Nuer Community holds the Government of South Sudan Responsible for the killings of civilians

For Immediate Public Release
Nuer Community Development Service-USA (NCDS)

August 26, 2011 (SSNA) — The Supreme leadership of Nuer Community in North America is informing the world about the findings of its investigation of genocide committed against Lou Nuer civilians of Uror County of Jonglei State on August, 19, 2011. On that date, SPLA gunmen attacked seven densely populated villages of Uror County and massacred 650 people. Among the dead bodies counted were mostly women, children and elderly. More than 300 people are still missing and are presumed dead because the search team did not find anyone alive. Over 200 were wounded and those seriously maimed may not survive in the coming few days given the lack of medical facilities in the area.

The NCDS, in its investigation, discovered that the attackers were not Murle cattle rustlers as the Government of South Sudan wants the world to believe. The attackers were estimated to be a force of 5, 000 SPLA gunmen in uniform. Two of the attackers captured alive were from Dinka tribe and they confessed that they were an SPLA force composed of Murle and Dinka. The attackers confessed that they were ordered by the Jonglei government and the SPLA headquarters in Bilpam to go to Uror County and disarm Lou Nuer by force. They narrated that on their way to Uror County they decided to massacre the civilians instead to forcefully disarm them in order to settle tribal grudges.

The account of the captured killers could not be disputed because the day before the massacre, the head of SPLA Division 8 Commander met with chiefs of Uror County and told them that the SPLA was on the way to disarm them. The Chiefs told him that they would not accept to be disarmed while the SPLA did not protect them from cattle rustlers in the past after accepting first disarmament in 2006. The day after that meeting, all villages of the County were in flames.

It should be born in mind that the SPLA army embarked on a forceful disarmament of Lou Nuer in 2006 where several villages were burned to ashes resulting in massive displacements and death of hundreds of civilians. People should refer to UN Report and the study of Small Arms Survey which documented Lou Nuer killed by the SPLA army during forceful disarmament of Nuer civilians in 2006. The current massacre of Lou Nuer in Uror County is reminiscent of massacres the SPLA army perpetrated against the same community in 2006.

It should be brought to the attention of the international community that the Government in Juba is not telling the truth by blaming Murle cattle rustlers as perpetrators of the massacre on August, 19, 2011. Enmity between the Nuer vs. Dinka and Nuer vs. Murle is something which dated back to 1980s. The relationship between the tribes of Jonglei State has never been smooth for many years. However, what is unusual is for SPLA forces to massacre civilians after becoming a national army guided by the Interim Constitution of South Sudan. In the past, the SPLA committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in most parts of South Sudan. The Nuer, Murle, Didinga, Taposa and many tribes were massacred with impunity in 1980s. Those killings were swept under the carpet in the past because the SPLA was still a guerrilla army. But they could not be left unpunished in the era of International Criminal Court (ICC).

Since it is now clear that those who massacred Lou Nuer were not ordinary Murle who always look for cattle, the international community has a responsibility to bring to justice armed agents of the Government of South Sudan who perpetrated those crimes. By massacring Lou Nuer, the SPLA army had committed heinous crimes against humanity by massacring innocent civilians to settle tribal scores. Rome Statute of International Criminal Court states in article seven that crimes against humanity include torture; persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender; imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; Attack directed against any civilian population; and forcible transfer of population.

Article eight of the said statute also states that war crimes include wilful killing; wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health; extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives; Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated; and violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.

The NCDS is requesting the international community and the Government of Juba to take the following steps before the entire Nuer tribe takes action:

1. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) should investigate the massacre to find out the leaders of Jonglei State and the officers of the SPLA army responsible for sending forces to massacre Lou Nuer civilians to settle tribal differences.

2. We call upon President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, to remove Governor Kuol Manyang and arrest all SPLA generals in Bilpam who are behind the conspiracy to massacre Lou Nuer.

3. Finally, the Nuer community worldwide warns President Salva Kiir that failure to remove Governor Kuol Manyang and SPLA generals in Bilpam Headquarters would compel Nuer tribe around the world to arm their civilians to defend themselves from the SPLA. The Nuer tribe is capable of fighting the SPLA army if the perpetrators are not brought to justice.

Signed By:

NCDS Chief Mr. Brown Both Bol Guandong


Email Address: [email protected]
Phone: 615-275-5074
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