March 19, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — When you make a comparison studies on the social relations and social fabrics among the people of Upper Nile State before the eruption of the ongoing civil strife and do compare it to today reality on the ground. You will really feel bitter and self critics about how can people who had been living together for nearly 75 years as brothers and sisters turned to become worse enemies in period less than two months and killed themselves mercilessly . Hence it’s with big regret that what happened in Upper Nile State and Malakal town in particular during the cycles of hostilities between government allied militias and White army is unexpected event or incidents and it’s an obligation for any true citizen of Upper Nile State to condemn it to the strongest term. The Shilluk, Dinka, Maban, Kuma and the Nuer community had been living in Malakal for long time and intermarriage and share many social events as brothers and sisters. The Shilluk community was assumed to catalyst or middle ground to mitigate the escalation of war to Upper Nile State when the fighting erupted in Juba and majority characterized it as tribal motivated fight between the Dinka and the Nuer tribes.
When the news filtered in Malakal about the Ethnic cleansing of the Nuer in Juba by President Kiir private Dinka militias known as Dut Ku Bany (rescue the boss) residents felt great betrayal by the leadership and received with unified reaction by the Shilluk and the Nuer citizens in Malakal which create much fear for the Dinka minorities in the town .The Shilluk community also had better experiences about the tribal motivated killing when SPLA forces resorted to the mass killing of innocent Shilluk men, mass raped of women, forced displacement of citizens and disruption of livelihood of the civilians due to insecurity as a result of the rebellion led former militia leader Johnson Olony in 2010. The Shilluk community viewed at the Dinka domination as threat to their existence and stability in the Shilluk kingdom especially in the Shilluk land occupied by the Dinka communities and supported by the Dinka led regime in Upper Nile State and Juba.
Though Shilluk influential leaders did not come out openly to condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer in Juba, their informal statements clearly indicated that, they were sympathizers to the innocent Nuer civilians massacred by the Dinka dominated regime in Juba. The good example was the Shilluk militias who were sent from Wadakona to reinforce the government troop in Malakal and decided to attacked Bienythiang in Akoka county because they see no genuine reasons to fight the Nuer in Malakal while leaving their common enemy the Dinka in their ancestors land in Bienythiang which serve as the headquarter of Akoka County.
The testimonies from the Shilluk individuals indicated that, some the Nuer fled to Shilluk kingdom when the white army captured Malakal town on the 14/01/2014 and were well protected by the Shilluk militia from the Dinka soldiers who were trying to kill them in Shilluk kingdom.
I also learnt that , the Nuer soldiers who were in Akoka crossed the river to the Shilluk land for their safety and also many Shilluk citizens remain in Malakal town and we free from any harm from white army . Some Shilluk civilians are believe to living in greater Nasir together with their Nuer friends and relatives when situation in Malakal became hostile
The Nuer, Dinka , Maban, Kuma and the Shilluk were living together in the churches and hospitals sharing their hardship as brothers and sisters and no one harm them when white army was still in the inside the town from 14-19/01/2014.
The testimonies from people who had been in Malakal during the fighting indicated that, the Shilluk were not involved in the fighting between 24/12/2013-14/01/2014 when hostility started in Malakal.
The testimonies also revealed that , any Shilluk who died between 24/12/2013-14/1/2014 should lost his/her life through cross fire not an intent killing and the Shilluk were considered as neutral group by the White Army and the government forces . I believe people lost their properties and it was to be common situation to all citizens in Malakal irrespective of their tribal affiliation but simply a confussion era.
The above-mentioned few indicators clearly shown that, the Shilluk and the Nuer have no serious animosity in Upper Nile State before the intervention of Johnson Olony Militia to Malakal conflict. The current hatred was intentionally created by the Salva Kiir regime to involve the Shilluk community in the ongoing power struggle or ethnic tribal motivated killing between the Dinka and the Nuer using Shilluk Militia commander Johnson Olony.
The Shilluk were formally dragged to this conflict by Johnson Olony who operates under the direct command of Paul Malong Awan the leader of tribal militias in South Sudan. The First Shilluk militia involvement was on the 20/01/2014 when Johnson Olony militia joint Dinka militia under Johnson Gony Beliew to recapture Malakal town from the White Army. The recapturing of Malakal town by joint forces of Johnson Olony and Johnson Gony was received with mixed reaction by the citizens in Malakal and it create tension that resulted into massive ethnic target killing, raping and burning of the houses against the Nuer. Though Johnson Olony forces did not represent the position of the Shilluk community was viewed by the Nuer that Shilluk made an allied with Dinka against the Nuer and this was the start of the hatred between the two communities in Malakal.
The mass killing of the Nuer by the Shilluk and the Dinka militias between 20/01/2014- 18/02/2014 has putted the life of the Nuer who remain inside the town at very high risk and many Nuer civilians loss their lives , woman were raped and citizens were denied access to water and food in the town . The Shilluk and the Dinka IDPS in the UNMISS camp start make coalition to fight against the Nuer IDPS inside UNMISS Protection facilities.
These deplorable situations provoke the white army from greater Nasir to return to Malakal for the third time for rescue mission of their people who are exposed to potential risk from both the Shilluk and the Dinka communities in Malakal. The White army rescue mission attacked Malakal town on the 18/02/2014 and fought the heaviest battle against the Shilluk and the Dinka militias who were in control of the Malakal town and this resulted into massive loss of lives from the both sides of the conflict.
The White Army successfully managed to capture Malakal town within 45 minutes and Johnson Olony and his deputy were all wounded and many Shilluk militia lost their lives in that battle. I also believe that some civilians from both sides lost their love one and the Shilluk community officially became party to the conflict as from that date.
Many educated people from the Shilluk may put the blame on Johnson Olony for dragging the community into that deadly and brutal conflict for his own personal interest not Shilluk interest. The ordinary Shilluk citizens believe that they were targeted by the Nuer and they are not party to the conflict and the middle class citizens from the Shilluk may know that there is no animosity between the Shilluk and the Nuer and put the blame on the Nuer for targeting their citizens.
The Nuer politicians believe that, the Shilluk have known problem with the Nuer and government used Johnson Olony to implicate the Shilluk in the War as tactics. The ordinary Nuer believe that Shilluk involved themselves in the war between the Dinka and the Nuer for no good reasons and the middle class believe that Shilluk started the war against the Nuer who are not their common enemy .
The beneficial in this confussion between the Nuer and the Shilluk is the Salva Kiir tribal regime for using one stone to killed two birds.
The regime killed the Shilluk civilians, raped women, burnt the villages, displaced the population and intimidated the political leaders in the Shilluk Kingdom in 2010 using other tribes including the Nuer soldiers and they again killed the Shilluk and the Nuer in 2014 without justifiable reasons.
It is my personal believe that, the people of Upper Nile State need to learn from the past and the ongoing confussion. The next generation should not allow the same confussion to repeat itself when peace and stability returned to the State. I believe many people from Upper Nile know from the bottom of their heart that they are implicated into this hardship and suffering by poor leadership in Juba and the citizens allow themselves to use against each other for Salva Kiir personal gain.
I believe this crisis will one day come to an end but people of Upper Nile State should learnt a good lessons from this and should work to build strong foundation for better South Sudan and Upper Nile State. I know every family lost their love one and valuable assets in the crisis.
The 75% of the population is displaced by the conflicts and the populations live in fear and trauma of war but we need to keep hope alive for the better South Sudan and the future of this country will start and emerge from Upper Nile. It is my personal believe that, we will never return the dead to live, we need to accept our diversity as our strength and though hard to believe we still need to forgive each other but not to forget this terrible time, hardship and suffering our people exposed to by the tribal regime under Salva Kiir Mayardit.
I believe that, this is the time to unite our effort and energy together and change this regime at all cost for the better tomorrow and this mission need all people of South Sudan at all walk of life to join hands for brighter future .
This is high time for the citizens of this country to look higher and abandons this tribal regime in order to rescue this country from total disintegration and collapsed and finally believe time has come to say No, No and No to tribalism, Nepotism, Corruption, Lawlessness, bad governance, rule of guns and genocidal regime of Salva Kiir.
The writer is concern South Sudanese Activist and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org