What does “The FBI will investigate the killing of Isaiah Abraham” mean to South Sudan and the continent?

By Deng Elijah

First, this is a lost and found article. I lost the document for two weeks due to some tech issues, but since no one published in the same style (I guess the writers are busy exploring the currently evading challenges, since articling seems to be the only option left to fight the problems); I therefore had to extract this version for public consumption. Besides, may my condolences reach the family and the relatives of late Isaiah Ding Abraham Chan Awoul, and the relatives of deceaseds in Wau, Jonglei and other states!

December 31, 2012 (SSNA) — The work of Ambassador Susan Page, Princeton Lyman, the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, US embassy in South Sudan and the entire US government to involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the investigation of late Isaiah Abraham’s death has received glorious commendations from South Sudanese, at home and in diaspora. Among the key factors that the South Sudanese seem to accredit may include the neutrality and independence of the FBI, their expertise, the South Sudan-US bilateralism, and perhaps any possible resolutions from such cooperation. And as a south Sudanese who strongly venerate FBI, and nonetheless with inherent aptitude in forensic, I would firmly advocate for the FBI. However, I would rather present my gratitude in kind.

Sometimes you need to thanks those who offer in kind, for they may offer again and also to save them off the hook of unnecessary expenditures when you are capable of carrying your own cross. South Sudanese should graciously thanks the United State, the FBI and other right groups for they have already contributed enough in the making of South Sudan. This, like any other assassinations, massacres and other challenges facing the young nation, was just a test of responsibilities and accountabilities.

The fundamental of this particular test was to bridge the public interest between the civilians, right groups and the government of South Sudan. This misunderstood public interest is not just to identify the assassin(s) but most importantly to enforce or strengthen a charter of rights and freedoms, particularly the freedom of right to live and the freedom of press that seems to be deteriorating in the new state. It is the duty of the legislative assembly in any country to enact or amend such laws, if not then, it would be upon the law enforcement to enforce such laws if they already exist. These duties have none to do with FBI, or any other foreign intervention unless the legislatives assembly, judicial system, the law society, the law enforcement and other important organs in the new state do not function. Then how would you call it a state? Even the states with nonfunctioning government are overseen by United Nation Peacekeepers, which are already deployed in South Sudan, and not by FBI.

Despite that the country is already populated with foreign intelligent, any direct foreign intervention in sensitive issues that nakedly exposes the internal organs of any nation is a miscarriage of national responsibilities and sovereignty. Or else South Sudanese are only forging independence when the nation is not socially, economically and politically on a road to govern herself. This is a question of what did the over fifty years of liberation struggles and the six years of pre-independent transition period mean to the ruling party and the entire South Sudanese community. Could South Sudan still profane the East Africa Community (EAC) for subjecting her application to pre-conditions?

South Sudanese have to transition from this comfort zone of helplessness, expecting manna dropped from the sky, to zone of freedoms, rule of law and independence.  Even during struggle South Sudanese did not have these over-dependency syndromes, or else no one would have fought the war. It is time to shorten the list of expectations, stereotypical mindsets, and instead embrace the independence of South Sudan, whatsoever, it brings. The investigation needed, in this particular case is a piece of cake, just that no one offered to do it at the national level and therefore came the savior.  

It is a piece of cake. Based on the analytical views posted online by various authors, The What, Where, When, and The How of this investigation have all been established and any one who follows this incident can tight a loose knot. What remains to be investigated are just The Who and The Why components, legally referred as the identity of accuse(s) and the intent of a crime. But again, it is a responsibility of a court judge, not the FBI, to proof the intent of a crime and prosecution. Thus, the entire South Sudanese security intelligent, police, FBI, witnesses and those who may be tempted by the offered $50,000 are all left to only proof the identity of the assassin. A case that may leaves one wondering: has the oil production resumed? Or does the prices of $50,000 accounts for inflation? Do this particular case really deserves foreign intervention?

South Sudanese are not just eager for an identity but a responsive pledge that “such thing will never happen again”, as president Obama responded over the Connecticut school shooting. Identity, in some cases, and maybe in this scenario may not be the fruit of investigation. For instance if the assassin shot him/herself dead right at the crime scene, the investigation could still have been conducted. Could South Sudanese still have wanted the FBI based on the current claims? Of courses NO. Or suppose the assassin was accompanied by five other gunmen, initially from a bigger group of, say 500 members, then chances are the assassin would have been any of the six gunmen that were physically present at locus delicti or any other possible member from the gangs. As such just prosecuting any alleged shooter, or holding just the six or the entire crew responsible is just a bonus to justice and not the justice itself. In sum, what the South Sudanese need is a piece of legislation; the rest goes to archives.

His Excellency rewarded a “Yes, you can” ticket to FBI, presumably, because he though he had no choices but to accept.  A choice of yes or no that the president superficially based, perhaps, on panic of international community’s names branding, defaming, sanctions and short terms consequences, rather than him presenting his own view, a national position with legitimate justification. This decision seems to have ruled out that a simple No with proper justification may build a stronger bilateral relationship between the two countries than a simple yes that may seems to condone a “weak vs master” relationship.

To the region and the continent, FBI intervention only proves theories that linger many Africans’ minds: The theories of “Africa as a dark and fail continent” and its recently coined version of “South Sudan can not rule herselves”. These dictums gain popularity and still in existence because the “messiah(s)” never solved Africans or South Sudanese’s problems. If they do, then the South Sudanese could not depend on US today to investigate a case that we all know it outcomes. It is a question of how can you help a helpless. But hardly do we except neither South Sudanese nor other Africans as helpless. Perhaps, they just do too little to help themselves; a theory that deserves unfolding!

As it has been part of the African history, and recently in cases such as sending 100 US troops to Congo to capture Joseph Konyi, or the “better” version of “invisible children” which went viral like a virus, not even to mention the Dr John Garang’s forensic investigation, among many other cases, foreign intervention in domestic affairs never extinguishes the problem, it galvanizes it. It is not the solution but part of the problem. And if and only if recommended, it should never be the best but the last response. That could, perhaps, explains why the neighboring states handled their own assassinations which some have even claimed the head of states such as those in Congo, or cabinet ministers, prominent political figures and scholars in countries like Kenya and Uganda. Yet, none of the right groups but the citizens straightened their arms to solve, at least, some of the issues in these countries. Why should South Sudan have such an astounding fortune in the whole region or continent? And if South Sudan has any special attention, then why shouldn’t such investigation start right from the alleged assassination of Dr John Garang? Isn’t it in public interest?

I strongly believe that what we are forgoing in an attempt to resurrect one of our own through foreign intervention is the database that Ding himself defended from Khartoum manipulation, and as well as from a government that he cherished for decades. It is the same database that cost him his own life, not because he didn’t expect a heartless shed of his own blood, but because he loved the document more than his own life.  And as some of his peers iterated in their articles that “Isaiah Abraham died doing what he loves”, I believe he would critically oppose the cause of exposing this database in an attempt to recover any soul, including his own, for such database binds our sins and righteousness. It binds the deads, the living and future generations. It is what the Americans term as “American pride”, or what Kenyans refer as “jivunia kuwa mkenya”. Such a magnificent national property would be of a golden interest to anyone who would temporarily own it. Yet, we expect the magnified lenses of the intelligence to only read a fraction of all the sins it encompasses; the alleged assassination of Ding Chan Awoul? Well, either yes or no response would have been a nightmare, but I would prefers a justified No because it is what split the biggest nation in Africa into two Sudans and what our ancestors fought for in their uncivilized pre-arabilization and pre-colonial period.


Although not discussed in depth (because there is no point to do so) the following recommendations would be vital if we are pledging not to witness or subdue the current turmoil in South Sudan.

1. Isaiah_Abraham’s legislature MUST be passed and enforced.
2. The minister for National security MUST resign.
3. The head of national security intelligence MUST resign.
4. The head of Juba police (or commissioner) MUST resign.
5. The head of Wau security intelligent and police commissioner MUST resign.
6. The South Sudanese security intelligence MUST investigate the case(s), and if any need be, the FBI can only supervise the process.
7. If the FBI collaborates, then shall they train or partially equip the department they offered to help for future investigations.
8. Isaiah Abraham’s assassin MUST be brought to book.
9. Security personal who committed atrocities MUST be prosecuted, rehabilitated and relieved from their duties.
10. The security intelligence should put the $50,000 into a different use because the patriotic witnesses will attest free of charge.

Deng Elijah is a South Sudanese residing in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected].

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