By: J. Nguen
March 7, 2016 (SSNA) — Many experts agreed that the civil war in South Sudan on December 2013, which killed fifty thousand (UN’s report), displaced 2.3 million persons to neighboring countries and forced 108, 000 to seek refuge (internally displaced) at various UNMISS’s camps across the country could have been averted if too many warning signs weren’t ignored. Say lack of foresight and proactive actions led to senseless loss of innocent lives.
After two years of merciless civil unrest, the world’s newest nation now mid-wife fragile peace. However, chances for this fragile peace to holds are slimes if there is no change in strategy. As South Sudanese struggles, lavished by senseless deaths and sufferings often encouraged by narcissistic tribal politics, the world watches on in disbelief and inactions to rescue the young nation.
Given what happened on 15 December 2013, I refused to be silence. I chose to disclose hints suggesting that the same mistakes which allowed December 2013 crisis to occur unabated could be in the making.
This piece is meant to sound an alarm with the hope peace’ guarantors would devise contingent plans to ward off what I think is an imminent time bomb.
Without sugarcoating what could happen, evidence suggests the government of South Sudan in part planned to initiate another major crisis when Dr. Machar arrived in Juba. For example, information coming out of Juba indicates a renew execution of civilians over unfinished business on the quest of absolute power is possible and a ticking time bomb.
Those of us, who deeply understand South Sudan’s political landscapes including the narcissistic self tribal importance and other social underpins are not surprised by this turn of event. However, what we cannot afford is to be silence in the face of this ill-intended prevailing reality. Keeping silence in my opinion will be irresponsible. Being politically correct over the matter at hand would be regrettable when the new country is once again blazed.
In a nutshell, I must start with crucial evidences suggesting the government of South Sudan is not interested in the peace deal but war as the only alternative. Since August 2015, when the government signed the fragile peace agreement with rebels, there are overwhelming evidences showing that the government has not fully implemented any agreed articles.
This issue is attributable to the fact that there are prominent figures within and outside the government who made it their sole duty to abort the accord comes rain or sunshine. This behavior is self-evidence considering the language used by government officials include the president included. Especially when he blatantly declared that he would hunt down the rebels in the Equatoria and Western Bhar El Gazal like rats. You agreed that that was not the language of peace. In another spin, the comment revealed that the diabolical onslaught of 15 December 2015 did not in any way quench certain prominent political bigots’ thirst for more bloodbaths in South Sudan.
Evidences suggesting the government South Sudan government not respecting the agreement
First, elements within the government and the JCE convinced President Salva Kiir to terminate the accord by unilaterally declaring new 28 States outside the pact, which he (Kiir) signed in August 2015.
In order to remedy this obstacle, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)’s foreign ministers met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia early this year, to devise corrective measures to prevent the peace accord to fail. Subsequently the bloc came up with a new roadmap which includes the suspension of 28 states created by President Kiir outside the agreement. However, even though the warring parties endorsed the new roadmap from the IGAD’s foreign ministers, the government didn’t honor the communiqué but continued to operationalize 28 states despite the suspension. You may call this a nasty spat in the IGAD-plus face.
Second, the government has refused to demilitarize Juba as demanded by the agreement for rebel leader Dr. Riek to return to the capital. The government forces were supposed to evacuate all States’ capitals of armed forces to 25 KM outside the cities including Juba. But this critical step in the agreement did not occur.
It must be noted that the government paid lip service and deception card by portraying fake images suggesting evacuation of Juba of government’s troops. However, on the ground, evidence showed evacuation this was nothing but a staged deception. Juba is still beefed up with tens of thousands of government’s forces. In my view, this is pointing to something more cynical in the part of the government.
Third, when Kiir’s government realized that the SPLM –IO was not ready to going back to war over the creation of 28 States, the government planned and attacked innocent civilians from Shilluk and Nuer tribes sheltering in the UNMISS camps in Malakal on February 17 through 18, 2016. The government’s intention was to provoke violent reaction from the SPLM –IO’s forces to ensure all out war.
Fourth, when the SPLM – IO’ delegation decided to return to Juba to show the movement’s commitment to the accord, Kiir’ government views this as an outright capitulation. In return, the government refused to transport and accommodates IO’s delegation and forces. Not only that, President Kiir summoned Dr. Riek to report to Juba in a week after he (Riek) was decreed in as the nation’s First Vice President.
Because of the above points, peace implementation installed, IGAD –Plus and Troika had to intervened. They transported IO’ delegation, accommodate them and pledged to transport the SPLM-IO’ forces to Juba. As the SPLM-IO forces were preparing to come to Juba, the government blocked them to use land and sea. Further, the government refused the SPLM –IO’s troops to bring heavy weaponries along.
This could have been the last straw for peace, but remarkably SPLM/A -IO succumbed and agreed to come to Juba by air only and carrying light rifles. Yet again, the government failed prepare for IO’s forces transportation from airport to their cantonment areas upon landing. And more importantly, the government refused to provide food and safe drinking water to them.
Fifth, the government violated the cease fire and secession of hostility. Since agreement was the government did not withhold military offensives on the IO’s forces positions both in Western Bhar El Ghazal and Equatoria. If you may recall this is where President Salva Kiir declared that he will continue to hunt down IO’ forces like rats.
Therefore, it’s indisputable to deny that the government’s choice war but it’s the other party that consistently refusing to engage militarily. Because the IO refuses to engage militarily, the government of South of Sudan seem to have ushered another plan to ensure a major crisis when Dr. Riek arrived in Juba whether we like it or not.
The government‘s plan is simple but strategic. For example, the government used militias supporting in the likes of Lt. Gen. James Gai Yoach to set a stage for crisis.
On February 29, 2016, the Government televised what I called time bomb bait to set a stage for crisis. On the government’ televised commentary, Lt. Gen. James Gai Yoach painted Machar’s home coming not as a significant move to restore stability in South Sudan but as a ploy for Machar to kill the Nuer civilians who are alive and resides in Juba.
“LET ME TELL YOU, YOU THE NUER, RIEK MACHAR IS NOT COMING TO JUBA FOR PEACE BUT TO ENSURE THAT ALL THE NUER ARE KILL. MACHAR WAS NOT HAPPY TO SEE OTHER NUER CIVILIANS STILL ALIVE AND RESIDE IN THE CAPITAL JUBA AFTER 15 DECEMBER 2013 MASSACRE,” Yoach say in part.
The only reason the government would allow such incitement of violence comment be televise on the nation’ television point to the fact that the government planned to start another crisis when Riek arrived. Therefore it would be naïve and irresponsible to take this comment slightly especially when Riek and his troops of 1, 370 were supposed to arrives in Juba the next day, March 1st, 2016.
Mr. Yoach’s comment is an informative Intel and does not require genius conspiracy theorist to debunk it considering the timing and medium in which it was aired.
Following the “comment”, strong condemnations emerged from the IO’s operatives. Mabior Garang De Mabior called it a “hate speech” and he disdained the government for allowing such a hateful speech be televised on government’s owned television.
On the other hand, Dr. Riek’s press Secretary James Gatdet Dak simply dismissed the comment as nonsensical. He said this “comment does not make any sense.” However, Mr. Dak stated that Yoach’s comment may represent government’s position.
“The comment may represent the official view of the government and the national army, the statements should have been investigated by President Kiir’s government and it was unfortunate the comments were uttered over the national television by a senior army officer.”
I agreed with Mr. Dak that Mr.Yoach’s comment is an official government’s position and not nonsensical. It’s a strategic and well positioned to set a stage for a major crisis in national’s capital upon Dr. Riek arrival. For example, Mr. Yoach’s comment is the government’s masked decoy to attack the IO’s forces in Juba with possibly to assassinate Machar and then blame the victim for wanting to “kill the Nuer civilians”. This plan looks unsophisticated and could easily be dismisses but legit. In my view, it was well devised and would easily be executed.
Besides, this revelation should not be misconstrued as a refusal or scare tactic for Dr. Riek not to return to Juba as per the agreement. I fully supported Dr. Riek and team’s return to the capital. However, I only cautioned the SPLM/A _IO, IGAD –plus, Friends of South Sudan and Troika to be extra vigilant because events happening in Juba are not adding up and could have debilitating effects.
J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected].