By James Tot Mathiang
December 2, 2016 (SSNA) — Since December 15, 2013, South Sudanese have been fighting a ruthless and tribal war that has no mediators. From the time when the war began, the United Nation has estimated that over 50,000 people were killed, 2 million people fled the country and over 1 million people were internally displaced. While the people are dying in thousands, many South Sudanese, and the international experts are still asking questions who is responsible for the ongoing genocide in South Sudan, and why the world is silent.
But this article will try to highlight, and point out who is really behind the death of thousands of people in South Sudan. As the weight of evidences is concerned, there are three driving forces operating behind the shadow of death in South Sudan. These driving forces are: Jieng Council of Elders, thr chief of staff Paul Malong Awan and President Barack Hussein Obama’s administration. Nonetheless, this article will categorically examine these driving forces in a comprehensible and unbiased details.
Driving Force 1: The Jieng Council of Elders
The most important driving force that is believed to be responsible for inhumane and callous atrocities in South Sudan is a group called “Jieng Council of Elder”. The Jieng Council of Elders consists of senior government officials and tribal chiefs. The Jieng Council of Elders is alleged to copy the name from the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya. The group is emerging to be the most powerful entity in South Sudan politics. The Jieng Council of Elders ascended to be the voice and decision making body within the government. At the beginning, many people thought Salva Kiir was just a weak president as he always hesitateto take definitive action. As the time goes by, the majority of the citizens began to realize that Salva Kiir as a president of South Sudan is living in a confined and defenseless environment.
According to a leaked report, prior to South Sudan independence, the Jieng Council of Elders has given Salva Kiir two choices—-follow the instructions of the Jieng Council of Elders or risk being replaced with someone stronger. The report indicated the Jieng Council of Elders is the one governing the country behind the scene. Look up or down the line of command in the government of South Sudan, and it is easy to see this character flaw afflict many people in the country. Whatever need to be done in the country must come through Jieng Council of Elders. Salva Kiir as a president would only be asked to sign any agreed paper. The three most setup decisions which are blamed for the most atrocities in the country are made by the Jieng/Dinka Council of Elders. (1): the dismantlement of South Sudan Cabinet in 2013, (2): the formation of Mathiang-Anyoor in 2012, (3): the creation of 28 states in 2015.
In 2012, the Jieng Council of Elders created a cold-hearted militia group called “Mathiang-Anyoor”. The word “Anyoor” in the Dinka language mean disaster, or something that destroys every living thing. The Jieng Council of Elders started their recruitment campaign in the middle of 2012. This group of government officials and tribal chiefs, prearranged all the village chiefs to recruit young men from various villages across Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap State. During the recruitment, the parents of recruits were persuaded that Salva Kiir need both under-employed and unemployed young men to be employed in the capital city of South Sudan. As a result of the said call, thousands of young men were transported to Juba, but end up in Salva Kiir’s camp called “Lure”. Between the end of 2012 and mid-2013, the young men went through intensive military training at Lure military camp which is less than 25km from Juba. Once the young men finished the military training, the Jieng Council of Elders asked Salva Kiir to release a budget for the new recruits because the general chief of staff distanced himself from the private militia trained illegitimately. Then Salva Kiir mandated his legal advisor Telar Ring Deng to go to the minister of finances to release $600 million US Dollars for Mathiang Anyoor. And the minister of finances released $600 million dollars as it was ordered by the president. The next step the Jieng Council of Elders and Salva Kiir took was to deploy Mathiang-Anyoor to the capital. After the deployment of Mathiang Anyoor, the Jieng Council of Elders requested President Salva Kiir to completely dismantle the whole cabinet, including the position of the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
On July 23rd, 2013, the president of the Republic of South Sudan unexpectedly dissolved his cabinet and relieved 90% of the cabinet, including his deputy. On the other hand, the president with the advice of Jieng Council of Elders, authorized the well-trained Mathiang-Anyoor to be the one patrolling the streets in Juba. With the new army in the streets of the capital city, the citizens began to panic, knowing that the worst was about to come. Above and beyond, the tension level between the president and his former cabinet members had become high which resulted in the placement of some senior officials under home-arrest.
On December 14, 2013 conference, Salva Kiir used a hated speech, which most people believe was an indication of war. On Sunday, December 15, 2013, the presidential guards were ordered by their top commanders to disarm all the Nuer soldiers in the presidential guard headquarters, but the disarmament led to deadly military confrontation. On December 16, 2013, Salva Kiir came out and declared, the Curfew in the state capital, but assured the citizens that the government was in full control of the situation. On December 16-19, Mathiang-Anyoor, the private army of the president began a door to door hunt for the Nuer tribe in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan. Because the capital city was hosting over 1 million people, the presidential guards (Mathiang-Anyoor) came up with two unique tactics to find their main targets, the Nuer people.
These two tactics were the language spoken and the tribal marks which are unique to each tribe. Within that short period, over 20,000 Nuer were summarily killed by Mathiang-Anyoor, in the capital city of South Sudan. Another deadly decision made by the Jieng Council of Elders was the annexation of 45% of the South Sudan land to Dinka. On October 2, 2015, the Jieng Council of Elders and Salva Kiir announced the creation of 28 states, which gives the Dinka tribe 45% of the land. 14 out of 28 states were given to Dinka, which led to deadly army confrontations and more rebellions in the country. Before the creation of 28 states, Western Bahr el Ghazal and greater Equatoria were totally peaceful, but now the land disputes has led to more death and displacements.
Driving Force 2: Paul Malong Awan the current chief of staff of SPLA
Paul Malong Awan who considered himself to be the king and a representative of the Dinka tribe is blamed for the most atrocities in South Sudan. Malong is believed to be one of the masterminds of the civil war and December 15, 2013’s genocide. Initially Paul was regarded to be the figurehead of Mathiang-Anyoor. On December 15, 2013, clash, Malong was one of the four commanders leading Mathiang-Anyoor in a door to door massacred. Nonetheless, the door to door hunt gradually subsided after the news spread out that there was a genocide going on in Juba. At that time General Peter Gatdet Yaka, who happen to be a Nuer, rebelled against the government and the war broke out in Bor town the capital city of Jonglei State. Two days later, Susan Rice the National Security advisor to Obama, came out with a statement that the world would not condone rebellion. But most interestingly Susan Rice never says a word about the target killing in Juba, despite the disturbing images seen in the social media. Following Susan Rice’s condemnation of rebellion, three American Gunships were sent to Bor town for unknown mission, but were fired at by the rebels who were controlling the town. Several analysts believe that the helicopter gunships were sent off to locate the rebel leader who was on the run by the time.
As soon as the fighting spread to every corner in South Sudan, the Jieng Council of Elders asked Salva Kiir to replace the general chief of staff. Subsequently Salva Kiir removed his longtime chief of staff and General Paul Malong took over. In his very first address, Paul Malong promised that he would crush the rebellions within 30 days. A few days later, Paul went to Wau State and was overheard telling the crowd that, “if two hyenas break your cattle house, and one of them manage to escape, the first thing you must do is to deal with the one inside, before you go and hunt for the loss hyena”. Some hours after Paul Malong speech, a military training camp near Wau town was attacked and hundreds of unarmed Nuer were killed in cold blood. When local analysts revisited Paul Malong speech, they interpret the speech that, the hyena inside the cattle house are the Nuer who are still with the government, and the loss hyena is the rebels. Despite the fact that Malong was unable to crush the rebels, he still believes in military solutions. In the aftermath of July conflicts, the United Nation report detailed that Paul Malong and Salva Kiir were the one planned and executed the July fighting in Juba. Though this may be too little too late, the Obama government seemed to come to the sense that Paul Malong is the one prolonging the South Sudan war.
Driving Force 3: Barack Hussein Obama’s administration. Cessation of hostilities
In American foreign politics, we used to hear a phrase “American Interest”, which literally mean the interest of the United States as a country. Nevertheless, in the recent years, we came to the conclusion that some interest groups now play an unprecedented role in American politics. Based on personal opinions collected from various media outlets including Facebook, 80% of the South Sudanese blame the ongoing atrocities in the country on Susan Rice, John Kerry and Donald Booth. Both Susan Rice, and John Kerry are accused of having a personal interest in South Sudan. The majority of South Sudanese citizens has negative views on both Susan Rice and John Kerry.
They think that the Obama administration failed to stop the genocide in South Sudan because of the rational self-interest practiced by the American’s top officials and lobbyists. Ever since the war began, the South Sudan army has been killing and abusing both South Sudanese citizens and foreign aid workers, particularly American citizens. The attempt to investigate the crime committed by the South Sudanese army against Americans, did materialize because there is some personal interest involved. The trio (Kerry, Rice & Booth) is accused of putting their personal interest above the American interests. For instance, John Kerry’s daughter owns a big business in South Sudan, especially Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Upper Nile. Susan Rice on the other hand is accused of unknown interest in the country, but sources alleged that Susan Rice is a long term friend to some high ranking government officials in Juba. Moreover, Donald Booth, links to the lobbyists who were hired by the government of South Sudan to protect it from the UN sanctions. Hence, every effort made to stop the war in South Sudan is blocked by Susan Rice, John Kerry and Donald Booth. In particular, Susan Rice was accused of being behind the used of the world banned weapons.
In 2014, the Ugandan forces sponsored by the Obama’s administration used cluster bombs against civilians in Jonglei State, South Sudan. Although the use of Cluster Bomb was banned after World II, the United States government did not condemn the use of such a ban weapon by the Uganda army. After a comprehensive investigation of cluster bomb, the United Nation has found that cluster bomb was used during the fighting between rebels and South Sudan government. The report detailed that the cluster bomb was dropped by warplanes, but the rebels have no warplanes. The Ugandan gunships and Jet fightings which were bombing the rebel territories by the time, were held responsible. Rice has repeatedly called for cessation of hostilities, but analysts doubt the seriousness in such calls. Since the war began, South Sudan army has become infamous for its atrocities to humanity, but John Kerry, Susan Rice and Donald Booth are still pointing fingers in the wrong direction. On December 15, 2013, Salva Kiir accused his former deputy of plotted a coup, but the African Union reports dismissed the narrative of the coup.
The African Union reports concluded that the fighting broke out when the presidential guard commanders attempted to disarm the Nuer soldiers in their unit. On July 8, 2016, Salva Kiir once again accused his deputy of a coup attempt, but the United Nation reports found that Salva Kiir himself and Paul Malong were the one planned the attack on the opposition. Yet again, John Kerry, Susan Rice and Donald Booth are not convinced. The trio still blame everything on the rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar. In the recent months, John Kerry and Donald Booth have been mobilizing the East African countries and other nations to isolate the rebel leader. Nonetheless, such a campaign to exclude the rebel leader in the peace process, is another setback that is likely to prolong the war.
Thus, it is necessary to conclude that the Jieng Council of Elders, General Chief of staff Paul Malong Awan and the Obama Administrations are the one behind the death of thousands of civilians. The United States campaign to exclude the rebel leader in the peace effort, will implicate and hinder the effort to achieve the lasting peace. Furthermore, the attempt to crush the rebellion militarily is a wistful thinking that would possibly lead to more death and suffering. As the ongoing fighting increases the suffering of the general population, it is very crucial to find the proper solutions to the South Sudan problem.
The Jieng Council of Elders must step aside in order to give peace a chance. Lastly, Salva Kiir needs to take the wrap off his neck, because as a president all the blame is laid on him. Kiir must act as president or leave the power for the Jieng Council of Elders.
The author can be reached at [email protected].