hurry, we shall use this file to the maximum.”

[The Saudis, Egyptians, and rulers of the Emirates are right to fear Khartoum’s ability to loose terrorist groups against enemies of the regime—ER]

Notable as well in the minutes, there are numerous self-characterizations by those in attendance of the Khartoum regime as “Islamist Rule,” the “Islamist Movement.”

On ties with Iran:

[1] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services: 

“I say that our relationship with Iran is strategic and should be above all other interests. Anyone who wants to sabotage it doesn’t understand the art of keeping balances and lacks the necessary information.”

[2] Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein:

“I shall start with our relationship with Iran and say it is a strategic and everlasting relationship. We cannot compromise or lose it. All the advancement in our military industry is from Iran. They opened the doors of their stores of weapons for us, at a time the Arabs stood against us. The Iranian support came when we were fighting a rebellion that spread in all directions including the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Iranians provided us with experts and they trained our Military Intelligence and security cadres.”

“They also trained us in weapons production and transferred to us modern technology in the military production industry. There is one full battalion of the Republican Guards still with us here and other experts who are constructing interception and spying bases in order to protect us, plus an advanced Air Defense system. They built for us Kenana and Jebel Awliya Air Force bases. One month ago they transported to us BM missile launchers and their rockets using civil aviation planes. We stored them in Kenana and sold part of them to Qatar to support Libya fighters after they were subjected to attacks by the Egyptian and Emirates air forces. That helped them to achieve victory. I say the military relationship should be separated from the religious one.”

[This is an especially rich account of relations between Khartoum and Tehran; Iran and Sudan are two of the three countries that remain on the U.S. State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism; the State Department annually notes that Hamas maintains offices openly in Khartoum. Khartoum has also served as a wholly willing conduit for Iranian weapons bound for Gaza for years—ER]

[3]  Mustafa Osman Ismail, Political Secretary-NCP:

“Our brothers in the Gulf States complained about the spread of Shi’ism and the expansion of the Iranian influence in Sudan, which are the reasons why their countries refuse to invest in Sudan. They said they request a balanced relationship compared to Iran. In my personal view our relationship with Iran is strategic in the areas of defense and security; but allowing them to operate more than 200 cultural centers that are proselytizing Shi’ism creates many problems with the other radical Islamic Sunni groups, given the fact that we have many Islamic Sunni Salafi organizations belonging to different radical groups from all over the world. We need to strike a balance in our relationship with the Gulf States and Iran. I suggest that we maintain good relations with the Gulf States in principle, yet work strategically with Iran, in total secrecy and on a limited scale, through the MI and security.”

“I have met with the president and presented to him a report on how we can improve our relations with the Gulf States without affecting our strategic alliance with Iran. We agreed to consult with the Iranian leadership before we take any action. So, the president assigned each person his role and we reached an agreement to halt the promotion of the Shi'ia cultural centers, without affecting the Cultural Chancellery and the Diplomatic Missions.

“We have security and political agreements with Iran and they might refuse the suggestion of fresh relationships with the Gulf States, especially that Saudi Arabia has concerns regarding the Iranian military presence in Sudan.”

[More evidence of a sophisticated expediency in dealing with mortal enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran—ER]

[4] General Salah al-Tayeb, DDR Commissioner:

“I concur with brother Mustafa, we should set our military and security relationships with Iran apart. Our brotherly and diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and Emirates should not be effected especially now when axis, polarization and alliance policies have surfaced in the region, and given the fact that three million Sudanese citizens are working in the Gulf States.”

[Khartoum is well aware of how much it depends economically on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States—ER]

[5] General Siddiq Amer, Director General of Intelligence and Security:

“I think we should improve the relation with the Saudis and benefit from them, but it must be clear that, they are not trustworthy. At the same time we maintain our strategic relationship with Iran.”

[Expediency in its most distilled form—ER]

[6] General Yehya Mohammed Kheir, Minister of State for Defense:

“Our relationship with Iran is strategic. We will inform them of our intention to close down their cultural centers for security reasons; because there is a threat to these centers from some Sunni radical groups who may target them and cause conflict. But again we must take a similar step towards the Wahabi group, to avoid any misinterpretation by the Iranians of these measures as targeting only the Shiite group.”

[7] Major General Hashim Abdalla Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff:

“In any case, our relation with Iran is a red line for without the support of Iran, the National Salvation Revolution would have been defeated.”

[This strong sense of indebtedness to and the continuing value of Iran is everywhere in evidence—ER]

[8] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“[T]here are regular meetings between us [and Iran] to overcome any misunderstanding. The most difficult problem was the incident of killing a Shiite in Western Sudan because he declared his new belief and engaged in a debate with a Sunni in the state of Western Darfur. As soon as the incident happened, I received a call from the Iranian Security Advisor and the Chief of Republican Guards. We agreed to separate between the two issues: The strategic military and security relationship on one side, and the cultural relationship on the other. After that they reported the agreement to their leadership.”

[8] Professor Ibrahim Ghandour, Deputy Chairman of the NCP:

“The relationship with Iran is one of the best relationships in the history of the Sudan. Accordingly, the management of this relationship requires wisdom and knowledge of all its details. The assistance we received from Iran is immeasurable. The commonalities between us are many… There are many infiltrators who are working to see us lose our relationship with Iran. We must note that Iran is a friend to all the Islamic movements worldwide.”

[And “friend” by way of Khartoum in many cases—ER]

[9] General Bakri Hassan Salih, First Vice President:

“Maintain and protect the relationship with Iran. Managing this relationship through the military and security agencies.

[One of his primary “recommendations” on this occasion; at present, Bakri seems best poised to assume the reins of power should al-Bashir no longer be able to rule, for whatever reason—ER]

Eric Reeves is a professor of English and Literature at Smith College and the Author of Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012   www.CompromisingWithEvil.org.

Africa and the death penalty: Time to let go!

By Ivan Simonovic*

November 11, 2015 (SSNA) -- On Tuesday, 6 June 1995, over a year after electing the late Nelson Mandela as its President, South Africa ended the use of the death penalty, with a ruling of its constitutional court.

Mandela’s personal involvement in this outcome has been significant: Five years earlier, freshly out of prison, he had successfully pressed his predecessor - then President FW De Klerk - to announce a moratorium on executions. At the inauguration of the court four months before the ruling, President Mandela had opened his speech with telling words, referring to the 1963-64 trial in which he and his comrades had feared for their lives: “The last time I appeared in court was to hear whether I would be sentenced to death,” he had said. 

For decades, South Africa had executed thousands of its citizens, overwhelmingly among its Black population, earning a top ranking among countries with the highest rates of capital punishment in the world.

Announcing the court's decision, Arthur Chaskalson, its president, noted: "Everyone, including the most abominable of human beings, has a right to life, and capital punishment is therefore unconstitutional." Remarkably, each of the court's 11 judges issued a written opinion backing the ruling.

With that ruling, the new South Africa stood at a turning point of what was to follow across the continent. It heralded a momentous shift in the use of the death penalty in Africa, as more countries joined the global trend away from it. Once common, the practice was now being abandoned. By 1999, 21 African countries were abolitionists in law or practice. Of those, 10 had abolished capital punishment and 11 had de-facto moratoriums.

Today, twenty years since South Africa’s ruling, 37 out of 54 countries on the continent are abolitionists in law or practice, according to the International Federation for Human Rights. Among them, 18 have abolished the death penalty, 19 have de-facto moratoriums.

Last December, at the United Nations General Assembly, 27 African countries joined 90 others from around the world in voting in favour of a resolution calling for a progressive end to the use of the death penalty. Five months earlier, in July 2014 in Cotonou, Benin's capital, the continent had adopted a declaration urging countries still imposing it to "consider abolishing the death penalty." The African Union is now considering an additional protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the abolition of the death penalty, a major development that will further put the continent on the footsteps of Mandela, one of its most illustrious sons.

Yet, as Africa makes major strides away from the death penalty, worrying developments cloud the horizon. Among them, the continued imposition of mandatory death sentences for some crimes in a handful of countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. Uganda, thankfully, has recently taken steps to repel similar provisions from its criminal code.

Another persisting problem is the lack of fair trial guarantees. In March 2014, The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concerns that the hasty judicial process in Somalia, in which there were only nine days between the alleged killings and the executions, deprived the suspects of their rights to legal representation and appeal.

More visible in recent months is the resurgence of the death penalty in contexts marked by a significant deterioration of the security climate. Faced with the mounting threat of violent extremism by Boko Haram, Nigeria has joined the list of countries prescribing the death penalty for vaguely defined "terrorist" activities. More strikingly, Egypt has resorted to mass trial. In 2013, a court imposed death sentences on more than 1,000 people in two such trials for the alleged killing of a police officer and other violent activities.

All these developments point to the need for a stronger advocacy against the use of the death penalty. Across Africa, much like on the global stage, the direction is now clear, but the mobilisation must continue. Leaders should be part of the debate. Civil society actors and academic institutions must join in too. And everyone should know the facts, starting with those that are no longer in dispute.

First, there is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty deters crime, as researchers in various countries have shown. Countries where the death penalty has been abandoned did not, in general, record a rise in crimes. Second, and most unfortunately, the death penalty is a most final punishment. Even the best justice systems have sentenced innocent people to die. In the United States 20 persons on death row have been exonerated through DNA testing, according to the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organisation based in New York. Third those who end up executed are almost always and everywhere vulnerable because of poverty, minority status or mental disability.

These are just some of the many reasons why, at the United Nations, we strongly believe that, as the Secretary-General puts it, "the death penalty has no place in the 21st century." Or, in the simple words of the great Madiba himself: "The death sentence is a barbaric act." It is time to let it go!

*The author is the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for human rights.

Opinion: South Sudanese may forgive but should not forget the event of December 15, 2013

“He, who does not learn from history, is doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana

By Zechariah James Machar

November 10, 2015 (SSNA) -- Choosing to forget December 15 massacre means choosing to side with those who raped you out of your family’s solicitude, those who forced your mother to eat your father’s roasted flesh; those who removed your son’s testosterones to impede the growth of Nuer’s population and to instill inferiority in you. Opting to forget December 15 means you have chosen to part with those who raped your daughter with wooden or metal tools, those who gathered elderly people in hundreds and burned them alive.

Choosing to forget December 15, 2013 mean choosing to forget your own identity!

Why should we never forget December 15, 2013?

Well, there are so many lessons to be learned from December 15th, good, bad, and way ugly. How did it get to such a stage? What drove the offenders, and what drove the rescuers (Local Civil Defense Forces and their brave generals in Bor, Malakal and Unity State)? How would we ensure that if a similar tragedy arises that we would not remain bystanders? Bystanders were in many cases, essentially passive offenders because without their silent consent, Salva Kiir would have had a much harder time in doing as much damage as he did!

December 15 must be remembered because it was a major event in the history of South Sudan when thousands of innocent Nuer and other South Sudanese minorities were targeted and murdered in cold blood for their identity. We will always remember the December 15 as a day in which many innocent civilians perish in the hands of a coward president who found joy in revenging against helpless civilians and endangered the survival of the entire ethnic group. This is the doom day in which foreign mercenaries were prepared to use their superiors against one ethnic group. Failing to commemorate this tragic past risk as if nothing happens would risk a repeat of such impunities. This is not our culture!

December 15, like the holocaust, is the day when men we entrusted with power openly introduced ethnic discrimination and hatred into our state policies. Regrettably, these things continue to happen on a significant scale in nearly all minority groups and they would continue to happen if we act as if nothing happened. We, the survivors of December 15 massacres, must continually preach to schoolchildren, our next generation, that hatred, ethnic prejudice, discrimination, segregation, splits and domination are a cancer that must be abolished in our systems if we ought to build a stable democratic nation. This cancer kills and it will eventually kill those who harbor it today. Don’t ever hate, and if you don’t, give an evil eye to those who practice it!

We all bleed the same color. We are all people, when you see someone being bullied, stand up and do something – whether you get help or say something yourself, but don’t just stand idly. December 15 shows us what happens when we stop seeing people as people; when we fail to see a person as unique individual.  

Why would we mourn on December 15 instead of 16? 

As Christians celebrate Christmas on the day Jesus was born, and God Friday on the day of his crucifixion instead of any other day when major events and temptations happened, December 15th is the day when ethnic discrimination, hatred and subsequent massacres were ascended into state policies. December 15th is the day the trained presidential militia and hired mercenaries, hided in Nesitu and other parts of Equatoria, had anticipated.

As we all know after the first day of the national Liberation council (NLC) meeting on the 14 December, 2013, Dr. Machar and his Dec-6th meeting group withdrew and failed to return back to the meeting on Sunday, December 15, 2013 due to hateful speech of Salva Kiir and his supporters and on the same day at 9:30 PM fighting broke out at the SPLA headquarters barracks in Juba amongst members of the presidential guards. Following hours of fighting involving the military, the fighting spread out into the general population on the streets of Juba; the military together with Salva Kiir militias (Mathiang Anyor) began a house-to-house search for Nuer civilians. It’s intuitive to conclude that even Salva Kiir led his Tiger battalion on this night as he demonstrated on the national television the follow morning.

For those who would like to have the original designed logo for 2015 Commemoration event of December 15 massacre, please visit Nyamilepedia contact page or simply contact the author of the article. 

Long live South Sudan!
Long live the citizens and nationals of South Sudan!

The author can be reached at zee4yo at yahoo dot co dot uk

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