Wau area, Fertit land - Western Bahr el Ghazal (June 2016) *
In Wau during 2014, President Kiir said:
“We are not for war. We want peace and reconciliation to prevail among ourselves as one nation with one people,” he told the assembled crowd in Wau’s main square.
“I am the president of the Republic of South Sudan, I do not want my people to continue dying day and night,” he added. . .
“No one should kill Nuer people. If you really support me, do not kill them in my name. If you do that, you are killing me because you are all my people,” he said.
It has bewildered me, and consumed me for days, weeks now - why is Peace and process not prevailing - why any attempt at true implementation is so painfully hard to occur in a nation rocked by two civil wars within 15 years, hunger, economic collapse and international shame/isolation.
Once adored by nations near and far, a magnet for celebrities and on the tongue of people everywhere in admiration.
Now, an international pariah, thrown to the bottom of most UN and global indicators in development or advancement, yet nr. 1 in crime in Africa; chaos; poor health and death of birthing mothers/infants under 5 - no longer able to blame Khartoum or being a "baby" nation for these failures.
What could be the reason(s) this young nation refuses to feed its starving people, clothe them and guide the country to prosperity?
Only one answer reveals itself:
It thirsts for war...that is the revelation which came early Saturday morn, at breakfast as I learned that the Juba massacres of 13, 14 and 15 December 2013 were being repeated in the Wau area (Yambio next?)
The town of Wau is now under a state of emergency, people flee (link), declared by the SPLA (the Army) without the knowledge of the state government or its governor who spoke to the media yesterday
morning, and was replaced by Presidential decree by 8:30 that night. And now arrested, see
South Sudan security arrests ex-Wau governor after dismissal - link
As I write civilians are being murdered at their homes, by all reports, even the Red Cross is asking for mercy, see
Fighting in Wau, South Sudan: Red Cross calls for civilians to be spared - link
You, dear Reader, must be saying 'No, this cannot be so Abu Deng . . . how, why, President Kiir has said on TV, local and international he will not go back to war' - Yet Wau is real, see:
from David John's Facebook pageDavid John feeling disappointed.
I can't sleep because my family, friends n relatives r being targeted, houses burnt, harassed n killed by our own South Sudanese government these moments right in Wau town . . .
Check with JMEC - oh I forgot even the agreed upon ceasefire monitors are being prevented from seeing sites in the country, according to the JMEC Head President Mogae, see
Ceasefire monitors denied access in Juba, Yambio - link
And in Juba at the Jebel cantonment site, it is surrounded on all sides by the Army, roving patrols at night of army and national security personnel ready to strike, to massacre all perhaps: yet soldiers and civilians (many families onsite, small children even babies - last weekend the first child was born on theJuba Jebel cantonment site, supervised by Madame Angelina Machar Teny.
Now, given Wau events I fear all - Men, Women and newborns at the Jebel site - are prime targets for slaughter!!! Note the treatment of civilians in Wau:
A source in Wau town told Radio Tamazuj at around 11pm that an unknown number soldiers well armed with sticks, clubs and rifles marched to a Fertit area and went from house to house.
"At around 5 p.m. they started beating anyone who is not looking like Dinka at Nazareth area, Hai Kosti, Suk Jou Bazia Jedid, and so on there were gunshots and confusion who is fighting who... many civilians ran outside the town opposite direction of town center,” a source said.
(Wau, 24 June 2016, Radio Tamazuj, see link)
I am greatly distressed by the Wau tragedy as well as saddened at the developments or really lack of such, of no Transitional Parliament; No 'Non-Kiir' Supporters (FDs, IO, NA) returned to their pre-war Civil Service jobs; No cantonment sites in Eastern Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal; No 28 State committee advancement beyond its title - all agreed on by President Kiir, FVP Dr. Machar and VP Wani Igga in May tripartite meetings - yet the President refuses to sign off on the minutes of these agreements, to authorise ministers to activate key processes that begin implementation of these formerly huge barriers in the peace process.
And by no means am I alone in my sadness:
1. It is with a heavy heart that I address you today.
2. After the announcement by the Presidency that agreement had been reached on a number of issues, including the establishment of the Boundary Commission, reinstatement of civil servants, release of prisoners of war and detainees, cantonment sites, and the expanded Transitional National Legislative Assembly, I had hoped that there would be more progress. On the contrary, I regret to report that the progress I had expected has not materialized. If anything, the Parties are further apart.
3. There appears to be a stalemate that now threatens the implementation of the entire Agreement. From my consultations with the Parties over the past two days, there is no common understanding of the terms of reference of the proposed Commission on the number of States; as well as on the issue of cantonment sites.
(23 June 2016 - JMEC Chair Jestus Mogae - Opening Statement)
All are disappointed in this nation of ours - all, except those with bank accounts in Equity Bank and others...transferring the nation's wealth to all parts of the world.
It is very clear if you read this 38 section/13 page opening statement from the Joint Peace Monitoring body that Peace is not really on the agenda, just excuses, outright obstruction, manipulation and lies (New York Times op-Ed; Troika letter)...here are some of the failures pointed out by JMEC in its recent statement:
- No Transitional Parliament
- No NLA Speaker
- No progress in National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC)
- No progress on 28 States Boundaries Committee
- No cooperation with CTSAMM Monitoring and Verification Teams (impediments/intimidation)
- No progress in National Architecture and the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission
- No progress at Strategic Defence and Security Review Board (no quorum)
- No progress on Relief and Rehabilitation Commission
- No progress on Refugees Commission
- No progress on Peace Commission
- No progress on Special Reconstruction Fund Board
- No progress on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Commission;
- No Progress on Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS); and
- No progress on Compensation and Reparations Authority
The violence, murder, war - currently going on in Wau is proof that the answer to my question is Yes, civil war seems to be on the horizon, again!
What do we as People, as a community have to do to force a stop to war, to demand a continuation of the implementation process Mr. President?
Mr. President: Is this Jieng Council of Elders so powerful, so insidious that you have no other option but to dishonour your word; taint your legacy beyond repair - Someone help, read these heartfelt words, this plea to our Joshua, a man who can save South Sudan from burning like Wau so he may know Peace is wanted so much in this land stained by blood.
Wau burning - Again! (January 2016)
Is the problem, Warmonger Ministers, like the deeply abrasive and deceptive Michael Makuei; or General Paul Malong - architect of the December 2013 war - pushing for the extermination of all Nuer, all native Peoples of Equatoria, with foreign mercenary help?
Suffice to say all know the truth now (see JMEC statement, link) and who to blame if a new civil war starts again, if even I, Abu Deng am murdered now in Juba for speaking truth, a needed truth!
This is a message from a colleague on his family in Wau:
A 15 year old niece of my wife just sent messages about how precarious the situation is in Wau, with them locked in their house and fear of starvation to death, after two days of no eating.
This morning a Kenyan friend of mine who sent me an email reporting what his cousin working for an international NGO is Wau disclosed to him. He said his cousin told of how soldiers of one ethnic group are carrying out targeting killings of anybody who is not from their tribe. The guy also reported that they were about to be evacuated to Nairobi . . . We have relatives of the victims in that picture in AD's blog...
Another message from a high-ranking political figure:
At the Church service this morning at All Saints Cathedral, Juba; Bishop Moses Deng of the Episcopal Diocese of Wau gave a graphic account of the extent of pillage and ransacking; as well as the deliberate civilian devastation based on ethnicity in Wau. I also have just spoken to the sister-in-law of my elder brother who has now managed to take shelter with UNMISS at their Protection of Civilians facility in Wau who has confirmed the same. While screaming in horror, she could not imagine if the seams of our social fabric could be mended again. She is anxious about the safety of her relatives who have not reached the facility as yet. So, Maburuk to SPLM-IG that it is "mision cumplida" at last: POC in Juba, POC in Malakal, and now POC in Wau! As if the extreme destruction of lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure in Upper Nile and Equatoria wasn't sufficient enough to justify the reversal we have suffered as a nation, some genius somewhere thought it was wise to take these crises further to engulf Bahr el Ghazal.
The UN Secretary General has asked warring parties to stop fighting in Wau - link
“The Secretary-General calls on all fighting forces to immediately suspend the hostilities, provide access to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and cooperate with humanitarian partners to facilitate the delivery of assistance. He urges all parties to agree to dialogue to resolve their political disputes,” said a statement attributable to the office of Mr. Ban's spokesperson.
Finally, the end is not the end, the Information Minister of South Sudan Mr. Michael Makuei has told the world that the violence said by eyewitnesses and NGOs to be done soldiers - was actually committed by a new group in Wau led by Ali Tarmim Fartak, who is leading an Islamic Fundamentalist movement there. A lies says local Wau leaders.
According to the Info Minister, the group's fighters include some from Uganda's Lord Resistance Army, as well as members of Sudan's Janjaweed....really, this seems fantastical and over-the-top in the style of Mr. Makuei (a comical Ali understudy!)
So, is this an attempt to gain favour with the West: hey, look we killed some terrorists, AND a few civilians, children, raped some women too, but we took out some terrorists OR an ignorant and failed attempt to cover up war atrocities which the UN Security Council termed yesterday as possible war crimes, see Security Council Press Statement on Fighting in Wau, South Sudan, the link
The problem for Mr. Makuei and the current quasi-government (minus a transitional Legislature and judiciary - delayed so President Kiir can choose the Speaker, not the Legislature as its rules dictate, see link) IS this:
while the government said officially 43 are dead, maybe 50 in recent updates AND only 1000 were displaced -Yet, the UN Security Council says this:
The members of the Security Council expressed deep alarm at the fighting in Wau, South Sudan, which broke out on 24 June and has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 70,000 people, including 12,000 sheltering near the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Wau.
The members of the Security Council called on all armed actors immediately to cease hostilities and allow UNMISS and humanitarian access to civilians in need, including a school where 9,000 civilians are reportedly sheltering.Thousands are displaced...it is revealed!
Hundreds possibly dead..."We don’t yet know how many people were killed, but dead bodies are still lying in the streets." #MSF see link
Therefore this tragedy seems a window in the 'old' government ways, one uncaring for its people, seen by the hungry masses and homeless...time for change!!!
TIME FOR 'REAL' PEACE . . .
* Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/Krikujububu?