When I give my personal reflection on the recent strike on Gen. Tanginya’s forces by the SPLA on 23rd of April 2011, I felt that there is something wrong with the system and there is a need for correction. The fight was unreasonable and does not contain any sensual manner in the way it can be fairly judged by the public.
Gen. Tanginya and his forces have just been recently integrated into the SPLA after he has responded positively to the Presidential pardon to all militia groups to come back home and help rebuild the new nation that requires our comprehensive participation.
Before the completion of the integration process, there came the plan of attack for only administrative misunderstanding which I believe should have been settled. It was the clash that has resulted to unbearable loss of lives on innocent children, women and elderly people who reside in the area. If the violence in the new nation to be born in July is the only way to solve the problems and other issues, then we need to work much harder and prepare ourselves for the worse cases which will eventually cause us much more than we can possibly bear in this fragile state.
Gen.Tanginya has accepted to support the peace initiative of uniting our people in Southern Sudan according to his brief televised statement on SSTV three days before he was surprisingly attacked by the SPLA, in my view it was the wrong time for the SPLA to strike on him while he was preparing to come to Juba and join hands with the GOSS President and other officials.
The worse part of this incident was that the fight took place in the area highly populated by civilians who included children, women and elderly people; more casualties were believed to be on civilians. This alone is an indication that the people the SPLA claims to have been protecting are paying the heavy price of unlawful killing by the protector.
During the announcement by the SPLA Head of Information on Tuesday the 23rd of April on SSTV that evening, the only casualties mentioned were on Gen. Tanginya’s side but civilians were unaccounted for in the report/press statement, SPLA losses and wounded have not been reported for the public to know whether it is wise to lose those lives at this time for unknown reason. I personally do not think whether the Head of Information who issued the statement had a clue on what led to the clashes before making any public press statement about the incident.
I have a strong believe that up to now there is no concrete information that confirms exactly what happened in the time of the incident simply because there is no independent investigation to gather any available evidence that has led to the incident between the SPLA and Gen. Tanginya’s forces.
If the safety of our civilians is not prioritized in the way we deal with guns in our hands, then our statements on public television contradict our action in the way we handle our issues, GOSS and the SPLA need to promise the people of Southern Sudan that there will be a change of system in the way we deal with our national issues right before the 9th of July.
It is widely believed that Gen. Tanginya in comparison with other militia leaders, he has recently been more interested in joining the SPLA and the GOSS. Gen. Tanginya has been reluctant to respond to the threat and pressure he has been through from the SPLA since he announced his intention to come to the South early this year, according to his statement on SSTV, he mentioned that “we have to forget the past and start the new chapter”, in the view of the public concern the statement he made was of paramount important to all of us in this country.
Perhaps this statement is a potential step and is the indication that peace was to be achieved through peaceful means rather than violence; it also was a way to pursue other militia groups that violence does not have a room at this time while we are waiting for our new nation to be born in July, it was also a sign to show that he was fully committed in supporting peace in Southern Sudan.
More importantly it is wise to note that starting a fight among the civilians without a proper plan of protecting them from harm is the biggest mistake one could make and such person deserves no forgiveness from the public, I also confirm that ethical standard is far from being maintained.
I wonder what we shall tell our people when the times of campaign come for the next election, during our last election in April 2010, the main slogan was peace, prosperity, unity and freedom, but all we do after the campaign is contrary to our promises. All we do is to start ordering a provocative shooting among the civilians leaving a huge number dead on the ground without a proper report, concern or even a mercy on them, random shooting any how we want or feel like does not show how careful we are in protecting our civilians from being hurt or kill.
The incident that happened in kal-daka is not a surprised event but has become more of tradition, It happened in Upper Nile State a month ago in Chollo Land and in Unity State a week ago and it happened again in Kal-daka and many other places across Southern Sudan. Our civil society has become more vulnerable in the hands of people handling guns that we called army who have not learned about ethical standards; this has changed our commitment of protecting our people to killing them without realizing that there are far reaching consequences of any action being taken.
Some serious concerns have been raised that the army have been refusing to allow dead people being buried as well as deliberate negligence of denying the wounded patients from the other side a basic treatments in the Hospital.
As a concerned citizen of this country, I make this appeal to the GOSS authorities that there is always a room for peaceful settlement of every issue with out involving unnecessary violence that at the end puts the lives of our civilians at risk. It is worth mentioning that violence always has a significant impact or loss of life, our nation at this time needs people who care in providing adequate protection to our communities not only in a word of mouth but in real action. Since the beginning of this year (2011) countless number of people died in all 10 States of Southern Sudan for unrealistic reasons.
Protecting our people does not rule out any available option of peaceful negotiation on outstanding issues that are hindering our progress, because we have one common interest to achieve, then there is a need to remain united as people of Southern Sudan while entering in the new phase of welcoming a new Nation. Putting behind the past and containing our differences would greatly help reduce the risk of further loss of lives among our people.
According to the press statement from the SPLA General Head Quarters read by the SPLA Head of Information on Monday night the 25th of April 2011, I realized that the SPLM has acknowledged the mistake that had happened in Kal-daka as it was confirmed that it was mishandling of gun from one of the officers who randomly fired a gunshot three times in the air that has led to heavy loss of lives.
All people of Southern Sudan welcome the decision taken by Gen. Tanginya when he still enduring the pain by putting our national interest first when he decided to report himself with his army to the SPLA for the continuation of peaceful and effective integration process after that incident, this is an indication that there is always a room for peaceful negotiation when dealing with our internal issues.
As his return to the SPLA after the deadly incident in Kal-daka is being used by many as a surrendering others said he has been captured and many other names, but all of these are baseless in real sense, I called it as a wise decision the wise man could make for the interest of our country and in our best interest as well. GEN. Tanginya should be been appreciated for his wisdom as he did not have any intention to put more lives at risk after the Presidential pardon issued last year by GOSS president.
“We must always care and respect the safety of our people”
The writer of this article is a concern citizen residing in Juba Southern Sudan can be reached at [email protected]