Open Letter To Nyuong Nuer: Don’t Wait and See
By Dak Buoth Riek Gaaq,
December 17, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— I greet you right from the bottom upward; starting with an ordinary man and women like me, going all the way to our Chiefs and County Commissioner General Tap Puot, and his army surrogates.
I salute our slain prophets in their deep slumber namely, Dhuor Dong, Bol Riel, Nyuon Yar, Keatut, not forgetting our iconic chief Kuol Gai Geel also known as Marow, just to mentioned but a few. ‘‘How long shall they kill our prophets while we sit aside and wait?’’ What a vacuum left by these great sons
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I presumed the sudden demised of the senior chief Kuol Gai Geel in 2014 was prompted by heart attack, and not illness as early claimed. I believe his untimely passing-on was a result of the invasion of Panyijiar land in 2014. If he was alive today, he could tell these agonies in styles; and in way that challenge us to forge ahead unwaveringly. We will miss this celebrated comedian and historians. We the Ny’aal People and the entire Panyijiar fraternity will always remember him for his funny story telling.
I also extend my warm greetings to the impoverished internally displaced persons in Juba, Bentiu and across South Sudan. I’m concern and aware that you have been held hostage; and that you regularly face constant threats and intimidations for half a decade now. This is an act of state sponsored terrorism. I strongly condemned it. You’re now forced to become refugees in the country that we fought and aspire for.
You have been forced to shelter on scorch sun, and now you’re frying under the plastic tents which melt on your heads. You have been exposed to high humidity leaving you vulnerable to diseases. Your valuable properties were looted by SPLM-militias and its leaders, and hence you become filthy hungry and solely rely on Aids. Most of your houses were set blazed, and some are occupied by the assailants, sympathizers, and their children. South Sudan needs redistributive and retributive justice for peace and reconciliation to take root.
In spite of the numerous insults and brutalities done against you by President Salva Kiir and his people, you refused to wither and die. On this note, I would like to be quoted here, that you epitomizes utmost zeal and resilience. It is often said, the strength and resilience of a man is not measured by how long he spend on the ground when he fall but by how quick he rise up.
Meanwhile you lick your wounds, and grind your teeth; you must exuded confidence that these culprits will not go scot-free without ever experiencing the wrath of law. Soon justice will be taken to their doorsteps. How could it be that these fugitives continue winning and dancing on our graves while we die with our empty bellies facing the sky? These rapists won’t slash us again while we laugh sycophantically. Their treacherous activities must cease, and they will be met with retributive measures it deserves. Nigerian Proverb says ‘‘He who pelts another with pebbles ask for stone in return’’
Nyuong people and i are one and the same. I love you like myself for it is my home turf. For many years I spent in exile, I have travelled far and wide; I found there is no better place than Panyijiar area. The serene weather and the beautiful Nyuong people and their neighbors are awesome.We are blessed with good neighbors, and we should coexist and live harmoniously as long as the sun continue rising from the east. Our sand and soil are very fertile and not futile. Our fresh water is safe for dinking and other use. I must say Panyijiar County is a golden land blessed with everything that one would wish to possess in this planet Earth. We will strive to protect and keep it safe and peaceful so that our children can inherit it as whole.
I believe we are security agents of Panyijiar county serving voluntarily for our people who need justice and peace. That is why I addressed you altogether. We have always been one another’s keeper since time immemorial. Whether i live in the east or west, I’m always attached to my place of birth where my placentas was buried, the motherland. When you mourn I weep; when you emerged victorious I celebrate; and when you crack jokes I laugh out my heart.
NAATH MASSACRE COMMEMORATION; 15th December, 2013
Folks, this is just but an introduction, I was just setting a stage. To begin with, on this day, the 15th of December 2016, the world is commemorating the 4th Anniversary of the Naath Massacre conducted in Juba on 15- 16-17 December, 2013. For three consecutive days and nights, between dates 15-16 and 17th, over 20,000 Nuer innocent civilians were murdered in cold blood on the bases of their ethnicity. This mass killing was an act of cowardice, and sheer terrorism. On that fateful night, several members of the Nyuong community loss their lives in, among the decreases, was my childhood Friend in the person of Duop Danhier Galuak. I would like to dedicate this day to him. In the morning, I stood up and took a moment of silence in his remembrance.
To me, Duop alias Dekaak or Zachariah was not just a member of Nyuong perse, in other words, we don’t just share Nyuong identity with him. We have had an intimate relationship. We studied from class two to standard four. He was a great friend of mine. We learned playing football together in Nyal at our teenage years before I flew into exile. Around 2002/3 when I was in Kakuma refugee camp, I used to tell peers that the only person whose image I would hardly forget in Nyal was Duop Danhier among my former colleagues in Nyal; that no matter how old he becomes, I would recognized his face when I saw him.
Apart from playing football and studying together, Duop taught me bicycle riding around 1999 in Nyal. Bicycle riding then became my first modern life-skill which earned me a living at that time. I was bicycle rider in Ganyliel town in February 2001. At that time, I could train and carry people and goods from one place to another within Ganyliel environs. I used to get profits out of bicycle riding business. Duop Danhier may you rest in peace my Friend.
I challenge the entire Nuer community around the globe to adopt meaningful theme on the occasion of the commemoration of the Nuer Massacre in Juba. In my view the 15th December, 2013, should be ‘the Naath heroes day’’ it should be the day to remember the great military leaders who stood up against the Naath massacre. It should be the day inspire youth on what it mean to be a patriots of action. The 15th December, 2013 should not just be an occasion for weeping and desperation. It should be day to celebrate major sacrifices that have been exhibited by a few in our midst, the likes of General Peter Gatdet, General Koang Chuol, Dr. Adwok Nyaba and General Gathoth Gatkuoth and Rebecca Garang de Mabior and General Martin Kenye, just to mentioned but a few.
GENOCIDE IS LOOMING IN SOUTH SUDAN
It is crystal clear that this perennial Attackers (SPLA) has rejected our peace offer for fear of unknown. Our country is at crossroad. It is between fear and death. Right now Salva Kiir’s militias are undergoing serious training and rehearsal to carry out genocide in none Dinka areas. This proves beyond reasonable that it is tribal regime as opposed to a government of south Sudan. They are going to attack any community which is not submissive or lenient to their oppressive ideals.
On 1st December 2016, I held meeting with UN commission on human rights in South Sudan at Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi. In that meeting, the three member’s commission led by Yasmin Sooka confirmed to us that ethnic cleansing is under way in South Sudan, which will involve massacres, starvation, gang rape and destruction of villages. She said that the regime in juba will soon carry out genocide. ‘‘The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda. Everywhere we went across this country, we heard villagers saying they are ready to shed blood to get their land back, and many told us its reached a point of no return’’
A day prior to the aforesaid meetings, the United Nations special Advisor on the prevention of genocide Mr. Adama Dieng told the UN security council that there is risks of outright ethnic war, and the potential for genocide; that he has credible information indicating the SPLM regime is currently targeting innocent civilians in Equatoria states, and it is preparing for large scale attacks in the comings weeks.
One can ignore such details at his own perils. Only a fool can pay deaf ears to the above mentioned facts. Any rational community in South Sudan must now begin to ask what it would do in wake of this imminent danger in view to avert it by any means available at their disposal.
In light of the above, it is not a secret that ninety nine percent of Panyijiar people are natural oppositionist to the genocidal regime in juba. Since it took reign of power in 2005, the tatters government of Salva Kiir did not have any present in our county. It did not even attempt to dig a borehole. Instead, it is planning to make the lives of our people wreck. To add insult on injury, he keeping attacking us, first in Panyijiar headquarters, Nyal Town, and in the Port of Taiyar killing hundreds of our people some of whom I mentioned therein.
I think President Salva Kiir and his cohorts are natural haters of Panyiiar people, that is why he came with extermination mission in Nyal on 21st may 2015. However, when they attacked Nyal, you managed to capture 5 tanks (T-55) and 2 armored personnel carriers (APC) and 9 big tracks, 2 toyota pick-up mounted with deadly weapons. The world knows very well Nyal and Panyijiar are neither a military nor commercial towns. Why would someone launched an attack with such deadly weapons in a villages inhabited by civilians only. Their desire was driven by mere lust for looting and stealing from innocent people. Have you ever ask yourselves, if you can captured the aforementioned tanks and trucks, and even managed to apprehended some of these assailants in an ambush that they had planned themselves, what if you waylaid or attacked them with such war equipment and weaponry, will they dare escape as they did? They ought to accept and work for peace for us to guarantee our future altogether.
PANYIJIAR COMMEMORATIVE PLAGUE
I hereby call on the Panyijiar County Commissioner General Tap Puot to put together all tanks and trucks captured in the battle of Nyal and burn them in public forum. The site where you burn them shall be call a shrine and or museum. Later, we will build a commemorative plaque bearing the names of all our fallen soldiers who perished in the battle of Nyal 2015. We want the next generation to know our heroes by names.
I hope you will consider this noble idea. I am trying to acknowledge your historical achievements; and to give befitting send-off to our slain brothers who sacrificed their live defending our mothers and Father in 2015/2015. Burning those tanks and truck is not a crime. On the other hand, it could simply mean we are only interested in peace, and that we do not want to reuse them against other people. On the other hands, we can show it as evidence when time to seek reparation and justices comes later. I’m afraid that they might take back those weapons so as to erase these tangible historical evidences with a view to deny us justice and history.
MARRIAGE OF HANGMEN AND CONMEN
Peta Morgan told us nothing to smile about. We are set aback. The recent political marriage between President Salva and Taban Deng Gai is the worse for Panyijiar people and South Sudanese as all. You know very well the latter was sworn foe of Panyijiar people in Unity state; and as the genocide loom in South Sudan, we must expect the replica of Nyal war of 2015. It was Governor Taban Deng who presided over the marginalization of our county when he was still in charge of unity state affairs. His tricks against our people were really weird. At that time, he keeps on dismissing and appointing new county commissioners nearly on quarterly bases. You will agree, one cannot appoint three commissioners in one year unless he has ill intention to divide and rule the people.
When I met Governor Taban Deng in April 2013 at serena hotel, Nairobi. Soon after we reached where he was sitting, i told him my name. He then asked me where I hail from in Unity state. I replied that I’m from Panyijiar County. On hearing that, he asked again which part of Panyijiar? I realized he was becoming political, and thus I didn’t want to answer him directly. Instead I asked him, Governor when was Panyijiar divided? and it into how many parts? I told him when I left a decade and half ago, Panyijiar used to be one indomitable place. On hearing my statements, he nodded and smiles; I guessed he realized I had detected his intention.
Perhaps, he just wanted to know whether I’m from Door or Nyoung? But I do not subscribe to those things. The Thiangs, and the Ny’aal people where I hail from are found in all parts of Panyijiar county. Partly, I became skeptical of questions because, in 2010 election, I heard he lost miserably in Panyijiar County against his arch rival Angelina Teny in governorship contest. The moment he focused on me alone amidst many Unity students, I thought something sinister might happened, as such, I never wanted to be straight forward in answering his questions.
Now that the duo has reunited against reform and peace, Nyuong Nuer must prepare to deter the worse that await us in this century. We must keep naked eye on any move they have taken day and night with a view to deterred any disaster. The coming together of Kiir and Taban is of no national value. What national good can we expect from hang men and con men. At first they will want to entice and lure some of you with goodies and positions. The moment you hesitate to go to bed with them, they will immediately come for our kidneys and souls en mass. I wish to remind you of an old adage which says, ‘‘if you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not to fear the results of hundred battles’’
DON’T WAIT AND SEE
Next year I will be approaching close to two decades in exile. I did not wish to spend this long outside the home country. It is very unfortunate that people continue fleeing for their fear lives. South Sudan under President Salva Kiir has now become a refugee state with over 1 million south Sudanese displaced from their homes and over 70,000 people dead.
I left our homes in Panyijiar in early 2001. I was in standard four then. I did not left home like proverbial ‘‘lost son’’ I was just forced into exile after the fall of Nyal town in 2001.
In 2001, Nyal town could not have been captured and burned down if leaders did not sleep on the job. If it were other situations, the top military officers the likes of Kuong Danhier and General Simon Maguek Gai could be grilled and held accountable for their inaction.
I could remember very vividly, prior to the fall of Nyal in January 2001, we received security information via NGOS that the militia group led by General Gadet Yak and elements of the SPLA were coming for war and loot the town. That they would come through the route of Lake States to attack Nyal in less than week time. This information was probably coming from Yirol or Rumbek town. At that time, there was NGO called Apex which had bases both in Rumbek and in Nyal. So when they learned that Nyal was going to be attacked, they notiified their office in Nyal. As soon as the same information reached Nyal, the staff of Apex immediately relayed it to the relevant authorities, and also disseminated to the people.
Following the same info, all NGOS in Nyal were ordered to evacuate the town with two days. The security apparatus were still doing nothing in that regard. A week later, we heard the same militia groups had attacked Mayandit headquarters. Still there was no tangible preparation at all. People were saying let wait and see.
It was when we learned they were coming tomorrow, that is now the time when soldiers were seen conducting military parade purporting to act in self-defense, to me that was hogwash, incompetence and laxity of highest order.
The capture of Mayandit headquarters was walkover, and after that they began their march to Nyal. When they crossed into the Panyijiar border, the county commissioner Eng. Bol Riel Gatluak tried to assemble some soldiers to defend the town with insufficient rifles and ammunitions.
On arrival at Gakal territory, they soon met energized and well equipped assailants on their way coming then fierce fighting ensued. Within the first encounter, the commissioner was killed. Thereafter soldiers got scattered because they were not fit, equipped and prepared physically and psychologically. Worse of all, there was little reinforcement. The white army which came from Ganyliel arrived hours after the attacker captured Nyal already. We met them on the way when we were fleeing.
We left Nyal town at about 9:00am. We were trekking toward Pathiel heading to Ganyliel town. Shortly after we abandoned Katith market, we saw the convoy of General Kuong Danhier and General Simon Maguek Gai coming with speed like jet. Surprisingly, the vehicles they were traveling in were mounted with numerous RPGS and all kind of riffles. They passed us and when ahead.
We were very many on the road. Some of us were asking including women, where are these cowards running to? We wish they gave us their guns. We didn’t expect them to abandon us on the road. We thought they could trek or drive slowly behind us as we move. However, they proceeded ahead leaving children, aged and pregnant women behind. About half an hour later, we just saw the dark smoke flying on the sky. That was when we confirmed the captured and fall of Nyal. They were looting and setting houses on fire. The convoy of General Simon Maguek and General Kuong reached Ganyliel three day before we reached. The assailants did not spend a night. The moment they are through with what they came for, that is looting and burning down the town, they left.
As they were coming, I heard General Gatdet and his group said, they must go to Nairobi, Nyal was then referred to as Nairobi of Bentiu because of Many Ngos that were housed there. Many people from Bentiu were unhappy that Nyal was the only place which remained after other places where burned. When Nyal was captured everybody was at ease.
Early this year after General Gatdet was brutally purged by Dr. Riek Machar in Ethiopa, he invoked the memories of Nyal saying, even Nyuong Nuer. The good thing I like of his speech was that he insulted Kuong and Magwek, that when he arrived in Nyal certain people were running like kids, he was referring to the duo.
History do repeat itself especially if certain thing have not been rectify or done well. I have learned vast majority suffered from what is called ‘recency’, meaning therefore ‘‘people tend to place more attention on recent information and ignore or forget more distant information’’
Nyuong Nuer are in the same state similar to the yesteryears. As we conversed now many people across Upper Nile and Bentiu especially those who areas were captured and burned Salva Kiir forces. They are unhappy because it is challenge to them that you managed to defeated and humiliated Salva Kiir mercenaries in the battle of Nyal. They wish it was them who defeated Kiir. Now they wish that Panyijiar should be run over. Every time the victory of Panyijiar is mentioned certain people would become fidgeted, it gives them ulcers but we cannot treat such people. They good thing they are just wishful thinking.
I would like to conclude this conversation with word of advice to each an every one of us, that don’t wait and see. What I mean is that do not ignore even an iota of information insofar the security situation is concern. We are a peaceful people surrounded by jealous people. The one who wish you bad things and the one who did bad thing to you are the same because they both have ill intention against you. Assume that those of us in diaspora are on the bench, and shall soon be substituted in the playing field.
The writer can be reached for comments via firstname.lastname@example.org