Bor, November 2, 2013 (SSNA) — The towns of Maar and Paliau are not cattle camps as is widely publicized in the wake of recent unprovoked Murle attacks in Twic East County. Rather, they are administrative centres for Pakeer and Ajuong Payams in Twic East County. Aside from its administrative status, Maar doubles as the Diocesan Seat of the Twic East Diocese.
On Sunday morning of 20th October 2013, the unsuspecting civil population came under a well-coordinated, indiscriminate attack; executed by a group of renegades clad in military uniform and employing modern weapons. While carrying out their horrendous crime, they vandalized homes, markets, worship sites, schools, a clinic and targeted clergymen, and health workers. Among those killed, five clergymen lost their lives including Rev. Mathayo Garang Biar and Layreader Gabriel Majak Bol. Because it was Sunday, families that were assembling in the local parishes in Paliau, Marial and Maar, were trapped in the Church compounds – exposing them even more to the risk of being killed, injured, or abducted.
Unless, there was recently an emergence of a new rebel group in Pibor County, there is no sound mind that would comprehend the pervasive misrepresentation by some quarters that these criminals are not David Yau Yau’s elements. As they withdrew, they left trail of evidence signifying their true identity as Murle and elements of rebel David Yau Yau.
Appalled by these willful targeting of civilians and their property; and the acts of impunity resulting from this behavior including killing and maiming of civilians; commission of acts of terror including abduction, pillaging of villages and asset stripping;
Concerned by the systematic breakdown of the rule of law and the risk of collapse of institutions of governance in the country and particularly in Jonglei State where the government is completely helpless in discharging its responsibility to protect as well as the provision of public security as a collective good;
Having registered numerous incidents in Greater Akobo and Greater Bor where government intervention has always been wanting as civilians were left to their own devices and to fend for themselves (See the attached addendum of chronology of events);
Alarmed by the progression of this conflict to engulf administrative centres and places of worship including setting attacks to coincide with religious holidays and attack of congregations;
Saddened by the inability of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to fully discharge its mandate under Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter on civilian protection and that UNMISS’ interventions come always after the fact and with little effect;
Concerned that the process leading to establishment of truth surrounding the assassination of Isaiah Abraham (Diing Chan Awuol) has stalled;
We the Bishops of Dioceses of Bor and Twic East:
1. Condemn in no uncertain terms these barbaric acts of impunity by David Yau Yau rebels and the Murle youth and urge the government and the United Nations to declare David Yau Yau as a terrorist.
2. Urge the Government and United Nations Mission in South Sudan to urgently put in place or revamp mechanisms of civilian protection in Jonglei State – including disarmament of civilians in the state.
3. Call upon David Yau Yau, Murle leaders, the government and UNMISS to accelerate release of the abducted persons including women and children and facilitate family reunion of these victims with their families.
4. Encourage the Murle leaders, the government, and UNMISS to own up to their responsibility to return all the cattle stolen in recent attacks and bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice to account for their crimes.
5. Urge the Murle traditional authorities, political leaders, the government and United Nations to put an end to the scourge of abduction and cattle theft in Jonglei State.
6. Request all parties to Jonglei Community Peace Accord signed in Bor to recommit themselves to the spirit of peace and harmony and national unity as stipulated in the pact and the roadmap that they willingly signed.
7. Regret the failure of the government of South Sudan to protect its citizens and properties;
8. Fear that South Sudan is descending towards the failed state unless serious measures are adopted to prevent the decline towards anarchy and impunity.
9. Urge and pray for the SPLM leadership to seek out peace and harmony among its ranks and encourage tolerance in its political tradition in order to insure participation, freedom of expression and the rule of law.
10. Appeal to the government to release the final report on the murder of Isaiah Abraham and inform the public on steps being taken to bring the culprits to book and that justice delayed is justice denied.
Addendum of Chronology of Events
As stipulated below, we would like to chronologically state the incidents, which occurred since 2009, notwithstanding the fact that numerous killings and massacres occurred in the years preceding it. In the interest of brevity, we have decided to overlook some the minor incidents which occurred throughout 2009 – 2013. However, the major incidents are detailed as follows:
A. Preliminary militia Attacks that should have initially raised government and UNMISS concerns to protect civilians:
1. Wernyol Attack on 10th August, 2009
2. Attack on Duk, September, 2009
B. Series of present, ongoing acts of terrorism on civilians in Jonglei, orchestrated by David Yau Yau and his group:
3. Killing in Jalle on 15th October 2011
4. Attack of Jalle and Pan-Piol (Maar) on 5th December, 2011
5. Killing in Makuach Payam on 10th December, 2011
6. Duk (Paleng) Attack on 16th January 2012
7. In Greater Akobo Attack 8/02/2013
8. Pajut (Maar) in — 2013
9. Killing in Akuaideng payam:
10. Attack of Alelei (Maar) on… 2013
11. Attack on Paliau and Maar on 20th Oct.2013