Marking the 1st anniversary of February 9th Fangak Massacre

Press release
Date: 09.02.2012
Subject: Marking the 1st anniversary of February 9th Fangak Massacre
A message from the Chairman, Fangak Youth Union
To all Fangak Youth members, community leaders/elders and the general public

Dear all,

February 9, 2012 (SSNA) — Today marks a very special and memorable day in our history: the first anniversary of Fangak Massacre, which occurred on the 9th February 2011 in Phom el zeraf, Fangak County. At the outset, I would like to ask each one of us from Fangak to observe a movement of silence in memory of those innocent children, women and the elderly who lost their lives on this day and also those who lost their loved ones. We cannot afford to forget mentioning those who lost their lives in action; defending motherland from the external destructive forces, for without their selfless sacrifices, it would have been a different story altogether today. We also remember those who had had to loss parts of their limbs and left vulnerable by this callous and merciless attack on our territory by the enemies. It was on this day that more than 300 people were killed in one day – the highest number to be recorded killed in Fangak history by the external aggressors since time immemorial, not even during the British time. We’ll forever remember the two mass-graves for the civilians killed.

It should be recalled and remembered in our history today that 9th February was like September 11th terrorist attack on United States of America in 2001. Obviously, this attack on our territory has left many scars and wounds still unhealed in our hearts, and physically, as some of the victims are still undergoing medical treatment. We also remember them in their hospital beds and pray for quick recovery and God’s healing on them. We may not be with them physically but we are with them in spirit and through whatever little support that we may provide or might have provided. We may have to just forgive those irresponsible leaders at the central SPLA high Command, whose ineptness (or conspiracy) to respond swiftly to the earlier calls by Fangak political leadership to put in place measures in order to abate civilians being slaughtered by the rebels, led to the attack.

It goes without revisiting the historical records that it was in the aftermath of February 9th that this Union came into existence. February 9th had united the people of Fangak from all walks of life like the US September 11th attack by Al Qaeda terrorist network. It was out of this basic fact that the youth from all their political colours and ranks gathered the courage to come together and informed the whole world that our civil population was being exterminated by the rebels and their associates/accomplices. Within months or so, the response was undesirable; the enemies who carried out the act were uprooted from their base or hideouts in the bush and eventually paid the ultimate price for their action. Nine (9) months later, the leader of that rebel movement who orchestrated this massacre; and whose forces under his direct command, killed these innocent civilians, was no more on earth. His killing was like that of Osama Bin Laden, the former leader of the world most feared terrorist network called “Al Qaeda”.

Also on this occasion of the first anniversary of Fangak massacre, I want to highlight the simmering or heightening tension between the people of Fangak County and the people of Atar in Pigi County, brought about by the unfortunate killing of one of the local head chiefs from Atar by unknown gunmen in Phom. The incidence happened on Saturday the 4th February, 2012 in the evening. In the first place, I would like to convey my sincere, heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and the entire Atar people. We would like to condemn this, in the strongest terms possible, the assassination of this head chief along with one of his sub-chiefs. This act was perpetuated by the enemies of peace and people who want to cause animosity between the two sisterly people (people of Fangak on one hand and the people of Atar on the other). We want to assure the people of Atar that this was never carried out by anyone from Fangak County but definitely external agents or actors as many may know or understand it. We urge the politicians from within Atar and without to refrain from inciting violence that could cause unspeakable suffering and unnecessary loss of lives on both sides. Anything that brings the river transport system to a standstill is a cause for concern as it sends out a wrong message that we are at war with each other; the innocent civilian passengers from Fangak County should not be targeted for this, for they were never part of this assassination plot.

In conclusion, I would like to end this message on this occasion of the first anniversary of Fangak massacre by thanking all our Diaspora members from Fangak County as well as the greater Fangak, who shouldered the financial burden (in the midst of world’s financial meltdown) to raise money in order to support the victims of the 9th February attack on our civil population. We thank you for this and many good things you’d done for our community here in the republic of South Sudan. We also want to acknowledge and appreciate the financial contributions and or in other forms, by the great Naath community, both in South Sudan and in the Diaspora. You stood with us at the darkest hour of our lifetime since Dhuoryian!

We cannot also afford to forget thanking our political leaders on this occasion; who had had to swallow the pain of humiliation by those in the top echelon of power at the central level. They took the great risk of travelling down to the area to see the scale of the disaster and assure the people that they were there to represent them and to make their voices heard by other concerned South Sudanese in other parts of the country, and the world at large. I also want to pay tribute and thanks to all our youth from Fangak for their courageous stance in making their case heard by the international community through media houses, and for forming this union. Let’s continue with the spirit of sacrifice and unity of purpose as stipulated in our constitution.

Long live our fallen heroes and heroines!

Long live Fangak Youth Union!

Long live the people of Fangak County!

Long live the people of South Sudan!

Thank you all and may God continue to bless you!!

Deng Riek Khoryoam
Chairperson, Fangak Youth Union (FYU)
CC: Chairperson, FYU – BOR
CC: Chairperson, FYU – Malakal
CC: Chairperson, FYU – Phom
CC: File
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