December 22, 2013 (SSNA) — Our nation is now torn by rebellion, in full, senseless assault on our people and our freedom. More than 1,000 are said to have been killed with many injured throughout the country. Medical facilities, where they exist, are overwhelmed with casualties even as foreign aid workers, embassy staff, and volunteers flee for their lives from what is now war-torn South Sudan.
Skirmishes that began last week have now exploded into full-scale warfare. Although the worst of the carnage is in Jonglei, and in Unity State where the capitols of Bor and Bentiu are now said to be controlled by insurgents, Juba also finds itself under siege.
According to CNN- “All Americans who presented themselves at the United nations camp in Bor, South Sudan were safely evacuated Sunday the State Department said–”. Four American troops were injured during an earlier failed attempt according to the State Department. The severity of those injuries is unknown at this time.
Bor and most of Jonglei fell into control of the insurgents last friday, SPLA spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer stated in response to inquiries. Col. Aguer further acknowledged that Bentiu, capitol of Unity State, is now in the hands of forces loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar.
“Bentiu is in the hands of a commander who has declared support for Machar. Bentiu is not in our hands”.
While the whereabouts of Riek Machar are unknown, he is currently rumored to be protected by insurgent forces somewhere in Unity State. At this time he has made no formal statement either acknowledging, or denying any involvement with the insurgent forces. Michael Makuie Lueth, Information Minister for South Sudan stated “He (Riek Machar) is a rebel. He is a renegade and we are looking for him. He is moving in the bushes of South Sudan.”
What began last July with President Salva Kiirs firing of his Vice President, Riek Machar, and the dismissal of his entire cabinet was exacerbated by the lengthy delay in appointing new ministers, leaving the ship of state to appear rudderless. During the ensuing days, speculation enflamed the public sense that the President’s agenda was to diminish the influence of the Nuer people while strengthening the authority of his own Dinka nation.
Although Riek Machar, himself, acknowledged that the President had the constitutional right to remove him from office, the appearance to a startled nation was that of an elected leader assuming dictatorial powers. On that topic, the former Vice President has maintained a very loud silence.
Communication throughout South Sudan has become problematic, and much of what is known derives from witnesses evacuating the districts that are under siege.
Papa Maury Clark is a former advisor to the government of South Sudan, retired investment banker/broker, as well as a Called and Commissioned Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Northwest Washington Synod. He served under Bishops Appointment as pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Maple Valley, Washington in 1990 and 1991, and also served four years on the Synod Council and he has been deeply involved with the people of South Sudan since 1996.