Sunday, 10 April 2011
By Ariik-Dut Atekdit
These days, rumors have filled ears of anyone of us in the Sudan about internal rebellions against the SPLM led leadership in South Sudan. Most of the Southerners who have grown the spirit of patriotism and nationalism in the failed olden Islamic Sudan of no human rights and freedom were only hoping to celebrate for independence of South Sudan in July 9 2011 and then access their true feelings of becoming first class and valued citizens in the African South Sudan as a free nation.
However, a Dinka who is a Christian by faith, General George Athor Deng, an ex- rebel who fought against Khartoum for two decades under the umbrella of SPLM objectives has opted to take arms with claims of last year elections being rigged when he independently contested for gubernatorial post in the largest state of Jonglei. Another Dinka who is a muslim by faith and had lived a militia life for so many years under Khartoum leadership and a recent GoSS President’s Advisor, Mr. Abdel Baghi Ayii has also decided to rebelled against the South to pursue the rights of his fellow Muslim brothers in the region and to claim for them thirty per cent power sharing in the coming cabinet of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) by force.
Gatlwak Gai who hails from Unity state with ethnicity of Nuer community, the second largest ethnic group in the South, felt sympathy in Angelina Teny and rebelled against the government to fight for the claimed rigging votes of Angelina Teny, the true wife of GoSS deputy leader. With the election unhappiness we have David Yauyau of Murlei who also rebelled against Jonglei for not allowing him to win in his geographical constituency for the GoSS parliamentarian post.
The list is growing very fast and long and therefore we have a Nuer militiaman, Mr. Bapiny Monituel with a tribal objective rebellion, because he believed that he can not stay in the Dinka dominated SPLA and its Government. That was why he decided to join Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of Khartoum based Islamic Government during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) period. Again, the SPLA Divisional deputy commander for Northern Bahr Ghazal, Mr. Peter Gatdet from Nuer community has now joined his colleagues because he is cultured to militia kind of military since long time ago and therefore he can not manage to stay in an organized army in the South.
Though Peter Gatdet had been a field faithful commander to Paulino Matip who had been a prime and powerful militia leader who waged a badly war that had killed most of his tribesmen, the Nuer more than any other ethnic group in the south. Gatdet has decided to leave his leader Mr. Paulino Matip because Matip has a big position in an organized army of SPLA. Matip being a deputy commander in chief and aged with an illness had no option to betray the independence of South Sudan. Another militia commander so far known only by the name Olony comes from Shilluk ethnic group. Shilluk is the only strong existing kingdom in the Sudan situated along the While Nile River. His rebellion is claiming the land of Shilluk Kingdom occupied by other communities rather than Shilluk, especially the neighbouring Dinka.
Romuors have said that rebels wanted to form a coalition under one leadership and General George Athor wants to take over the position just because he is greed of leadership. I don’t think that George Athor is the right leader for the rebels’ coalition in the bush. First of all, the reasons of rebellions of all the rebelled generals have no similarities from commander to commander. And I really wonder whether Mr. George Athor would assume to rule their movement in the bush with solitary possible and united objectives. In the recent days Athor was trying to scare the public and glorify himself by saying that he would unite all the rebels under one rebels’ coalition and named it to be: SOUTHERN SUDAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT and that its military wing is: Southern Sudan Army.
My doubt is whether Abdel Baghi Ayii shall join this coalition because the majority in the new movement will be Christians and animists and automatically the rights of few Muslims will be buried by the majority, his thirty percent may not come up or be accepted by the committed Christian Mr. George whose ceasefire agreement before referendum with the SPLA was witnessed, negotiated and blessed by two Bishops Daniel Deng Bull and Rudolf Deng Majak both the bishops of Episcopal Church and Roman catholic respectively.
Athor will not qualify to bring another militia Commander Mr. Olony from Shilluk ethnic group to his leadership because Olony’s war claims Shilluk land which is occupied by Dinka. To make things worse the home County of Athor which is currently called Pigi is claimed by Shilluk saying that even the word Pigi exists only in Shilluk language rather than Dinka. This reason can not let Olony join the leadership, should he join then his aims of rebellion shall have been lost.
Well, may be the rebels against the last year elections results may come under one leadership but how can they make it? Gatlwak who stays in Unity state can not cross to Jonglei state to join his leader George Athor nor will David Yauyau make it possible to come to George in the northern counties of Jonglei. These are leaders of similar grievances but in different and far geographical areas. If Athor captures a town for instance neither Gatlwak nor Yauyau can celebrate with Athor because the distance and the presence of SPLA army in the middle can’t allow them.
Bapiny Monituel can not agree another Dinka to rule him in the bush because he truly rebelled against Dinka leadership so it will be useless to accept the formation of Southern Sudan Democratic Movement under Mr. Dinka George Athor or Mr. Abdel Baghi Ayii for instance.
Even Peter Gatdet will not like to switch from SPLA Dinka led and Dinka dominated army to join another Dinka leadership of Athor. I don’t think that Nuer militia commanders will forgive Athor for killing over 200 innocent civilians in Fangak County which is mostly inhabited by Nuer tribesmen. Therefore, Athor can’t just celebrate the huge presence of militias in the bush. Some may turn against him and all of them can not succeed their Khartoum supported war against the separated country of South Sudan which is full of resources.
So to my fellow southerners who voted overwhelming for separation, the country you voted for will soon celebrate its independence as scheduled by the CPA with all your expectations. You should not be scared by power greed and bribed generals. They will wrestle in the bush for a while and shall soon be back. They want only to benefit from our money which was taken by Khartoum mandukuros (Arabs).
The war that Southerners fought was for liberation, but the current atrocities are just a joking of human life, innocent kids, women and elderly people. Jalaba wants to return us to tribal clashes and square one. However, we as southerners shall remain united forever no more breaking. However, George Athor is not qualified to lead the rebels’ coalition in the bush it will terribly fall out of his hands and our votes for independence shall win.
By Ariik-Dut Atekdit
The heavy and dangerous attack on Malakal town was terrible for students of Upper Nile University. The clashes of Malakal which broke out on 12 March at four o’clock in the morning were fought heavily at students’ hostel in the town. That morning beds were on us. Everybody screened himself under bed. We were troubled, frustrated and infuriated by the appalling attack. Infact everybody was convinced that he was going to die after a short while. The big guns could shake our roofs. Of course nobody could think of escaping that awful attack at that particular instance. Death was around everyone. Far and wide was dangerous and all of us were at risk of losing our precious and God given souls.
The militia entered into the town of fragile security; and masked themselves just around the poor fence of our hostel compound in a huge deep trench of waterway. The first gunshots found students trying to open their books to revise for examinations which were due in the morning. But Malakal was fired everywhere. We swiftly jumped under our beds and remained there for about five solid hours in a gigantic stillness waiting for nothing but death. Thank God SPLA soldiers and policemen rescued us, no students was harmed. They fought the attackers seriously, killing some and dislodged all of them out of the trench. The worst was that we were in the center of the battle between the two warring forces. However, God heard our prayers in silence and took care of our souls. The crossfire that entered our rooms anyhow from all directions made us terrified and we couldn’t count life beyond one second’s time. It was terrible!! Death was expected to come after each breath.
Right after the chase of the attackers, life in Malakal was bad and everybody was calling home for rescue. The university was closed until further notice and the security at apprehensive. Living in Malakal was of no use, so we called Her Excellency Miss Nyandeng Malek Deliec, the Governor of Warrap state to provide us a plane back home. We wanted a quick and urgent possible assistance from our dear governor to move us out of danger in Malakal. But did she respond to us positively? She told us that we called her at wrong time. And we were at kind of confusion. We were not the attackers nor were we accountable for closing down the university. We could not wait for right time to call our Governor Nyandeng, for we just want her to save our lives because our families could not make it. Did we know the right time to call our governor??
There were no planes and roads to take us to Warrap state or Juba the capital of South Sudan. We were almost to drop tears when we heard and saw quick positive responses from the rest of the states of South Sudan when transporting their students to their respective home states. The rest of the governors were so much concerned and sensitive to set their children out of danger.
Our governor refused to address our request. The only shameful thing she did was talking over Miraya FM about students’ situation in Malakal and she could not bring in the how to solve it. This was a simple propaganda none of the governors did though they were sure of helping their students. We were at shock whether our governor was working as a radio reporter for the UNMIS funded radio of Miraya FM or did she resign from the position of Governorship we elected her to. Otherwise there was no reason for her to report when she was not ready to lend a hand over our situation. Governors from the rest of the states of South Sudan sent flights or cash to transport their students for safety while our governor Madam Nyandeng Malek was still reporting for nothing in the studio. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. It is believed that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
It is a big shame for a governor like Nyandeng Malek not to attend the assistance of fifty university students. If they had died, Nyandeng could be blame equally with the militia who attacked the town. The fifty students are of full-size development in Warrap state if they are taken care. Madam Nyandeng should learn that students are not enemies to her government. I just don’t know what she is doing with the money in the state? Since she seized power we had seen no new building in Kwajok or any other town in the state.
Warrap students who survived at Malakal clashes shall have no peace with the governor at all. We thought that Nyandeng would be the best governor in the South because she is a woman; and women are well-known of caring for people’s lives but the case is the opposite with our governor.
We never know that the governor of our own votes would be the very one to turn down our request for help when we really need it. The simple question is: who does the governor think will transport us if she has rejected our request? Nyandeng acts like she did not participate in war of freedom during the last two decades. That’s why she doesn’t know the important of life and at the same time she never knows that students are the only hope for South Sudan to change its shape to the better one. We know very well that Governor Nyandeng is our leader (Beny) with all the respect due to her. However, she should know that it is not what you are called, but what you are answer to that one proves to be true “Beny”. There will be no need to continue honoring “Beny” who turns out her eyes when we are in danger.
Most of the students are the heroes of the peace she is enjoying now in the state. They fought for the freedom of the entire citizens of South Sudan during the past 21 years and they are now again studying to get a better knowledge to develop the region but Nyandeng doesn’t care them. What a shame! Anyway she can not delete our patriotism in our deep hearts. We shall make sure that leaders of this kind never come up again in the history of leadership in Warrap state. The only bad and common character found with our people in Warrap state is; they forget that they came to power to serve the citizens not themselves.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. We had no option so we called Warrap’s minister of education Mr. Madhel Malek. The reply was nothing but the same. Madhel said he would transfer our request to the Government of South Sudan. But why? The rest of the states have made it without bringing in GoSS. Surprisingly, our minister was inquiring us to give him the phone numbers of the GoSS minister of education or the one of the undersecretary. Mr. Madhel doesn’t have the phone number of his senior employers in Juba! Imagine! Warrap state is under a confused government with the perplexed assembly. How does the Minister think that we the students shall be the one to find for him the phone numbers of his colleagues at GoSS?
We remained in a hazardous and dreadful hostel smelling dead bodies for three days, eating nothing but soaked dry bread in dirty water and eat it for survival. No movements and no shops operating in the town and the puzzled legislative assembly can not come to our assistance. They too have forgotten that we elected them to parliament as our representatives.
But what do they do with state’s money? Whether being a member for executive or legislative organ in Warrap government they never work for the well-being of the entire citizens of the state. They use money for their own desires and self interests. They don’t even build themselves good offices or houses in Kwajok the state headquarters. We were mistaken to ask them for help. And from now on they should know that they are wrong persons mistakenly brought to power by blind citizens. Next time we shall think wisely and bring in he/she who will serve for the better being of our beautiful state and its entire citizens.
On those brownish dusty roads of Kwajok, they drive their luxurious cars in the morning sitting in nothing but under steel containers which they assume as offices. You will never believe me to tell you that the office of my governor is just a container and her ministers are under trees or rekuba (tukuls). Alas! One doesn’t know what to say but the situation of Warrap state is never improved. I didn’t know that an elected governor would act like the previous ones.
Anyway the governor with her members of parliament and the council of ministers have right not to help us because their children are not studying in the South. They have sent their children to east African countries and beyond for better studies, living us here to trace education in hardships and sufferings. The money they steal for their children would make better schools in Warrap state if it were well used. They are training their children abroad to come and take the same positions when their fathers and mothers get retired or resigned.
It is shame on Warrap governor not to rescue fifty university students in badly disturbed situation in Malakal where they have nothing to eat and sleep after the closure of the university because of clashes in the town. We can not re-elect Nyandeng to any position if she doesn’t change her character of denial. In the end, we will remember not the attack of our enemies, but the silence of our government. All we wanted was a transport back to our home state of Warrap.