December 27, 2013 (SSNA) — If there is one term to label what happened to innocent Nuer civilians in the hands of their own government is “massacre.” Nuer who resided in Juba were targeted and summarily executed. The needless execution of the Nuer ethnic group by South Sudan government’s agent is deplorable and perpetrators must be held accountable.
On December 16th through 18th, more than 2, 000 unarmed Nuer civilians were murdered in cold-blood by none other than President Kiir’s government agents. The UNMISS’ figure stands at 1000 people dead. To date, some reports still insists such bizarre killings of the Nuer are continuing. On December 26th, 9 innocent Nuer civilians were dragged out of UN compounds in Bor and were executed, according to eyewitness. Also, it was reported that more than 50 unarmed Nuer men and women were killed in Warrap state where president Kiir hailed. This is worrying and sparked provoked war. Across South Sudan, all-out war is likely because the fighting which started in has now spread to all ten States in the land.
This brings me to the genesis of this unwarranted debacle. The chaos was initially a political havoc but the government of South Sudan turned tribal by targeting one ethnic group, the Nuer. No one is aware about government’s motive, which created this uneasy imbalance. If truth be told, any government that kills its citizens along tribal line to force conformity lack good governance and has no legitimacy to govern in the current world of liberal democracy. Nuer people, young and old were executed for no apparent reason but simply because they were Nuer.
This malicious act caught majority of South Sudanese off guard except the killers. The door to door search execution of the Nuer ethnic group by President Kiir’s militias was never thought off. Logically, such killing revealed true colour of our president and his private armed militias and how he would run South Sudan in the years to come.
Dr. Riek Machar has escaped death narrowly from government’s agents. SPLM’s cadres and Riek’s colleagues are behind bare on fabricated coup attempt accusation. For the last 10 days however, South Sudan was/is in turmoil and therefore, this suggest that Mr. President has invited his unintended downfall. Mutinies, as I writes are everywhere in the new nation and wanted Kiir to go. At the moment, stakes are high in my home country and negative reactions against Kiir’s government are lethal resulting from the Nuer massacre. Thus, checks the very foundation and stability of the new nation.
What is the motive of targeted killing of the Nuer?
No one knows than the killers themselves. It appeared however, President Kiir was duped by crooks for self gain. Crooks made the president to believe that he can hold on to power by forced conform and utilizing dictatorial dirty tactics to spread fear. Under such ill-advice, president Kiir was also made to believe that Nuer were his potential problem and ought to be exterminated. Unfortunately, this has backfired in no one’s favor Mr. President included.
The killing of innocent Nuer in Juba spared no single family among the Nuer. The massacre took toll among Nuer society from young to old. For example, Nuer sons and daughters who work for president Kiir in the government South Sudan and staunch supporters of the president also suffered severely. Each and every one of them lost loved ones to killers. Nuer men, women and children perished in mass numbers in the cover of the dark and some of them got shot at in the board daylight in Juba streets.
The killing of the Nuer was preplanned. It was systematic and well calculated. Prior to December 15th 2013, evidence revealed that Juba town was sectioned up into four quadrants to ensure maximum damage, under four powerful Kiir’s supporters (their names withhold)
When time arrived, the killers followed the following steps:
1. Door – to -door search execution of the Nuer ethnic group
The killers set an identification code as “é yen ngä or yen chíol ngä?” Which means, what is your name in Dinka language? Failure to response in the preferred language licensed one to die.
2. Traditional markings and tattoos were also used to identified the Nuer victims
Because of this, some Dinka also fell victims because of the shared marking. Those who were allowed to speak in Dinka had to produce government identification card proving their place of born to be let go. Nuer men and women who could speak the preferred language but suspected of not being Dinka had to produce government Identification cards too bearing their place of birth, which didn’t help them.
3. Terrorist killing style
The killers chopped off their victims’ heads after they tied them up. Subsequently, the killers ordered children at gun point to carried parents’ bodiless heads and bodies to parked trucks for disposal before the killers kill the children. The reverse is also true in some occasions. However, it was reported that some Nuer men have resisted and died first before their children.
4. Lifeless bodies were allegedly dumped in the River Nile. Some were burned and others were buried in mass graves outskirt of Juba
5. It was also reported that Nuer who made it alive to police stations across Juba were fed with raw rotten human fleshes.
These are inhumane acts and must be investigated. Currently, the Human Right Watch, UN and Guardian Newspaper have reported witnesses’ accounts. That “civilians – men, women and children – who were in their houses, in their compounds, hiding from the fighting, and who were actively sought out by soldiers coming into their homes, shooting them, often asking people whether they were Dinka or Nuer.” It’s unbelievable that some armed Dinka turned against defenseless Nuer civilians with no provocation. It is sad that the government that supposedly meant to protect its citizens is now turned to be the killing machine. Similarly, the crimes committed by the government’s agents against Nuer civilians are incompatible to none or any crime ever committed in south Sudan. There are despicable crimes.
The magnitude and planning put into the Nuer massacre was unbelievably insane. Nuer should have known I guess! In numerous occasions, President Kiir has reminded the nation time and time again that his arranged action won’t be “like 1991.” Yes, indeed, it isn’t comparable to that of 1991. The Nuer massacre is way too much and more inhumane.
In my view point, our president has acted cowardly against innocent civilians. Sadly, he has achieved nothing but chaos across South Sudan, which many analysts thought was what the president wanted. Ironically, president Kiir’s action set the new country on a rocky road for years to come. Yet, the fabricated foiled coup attempt achieved nothing substantial politically than national embarrassment globally. What a political blunder!
As a result, the UN has ordered the investigation of alleged targeted killing for war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by the government against the Nuer civilians and other party. I hope this prevails and I think it should. Simply because evident are overwhelming against the Government of South Sudan on the account of selective killing sphere in Juba and elsewhere in south Sudan.
Currently, more than 120, 000 took refuge at the UN compounds in Juba and elsewhere in the country since December 16th. Yet, these refugees are uncertain about of what the future holds, given the fact that they became potential targets to government’s agents. Besides, when Kiir’s government executed the Nuer civilians, there was disappointing mute in the Government circles. But against all odds, Madam Nyadeng De Mabior and her son, Mabior Garang De Mabior reported targeted killing of the Nuer and condemned it.
Both called spade a spade. They became symbol of hope to South Sudanese. They were ingenuous and truthful in their assertions and therefore, I applauded them. I do so because their action showcased unique patriotic and nationalistic ideals for South Sudan. Disappointingly, the Nuer officials in the government cowardly hide and attempt even to cover the whole truth with the government. What a shame! Instead of denouncing targeted killing of their own sons and daughters and other citizens for that matter, they cowardly condemned Dr. Riek to appease the president. Yet, Dr. Riek Machar was an innocent man at the onset. Dr. Riek was being hunt down and had to run for his life from government militias’ agents. Blaming him was nothing short of misplaced blame and makes no logical sense.
In conclusion, I must stress that all evident points to no coup attempt by Riek and his colleagues in the SPLM, as alleged by the government of South Sudan. It was a gambit to do away with them (political opponents). However, the world is watching with keen attentions. The world knows what is right or wrong, including the dirty tricks. To this day, no one international media is fully sure about the alleged coup attempt. Some placed it as ploy given how it was poor organized.
In a nutshell, targeting innocent civilians on the basis of their ethnicity appeared a logical strategy for president Kiir. But the reality is our head of state was confused and duped. Mr. President was erroneously made to believe that he was doing the right thing, yet it isn’t. Now, the whole fiasco has backfired. Across South Sudan, the public uprising is taking toll on the new nation. Last week, Jonglei State has fallen into mutinies’ hand but retaken this week by the government forces and with the help of Ugandan Special Forces. Following Jonglei, West Upper Nile state and Upper Nile States have also fallen too to mutinies. It appeared Mr. President has unknowing invited his downfall and I hope he learn from it.
The sad news is however, innocent civilians have fallen victims from president Kiir’s uncalculated moves, even the Dinka who have nothing to do with this. Jonglei streets were now littered with dead bodies and Uganda president has been added to the mix for violating the international law. It is alleged that the Ugandan president has sent in troops and jet fighters to South Sudan to aid the failing president.
Thus, South Sudan sovereignty is at stake. I therefore call on the African Union, IGAD, and the International community to condemn Uganda government’s move and for violating South Sudan sovereignty. The Uganda’s action mimicked the dictatorial tendency of its president and that is not acceptable.
At this juncture, it is critical that the African Union, IGAD and International Community to uphold the core principle of international law. They must condemn Uganda’s involvement in South Sudan internal affairs and also hold the Uganda president accountable for lives lost in Jonglei through serial bombing of populated civilians’ targets.
J. Nguen is a south Sudanese national living in Canada and he can be reached at nyolgaar @yahoo.com.