An attempt to marry peace and justice after ethnic conflict in Jonglei remains largely incomplete in the region. It is not the Lou Nuer’s fault, it is your incomplete and incapability to execute the order appropriately with balance considerations of all people in the State!
January 1, 2012 (SSNA) — It is apparently clear that the South Sudanese and international community at large misinterpreted our anticipated self-defence against Murle community. This is to remind the international community and our national society that the fighting currently taking place in Jonglei is an anticipatory self defense and retaliations, reference to the Uror County attack on August 18/2011, the Mareng attack and Nyandit attacks of 2009. The Lou Nuer Youth had endured the Murle unfriendly behavior with patient and tolerant. The Nuer culture have taught us to forgive and give enough time to the people to rethink of what they had done to us without any cause while waiting for friendly negotiations. We are sorry that the Murle warriors were on run and they could not relief and cease our angry by confronting us in the day time.
We have heard enough complains through the news that our attack against the Murle is not a retaliations and revenges of Uror county attack. This is not true. The reason why we delay not to attack Murle as soon was because we had been searching for the missing members and re-organizing our youth who were scattered during the Murle attacks in Uror County. If the US government can take about one month to retaliate against the Afghanistan’s terrorists, how would you expect the disarmed community to retaliate and defense themselves right on spot without guns in their hands? The August 18/2011 attack on Uror left many people missing, burn houses to ashes and killed women, old folks and children from age of zero upward.
For many months and years, we kept quiet thinking that Murle would apologize and accept peace negotiation but instead, they kept attacking and attacking our community even after the Uror County massacres. We had given enough time to the government of South Sudan in order to disarm Murle but until these days, there was nothing being done in regard to the atrocities made by Murle community or to disarm them completely. We had acknowledged that the government had no proposal and plan to disarm, mediate and bring the culprit to justice. If human being’ life worth important to the government of South Sudan and international community at large, why would our killing be better while murle death is unworthy?
When the South Sudan government proposed the disarmament, we asked the government that our community should be disarmed at the last minutes because we have the principle of not attacking any community without reasons. Any community we fought in the South Sudan had first humiliated us, attacked us or mistreated our community members for long time. The government of South Sudan had united against us when we regret not to surrender our guns. They had launched an attack aggressively against our Youth in the Cattle camps and in the Lou Nuer surrounding areas during the disarmament time. We insisted not to give our guns simply because we bought them with our cattle and resources but our elders intervened and many meeting were conducted to give our guns to the government. We voluntarily give the guns to the head division of Jonglei and we believed that the current government was witness to our voluntary disarmament.
After we were disarmed, we thought that the disarmament may proceed to the other communities in Jonglei. Unfortunately, they stopped the disarmament from the Lou Nuer and Murle got an opportunity to kill our members all the times. We had realized that our disarmament was an optional plan for the government of President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to allow Murle people to kill us and finish us all. What did we do? During the presidential election time, we voted without any doubt behind President Kiir Mayardit.
He has shown up in Waat and Akobo during the election campaign and we kindly received him with respect. Although he lies and left an agenda that he would never fulfil, we respect his tolerant, patient and the fact that he fought aggressively for the success of South Sudan independent. This simple reason had convinced the majority of Lou Nuer Youth. We stand behind him until these days but trust of the leadership should not be used as an exchange for the life of our community members. He knows very well that majority of the people had welcomed and greeted him in Akobo and Waat until he promised that he will build the biggest Jonglei Health Center in Waat.
Few months ago, our Youth representatives had called for peaceful settlement negotiation between the Lou Nuer and the Murle. Rev-Deng Bul was a key speaker to the peace initiative and conflict resolution but Murle community had rejected our call in present of Rev- Deng Bul. They refused to talk to us while we were the victims of their attacks on August 18/2011 and in the past. We are wondering if we should be the one to pursue peace alone or they are the one to add more hands on peace settlement negotiations.
We happened to accept peace simply because our elders and officials had pursued us to forgive Murle and forget what they had done to our vulnerable members especially children and old people in Uror County but Murle kept killing, attack villages and kidnapping children in daily basis around Lou Nuer area and in Jonglei society at large. We have heard yesterday that President Kiir Mayardit had dispatched taskforces of the SPLA and the UN troops to Jonglei territories after our anticipated self-defence action against the Murle community. We still hold our breath that South Sudan or Jonglei government is not a part of our target though some participated initially to our sufferings. If we have ill intentions against the government of South Sudan or State government, we would have opened the door to the rebels and the government of Jonglei would not be in Bor town by then.
In many occasions, we had rejected George Athor (rebels) calls overwhelmingly but yet the government of South Sudan does not recognize and believed us as a part of state-building. Our being silence to this enduring mistreatments is not a fear but respect for the South Sudanese community. We had called and written many letters to Kiir Mayardit himself but nothing materialized as to disarm Murle or send the Murle elders to their community for peace mobilizations.
By then, we had captured Lilkuangole, Pibor and we are still after the real Murle warriors that had killed thousands of Lou Nuer members, children and women. We respect the properties of the international organization (UN), RSS and the SPLA. We had interacted almost with UN troops and the SPLA troops in Lilkuangole and Pibor but we avoid them, knowing that they are not the target. We only targeted our main enemy although we knew that all of the Murle people were taken as refugee by the UN troops and the SPLA forces in Lilkuangole and Pibor. We knew very well that they are there with UN troops and the SPLA forces but our objective does not goes beyond, to radical launch an attack to the UN compound and fight the SPLA forces unless if they launch an attack to us in defend of Murle.
The United Nations charter, article 51 apply to all human beings on earth and therefore, we realized that our being silent for long times is a clear mistake. We should have taken any step as long as it is an anticipated self-defence. We ask the government of South Sudan to bring this injustice to an end by this year or otherwise, we will do more attacks as to revenges the Mareng attacks, Nyandit attack and few attacks going on after us in Lou Nuer territoires while we are here in Murle Land. If eye for an eye will work, then we missed the magic for long time.
We need the government of South Sudan first to bring our 180 children and women being kidnapped by Murle plus our cattle. We strongly asked the government of South Sudan to disarm Murle first, deploys troops in the border to intercept the Murle’s movement at night and day times and after all these steps, we will give our guns to the authority, knowing that we are in peace. The Lou Nuer members will always retaliate in self defence as long as the enemy attack us first. The Land of Lou Nuer had never been crossed by enemy and it would be a surprise if the Murle attempted to cross it from East to West or South to North of Lou Nuer territories. We had danced in their land for few days but yet there is no better confrontation from them. “Justice Delay is justice denial!”
Happy New Year!
The Lou Nuer Youth in frontline at Pibor and Lilkuangole, Jonglei. You can try to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org