South Sudan: A State Terrorism of the 21st Century

By John Chuol Bol

January 25, 2015 (SSNA) — Back ground, I write this article to analyze how state terrorism works in South Sudan compared to global state terrorism in other countries. The article compared South Sudan as a  state terrorism in the 21st century with countries considered to be state terrorisms under communist leaders before and in the middle of 19th -20th centuries.  Before I go further, I want to summarize or elaborate the background of one author’s work/researches that my article tries to analyze.  About the author, Jonathan Barker lives in Toronto where he works as writer and researcher. He taught political science at the University of Toronto for many years. He has also taught at the University of Dar el Salaam and the University of Arizona. He has done researches on local politics in Senegal, Tanzania, India, and Uganda, including Sudan and Southern Sudan Civil War.  His researches are based on state terrorism, police state, national security state, and arsenal state, and groups and their use. Now, let me look into how the state terrorism works according to author’s views.  In his book titled, The No-Nonsense Guide to Global Terrorism, Barker explained, state terrorism has a long history and provided tone of definitions on terrorism namely: groups, organizations, faith based or religious groups, and political parties in the government.

However, this paper will only compare state terrorism used by governments using certain political ideologies. The article focuses exclusively on his analyses in regards to state terrorism, police state/national security state, and transnational state terrorism. Transnational state means government from another country used groups to destabilize another state through border. How about Uganda role in South Sudan? This is not how the author put though since South Sudan invited UPDF and other fighters to fight his own citizens for personal ego.

How does state terrorism work in South Sudan? Do states or governments that use it acknowledge their atrocities against citizens?  Let me elaborate how state terrorism works in reference to its use by other nations; I do this so ordinary people understand South Sudan’s system and its relations to it. Governments that employ the dark arts of murder and sabotage often via proxy organizations will never acknowledge that they are using terrorism tactics against their own citizens. It is important to bear in mind that state terrorism does not start with South Sudan. Rather, its historical doctrines practiced by certain regimes go back to the 1700s-1900s prior to the current practice. According to Barker’s analysis, state of terrorism has a long history around the globe with supports from world powers in many angles. For instance, in the 1970s, several countries adopted a model of governments to eliminate any reformist visionary, especially in the Latin American nations. This reminds us of how Salva Kiir’s Government instituted state terrorism since the singing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 &2013-present.  Some may not agree with this analysis for their own reasons. There are individuals who are well blinded and well ignorant in the world, but that is their choices. Let us see how perfecting state of terrorism works globally.

Let me begin with perfecting state of terrorism from other countries to understand South Sudan’s model state terrorism. Barker explained, “The most notorious cases of terrorism by governments against their own citizens are [were] of Nazi Germany under Hitler and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. [Similarly]… recent research places Mao’s China regime, especially during the cultural revolution, in the same category [with Nazi and Soviet Union] notorious regimes”. In the same way, the people of South Sudan could have learnt what those countries’ leaders did to their own citizens in the past as it has happened to them since December 2013 to present. The leaders of those countries adopted models that eliminated certain groups among their respective citizens. They did so to achieve their objective of domination politically and economically to reshape the society. That is, governments used state terrorism to terrify the citizens in some ways.  How did they do it? For governments to succeed in the models of state terrorism techniques against their respective citizens, those governments had used national security intelligent services and other security apparatus forces as tools to make it work effectively. Believe it or not, ordinary people might not acknowledge the existent of this crime in their respective societies as it has happened and continue to be the legal lethal practice in South Sudan in a bright day light.

As such, I want to bring into the context about the state of national security/state of police in terms of politics as it is now in South Sudan.  Barker explained, “The military rulers focused all the powers of state against….social reformism. Their key instruments were police, national security, and military forces, which together with semi-autonomous rightwing death squads, used terror against the populations at large and groups they regarded as politically suspect”. The military rulers manipulated the country’s system, including parliaments to create laws that give more or unlimited powers to the military and police forces (national security services and their supportive gangs) to contain others with different views.  I believe this is exactly what the military rulers in South Sudan have done and have continued to do unless we, the citizens realize the threats. Let me explain how a party and state of terrorism works inclusively.  

For instance, when the so called Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) ruling Party under Salva Kiir and his blood machine/chain commands adopted the so called communist (terrorist) ideology a few years ago; the model that the groups instituted in the last 8-9 years was executed in 2013.  The machine groups/commands recruited elements across the ten states since 2005 or so to create a police state in the name of the SPLM Party prior the reign of terror in 2013. The elements of police forces, national security services, SPLA’s military intelligent and private armies were trained in the borders between Uganda-South Sudan and ready to reshape the society by using terror. When the clock stuck, finally, the machinery governments had ordered them to implement or to execute the “reign of terror” by Salva Kiir and Wani Igga on December 15-19, 2013 and have continued to carry it on in the State of Republic of South Sudan up to now. This is how the perfecting state terrorism in South Sudan started. Indeed, South Sudan has adopted the model from notorious murders’ and massacres’ by other government against their own citizens in the past. In fact, this tells us that state terrorism cannot work without organizing certain groups against others in the same country.

In the past under Nazi, Stalin, and Moa regimes, special police pursued groups deemed unreliable or unwanted with unprecedented efficiency and ruthlessness. Those regimes made political conformity a central ideological tenet to be accomplished by any means necessary, including terror. They targeted particular categories of their citizens for physical elimination and made terrorism a core method for enforcing control over the minds and actions of their subjects.  Those regimes terrorized their citizens for many years. They were successful for many years in keeping citizens frightened and off-balance, and eliminating individuals and groups that might have organized an opposition [for change or reform] opinions either in party leaderships or at all government levels at large.  To illustrate, state terrorism appears to have more chance of successful outcomes than group terrorism does. How? State terrorism against country’s own population also seems to have better chance of success because it makes people fearful, passive, eliminating active opponents, ethnic cleansing, and genocide have achieved by terrorist regimes. Creating positive legitimacy by means of terrorism has been much more elusive, however. Under Nazi, once local study gives a striking portrait of how Nazi terror worked in the past.  Let’s see how.

In the town of Thalburg [like town of Juba], the Nazi Party seized local power in a series of steps over a period of about six months after Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. Under Nazi control, the police, with the support of locally organized gangs of Brownshirts, used unpredictable arrests, house searches and intimidation to spread fear and uncertainty among the populations. Once the local Nazi Party gained control of the local government, its leadership could remove all opposition party members from government jobs and roles, especially those with different views in the system. Nazi Party loyalists took control of every sports club and civic associations in the town, not all at one but one at a time.  In the same way, when the SPLM Party led government of South Sudan after CPA 2005, Salva Kiir and inner circles have started to develop a model of government in South Sudan before it attained its independence from Khartoum. In early 2013, all business, other political and the ruling parties, church, and musicians’ leaders declared their allegiances to the president by submitting their letters on behalf of their various communities across the country. Now the machinery government felt confident of seizing full control of the nation from resources, lands, military, newspaper departments, and politics both in the South Sudan and in foreign countries.

Now, let me elaborate these developments in terms of implementing terrorism by state against its citizens as it has it South Sudan. First, implementing such brutality by regime doesn’t happen overnight. It takes enormous steps and strategies to institute it.  It is a fact that South Sudan has adopted military rules, and the SPLM Party has rooted its political doctrines from Russia, Cuba, and China plus other regional governments whose leaders have instituted state police in their respective nations.  This is just to remind the readers to look into how the SPLM and SPLA came into being, and whether they are one entity or not. Also, I wanted to remind the readers about what caused Rwanda Genocide; its process and implementation in relations to the Genocide in South Sudan.  The genocidal state terrorism in Rwanda in 1994 was aimed to fulfill a simple political program:  to kill as many of the Tutsi minority as it could and to reconfigure the country according to mythical ideas of an ancient and pure Hutu society. This is to give example to other ethnic groups in Rwanda who might wish to challenge this ideology in the future.  As such, one important instrument was to be a youth militia, the so called Interahmwe which already existed and began to attack Tutsis when the clock clicks. Another scheme in Rwanda was to form a “civilian defense” force: separate from government armies.

On April 6, 1994, the group around the president under Colonel Bagosora and his presidential guards who had planned the extermination decided to act and to kill government and opposition leaders who were not part of the plan, including Hutu opposition deemed to preserve national interests. They carried out the genocide like Gelweng and Dutkubanydit Militia forces in Juba who were under General Marial Chnoung. Gelweng and Dutkubanydit militias’ forces were recruited from one tribe of President Salva Kiir with their General Marial from the same area. This is very simple state terrorism example, my people. You don’t need to be a political scientist to understand it, period! Those Gelweng and Dutkubanydit assassinate individuals from their regions if the individuals are seen to have different views from them. Indeed, state terrorism happens in a nation only when there are committed politicians with military backgrounds to spearhead the agenda like what happened in Rwanda. In South Sudan, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, Michael Makuei Lueth, Paul Malong Awan, Mabotu Mamur Mate, James Hoth Mai, James Wani Igga, the ten states’ military governors, and Salva Kiir are the one with military backgrounds who planned and recruited the militias. Other politicians are Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Suzanne Jumbo, and recruiters from political machinery like Riek Gai Kok. Actually individual politicians like Dr. Riek have not planned in the killing of civilians in Juba. They did not involve in planning rather than their personal political egos. They were only invited to the machinery government at the wrong time when the clock stuck to execute the mission to kill.

These groups have used the state terrorism the same method it used in Rwanda by mobilizing gang group to standby for the genocide to take place. Actually, some of the groups in Juba are there to defend the genocidal regime politically in the eyes of the international community (geopolitics). Others are there to make the regime looks as being represented by all tribes. Some of them like Riek Gai, James Wani, Barnaba Marial and others are there to defuse the international, regional, and national condemnations to the regime by airing false histories on television and claim this is a “legitimate government”. There are more than those groups within the machinery government of Salva Kiir as there were in other regimes.

SPLM Party under Salva Kiir recruited and organized various gangs. The SPLM Party that used to be vital or a magnet that attracted citizens as the only historical political parties in the history has turned to be terrorist entity. How did it turn to be a terrorist entity?  Let me illustrate how the regime in the town of Juba planned the state terrorism in the name of the party. Politically, few elites in South Sudan have created a political machinery/chain to assassinate and to eliminate those who have visions to build a just and a prosperous country. To do so, the elites in Juba have had controlled banks, churches, armies, police forces, national security, organizations, sports or clubs, business associations, and established foreign allies in the region to help them execute the model before it was too late.  SPLM Chairman and the President of South Sudan, Salva has created different groups within his ruling party to run the machine. To prove it, the current Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk still holds Jonglei State’s SPLM Party as its chairman.  Juuk doubles the two positions in the party: one as a member of the Political Bureau and as Jonglei State Chairman. He still appoints and dismisses party members at the state level. Last month Juuk went to Jonglei State and appointed the current Caretaker Governor, John Kong Nyuon to be his deputy.  He reshuffled the state party members and dismissed others deemed to be non-loyalist to the machinery central command respectively.

Similarly, the current Lt. General Chief of Staffs of the SPLA Armies and the Former Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal Sate, Paul Malong Awan also still the SPLM Chairman at the state level. He also appoints and dismisses members of the party at the state level as well. A good example is the appointment he did this month at the state level when he removed some party leaders and replaced them with machine member who are considered to protect the central commands’ interests.  These examples prove that Salva has made South Sudan a police state. He created a political machine/ chains or commands comprised of national security services( NSS), military intelligent (MI), police, and eventually private armies/presidential guards known as Gelweng, Dutkubanydit, and state governors (elder brothers of Kiir (A.K.A)big bourgeoisies to keep the political machine running.  Employments across South Sudan are controlled by the machine groups both at state and at national levels respectively. Before ordering Juba Genocide on Nuer, Salva started to clean up the SPLM Party members across the ten states and at the national levels, including armed forces, police, NSS, promoted pure blood machines with some few propagandists.  They have instituted and implemented a system of imprisonments and bribery plus job rewarding to desperate criminals. Ambassadorial posts are awarded to the blood machines only. Similarly, hundreds of military high rankings in the armed and police forces were retired and replacement with bunch of militias promoted to make sure the machine is continuing its doctrines and ideology of police state or state terrorism for a long time.

By extension, regimes like these succeeded in their plans to dominate others and excelled themselves with nations’ resources, and hence became powerful for decades or half a century. In short, any regime that wanted to create a police state must use some sorts of terrorism to frighten others.  Nazi Party led government for instance, there was no point at which organized opponents could gather their strength and say now we must resist. Instead they were isolated and left not only disorganized but also fearful. Potential organizers were neutral, sent to concentration camps or driven into exile. Sadly, the Nazi took control of all the newspaper and shaped the new coverage to their liking. They turned the schools to the teaching of national socialist doctrines, including anti-Semitism. That is, ceremony, ritual, and media outlets kept up a drumbeat of support for Hitler, the local Nazis and Nazis doctrine.  According to Barker’ researches, after several months the system of terror became routinized and the open use of brutal violence was no longer necessary. On the larger canvas ugly and open violence did not cease; terrorism, war, and exterminism marked the evolution of the Third Reich.  To understand this, let me elaborate how SPLM Part led government has begun under Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

During interim period, Salva Kiir and his machine commands instructed the law makes when developing South Sudan National Transitional Constitution (SSNTC). That is, the machine commands made it a priority to have its members from all levels: states and national parliament in the name of the SPLM Party.  What happened during the interim period and in the late 2011? South Sudan National Transitional Constitution was adopted in the following entity. It gives Salva Kiir the rights to remove elected officials and replaces them with close friends from his inner circles. It is important to notice that Kiir’s policy has two dimensions. First, the head of the blood machinery government has the rights to remove elected officials (governors) and appoint diplomats without vetting consultations from parliament and his cabinet members only the circles. Second, the same policy allows governors to remove elected mayors (commissioners) and replace them with their blood machine individuals. Third, the same policies allow commissioners to dismiss their local officials as well. All these policies have been implemented directly or indirectly in the SSNTC by Salva and his corrupt groups to succeed.  The machine borrowed a model of money laundering to briber people from communists’ countries. Money laundering has become legal practice started from the President to the local officials.  Those who are rewarded with employments from all levels have to be vetted through by the blood machine commands to make sure they will serve the interests of the central commands.  The machinery government controls the system with money from all angles in the country. After they assessed their strengths, they had to test if state terrorism real works in South Sudan by all means necessary. I wanted to remind the readers that state terrorism/police stat is a process. There is no short cut to execute it as you it was in Nazi and others. Let’s see below.

After the SPLM led government under felt confident that it controlled and seized all powers in the party, military/military intelligent, police, national security, foreign relations, churches universities in the country, and resources,  the head of the machinery government instructed all media not to air officials within the government despite the fact that those individuals are party members.  Between the years of 2012-2013, NSS personnel had prevented newspapers and South Sudan TV to cover the activities of the Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar who was also the Deputy SPLM Chairman at the time. All the newspapers were instructed to cover the doctrine of SPLM of Salva Kiir only either in the churches, funeral, ritual like marriage, and so forth.  In July 2013, South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, fired the Vice President, Riek Machar, and his entire cabinet officials in an attempt to amass a complete power to himself and the blood machine planners. This action went unquestioned by parliament and the judiciary systems. To make the matter worse, Kiir went to press conference and announced the dissolution of all the SPLM Party leaders (SPLM Political Bureau, National Liberation Council) structures except his chair. He did this in order to bring in his inner circle elites, who have the same doctrines but who can’t protest against their blood machine boss of what so ever. To implement the plan, Salva Kiir brought in Kuol Manyang Juuk to be Defense Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth as Information and Broadcasting Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin as a Minster of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, James Wani Igga as Vice President, Dr. Anne Itto to be SPLM Secretary General, expelled/retired all SPLA generals deemed not be supportive of the model, state terrorism implementations. Now the state of terrorism model commands is against the reformists within the same SPLM Party: left versus right wing ideologies, communist versus democracy, and bourgeoisie versus egalitarians.

To fulfill this plan, the regime considered those with reforming views to be the main threats and created a fake coup in order to silence those political elites. Many journalist and others were forced to leave the country to save their own dear lives during processes of state terrorism prior to the Juba Genocide (A.K.A. reign of terror). Some journalists were murdered by the regime without investigations like Isaiah Abraham.  Then on December 15, 2013, the regime ordered the arrest of the politicians within the SPLM Party who tried to voice their concerns publicly and eventually ordered the summary eliminations (killings) of one ethnic group, the Nuer People in Juba. Indeed, the genocide in Juba did not take place without involving transnational state terrorism. Salva Kiir and Wani Igga signed a deal with external state terrorist groups.

They used oil money to deploy Ugandan People Defense Forces (UPDF), M23 of Congo alongside UPDF, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM of Dar fur, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of North Sudan Rebels of Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain (A.K.A SPLM-N), and Rwanda Forces respectively to support the Gelweng and Dutkubanydit milias plus NSS. Their mission was to harm, kill, and intimate as many Nuer people in the capital with no distinctions. To illustrate transnational state terrorism (A.K.A. arsenals of repression), those armed groups are fighting alongside with Gelweng to fulfil the simple mission of Salva Kiir he borrowed from Communist Leader of Nazi Germany, Hitler. Hitler put it most concisely: “Cruelty impresses. Cruelty and raw force to kill them all at one is a tool. The simple man or person in the street is impressed only by brute force and ruthlessness. Terror is the most effective political means.” It is a political means that poisons the normal politics of debate, negotiation, and confrontation.  This is the same simplest mission the regime has legalized in South Sudan. Some people can understand the legality of state terrorism but many don’t for one reason or another.

Before I conclude my analysis, state terrorism always lurks at the back of the shelf of power tools available to those who command the machinery of governments. The agencies and weapons that pursue criminals and wage wars are easily adapted to state—terrorist use. Whether coping with internal opposition or projecting power abroad, holders of state power have frequently chosen terrorism as one of their instruments of actions against group of citizens like what happened in Juba in 2013. For those South Sudanese citizens still in dilemma wherever one maybe, your lives’ and your relatives’ lives, including future generations are in a great danger. You have seen individuals who have gone missing under the thugs’ regime in Juba and across other states days and nights so far. The regime does not differentiate its target when killings. South Sudan has adopted a model of government called the “national security state as the SSNTC legalizes it plus recent National Security Bill. Many still don’t understand that South Sudan has become a state terrorism/police state (the national security state). I wonder how other citizens still mention and cite articles in the SSNTC. The recent South Sudan National Security Bill is a supplementary to the so called “reign of terror” in South Sudan.  This bill is a justification for the regime to make the state terrorism “open” for all the military, police, and national security groups to massacre people like Nazi Regime did under Hitler. For those who still in the middle, you have one choice; either to be continued slaughtering like sheep/goats or join the resistant movement to rescue the country from crocks/thugs. Regimes in South Sudan are always being removed by force everywhere.

Let me remind all of us again about the reign of terrors that did not go unanswered in the following countries. Resistant movement aims to free all citizens confined under the SPLM Led Government of Salva and their allies from other parties. Our resistance movement under the leadership of Cde Dr. Riek Machar Teny is committed to freeing all citizens in hand of the brutal regime.  Elements of the regime in Juba implemented an illegal system in the name of 2010 election to continue sitting on the majority of the South Sudanese citizens. Again this war has now become a war between the progressive or reformist and those who want to loot, corrupt, kill as long as their immediate family members are safe economically, educationally, politically, and socially.  They wanted to keep the blood machinery government the same as long as they have their medical treatments outside of South Sudan and their families reside across east African countries.  Actually SPLM Party has no system of entity by nature as dictator lingers. Indeed, it has copied its doctrines from the former Soviet Union, China, and Fascism of Italy, National Resistance Movement of Uganda, and other mixed ideologies. The regime has adopted the system of corruption from those countries to keep the machinery alive. Unless we all join the resistance movement/freedom fighters sit down and restructure the country after removing the virus, there is no future under the regime my friends. Thanks to Cde Khamis Abdel-Latif Kachuol for joining the people’s movement. It is never too late to rise above when it is time for national issue.

In conclusion, I invite the readers to look into the following state terrorism events, their actions and how they ended. State terror during China’s Cultural Revolution had killed millions. Starting in 1966 under Chinese Communist Party, it activated local groups, especially young students to organize into Red Guards and attacked capitalists/reformists individuals. It transformed the state institutions from schools and universities to the Chinese Communist Party that the group around Mao sought to weaken or change. Some other state terrorism doctrines had originated in what so called “Reign of Terror” in France in 1793-94 that killed thousands of thousands of citizens. In Argentina, the campaign of mothers to find out what happened to their sons and daughters, among the 13,000-15,000 people who disappeared under the military government that ruled from 1976-1983 had continued to use terrorism tactics for three decades. Similarly, it is same as the killing of over 20,000 sons, daughters, elders, women, and men of innocent Nuer in South Sudan under Salva Kiir Mayardiit in 2013. Under his policy, Salva Kiir transformed schools and universities to the SPLM Party doctrines beginning from the years of 2012-2014; he removed universities deans or heads of the university in Juba with decree and replaced them with elements of the machine commands. This was done to neutralize students’ world views and to make them believe in the SPLM doctrines and its only dear leader, Kiirdit like Kim Jong UN of North Korea.  South Sudan has the support to license to terrorize its own citizens from other powerful nations.  The Soviet Union did support governments that engaged in state of terrorism including those of Muammar al-Qaddafai of Libya, Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe just to mention a few. Other communist governments, including Cuba, Cambodia, North Vietnam, Eastern Europe, and China made use of terrorism in consolidating and retaining political control. They played a part like that in choosing purges, assassinations, and imprisonments over negotiations and accommodation as Stalinism did. Look how Kiirsm under SPLM Part has been doing in South Sudan in terms of imprisonments, assassinations, negotiations, and rewarding employments as tools to control citizens. This is done through legal corruption by the machinery governments; it starts from the president.

In short, implementation of state terrorism/police and national security state in South Sudan succeeded because of the machinery government with the help from various individuals through tactics and planning from some individuals of 63 tribes that make up South Sudan. Nuer people were initially killed to terrify other tribes by the machinery government and to make those dominated the machinery government to have a backup from their immediate communities in terms of fake coup. Simply put, the machinery government uses and recruits from all tribes and various militia groups to fight with the reformists and those who reacted and resisted the continuation of the reign of terror committed in Juba by regime.

The author is a former SPLA Soldier (a veteran), former chairperson of SPLM Chapter who led the defection from the genocidal SPLM Juba into SPLM-IO and formed the SPLM-In Opposition Chapter of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 2014. He is now a senior SPLM-IO Member in, Canada. He is reachable at: [email protected].

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