SUDAN WATCH: Lou Nuer say armed civilians, not militia, attacked Dinka Duk in Jonglei, South Sudan

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lou Nuer say armed civilians, not militia, attacked Dinka Duk in Jonglei, South Sudan

Report by Sudan Tribune, Saturday 26 September 2009:
Lou Nuer say no organized militia behind Jonglei’s attack
September 25, 2009 (JUBA) — The Lou Nuer Youth today denied that recent attack on Dinka Duk in Jonglei state had been carried out by organized militia saying armed civilians were behind it. They also accused the southern Sudan army of taking Dink’s side

Armed men from the Lou Nuer attacked the positions of southern Sudan army and police in the locality killing a significant number of regular troops in addition to the civilians. The attack has left over 160 people dead and more than 80 wounded according to the latest figure released by authorities in Juba on Friday.

Southern Sudan officials were alarmed by the escalation of violence in Jonglei. Following a visit to the affected area on Monday, the southern Sudan interior minister, Jonglei governor and UN coordinator for the semi-autonomous region agreed they attack had been directed to the government forces and institutions. They all also spoke about a structured and heavily armed militia.

In a strong statement released in Juba on Friday the Lou Nuer Youth Association (LNYA) which advocates the cause of the tribe, said the attack on Duk Padiet last Sunday had been carried by "ordinary civilians" in retaliation to previous attacks they suffered.

The tribal group condemned statements by southern Sudan officials who described the attackers as militia saying "the Greater Akobo is in full control of the SPLA forces and if there are militias in the area we believe their first attack would have been on the SPLA forces at Renk the way to Malakal."

They also said they had been preaching for southern Sudan unity and peaceful coexistence but warned they would now take the side of their tribe accusing the southern Sudan officials of favoring the Dinka ethnic group.

"This time we are going to write differently because the Jonglei State Government (JSG) and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) have taken side with the Dinka Bor, and we also have right to take side with our community in whatever cost. "

The Lou Nuer association also said opposed to a probable decision to disarm them first in a disarmament campaign that the government plans to implement in the restive state of Jonglei.

"The LNYA would like to make it clear to the JSG and the GoSS under the 1st Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardiit that if the Lou-Nuer is going to be disarmed first as we have heard then please expect a full resistance from our civilians."

The Lou Nuer had been attacked in the past by their neighbors in the past following after their disarmament in 2006. They accused Juba of retrieving their arms while Dinka and Murle tribes kept their weapons at hand.

The two latest attacks by Lou Nuer on Dinka ethnic group in Twic East and Duk Padiet pushed some southern Sudan officials to point blaming finger to their peace partner, National Congress Party and also speak about the emergence of organized militias supported by Khartoum.

On the other hand, there are people, particularly from Nuer ethnic group who say the causes of the surge of violence are local and can be explained by the control of land, water and pasturages as well as cattle. They also stress that the Lou Nuer attacks on Twic and Duk are retaliatory.

On Sunday’s attack on Duk County they say it was to revenge an attack on Lou Nuer around Poktap in January 2009 that had been carried out by armed men hailing from Holl and Nyarweng. They accuse the local authorities of mistreating them and speak about looting and killing of their people by the regular forces in the area.

To explain their attack on Twic East, another Dinka locality in Jonglei, where over 40 people were killed on August 28, they accuse the Twic of looting their cows after their disarmament in January 2006.

Lou Nuer Counties of Ayod, Uror and Nyirol signed a peace accord with Dinka of Greater Bor Counties of Duk and Twic East on May 14, 2009 at John Garang Institute of Science and Technology in Bor Town.

Village chiefs who attended the peace conference are also accused of catalyzing violence. Paramount chiefs complained during peace negotiation that Government failed to arrest chiefs who encourage conflicts.

May’s deal is the fourth signed between Lou Nuer and Jieng Bor (Dinka Bor) since the 1991 split which set Jonglei’s major tribes against each other. The other three dishonoured agreements already were made in 1994, 2004 and 2007 in Poktap, Duk County Headquarters.
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