Title: The Nuer In Australia Warmly Welcomed Former SPLA Chief-of-General-Staff
Author: Gordon Buay
Date: 06-04-2014, 06:31 AM
For Immediate Release
June, 4, 2014
Contrary to deliberate deception and misinformation spread by pro-Machar Nuer in regard to the reception of former SPLA Chief-of-General-Staff in Melbourne, Australia, hundreds of Nuer and South Sudanese went to the airport last week to receive Gen. James Hoth Mai. Women ululated and former SPLA fighters sang the songs of liberation struggle to receive a national figure who saved the country from Riek Machar’s militant and violent tribalism that sparked war on December, 15, 2013.
A group of Nuer militants who support Riek Machar was angered by the rock-star reception Gen. Hoth received in Melbourne. After witnessing the warm welcome accorded to the former SPLA Chief of Staff, a certain Nuer militant named Gatjung Choap, who is the leader of Nuer militants in Victoria, called an emergency meeting of Riek Machar’s supporters in Melbourne to counter the wave of support and admiration towards Gen. James Hoth. The arrival of James Hoth in Melbourne brought a spirit of unity and brotherhood among South Sudanese which didn’t exist before.
The events of December, 15, 2013 divided South Sudan communities in Australia and relation between tribes was tainted. Due to the activities of Nuer militants who support Machar’s rebels against a democratically elected government of South Sudan, the Nuer community in Australia was paralyzed and made inactive to rejuvenate the spirit of nationalism in the defense of the constitution of South Sudan.
The arrival of James Hoth in Melbourne brought back the memories of liberation struggle and the spirit of unity which was wounded by Riek Machar was revived. Gen. James Hoth demonstrated extraordinary leadership to reverse violent tsunami unleashed by Riek Machar last year. But the Nuer militants in Australia saw nationalistic stance of Gen. James Hoth as a threat to their tribal political project. The Nuer militants in Victoria led by Gatjung Choap believe in the creation of a separate country for the Nuer and have a serious issue with the political vision of James Hoth. The Nuer militants approach the current political unrest in the country through the lenses of Nuer cattle camp where people are not guided by principles but by the whim of a tribal chief.
However, Gen. James Hoth is educating the Nuer about nationalism, multiculturalism and nationhood. He teaches the Nuer that the defense of a constitution is a legal duty of any citizen in the country. As a Chief of staff, the Nuer who see the world via the lenses of the cattle camp thought that he should have joined Riek Machar to destroy South Sudan. But being a professional soldier, a nationalist and a scholar (he wrote a book on conflict resolution in South Sudan), he believes that state-making and national building require him to transcend tribal sentiments to protect the constitution and serve the nation. The political ideals he espoused are foreign to Nuer militants in Australia who are less conscious than the Aboriginals in understanding Western World’s state-making and nation building.
It is not the first time for James Hoth to experience upsurge of tribal violence in South Sudan. After Riek Machar staged a coup in Nasir in 1991, he was called so many names by Nuer militants back then. Some even referred to him as “a Dinka” because he refused to join Riek Machar due to his strong commitment to the ideals of national liberation. History proved him right when the same Riek Machar returned to SPLM/A under John Garang in 2002. The same James Hoth who was vilified by the Nuer became the only pillar cementing unity between Nuer and Dinka after Riek Machar signed Nairobi Agreement with late Dr. John Garang.
After Riek Machar repeated history on December, 15, 2013, Gen. James Hoth has once again become the target of Nuer militants like he was in 1990s. After December, 15, 2013, they erroneously thought that he would abandon his national duty to join a tribal angry mob to destroy the country. He stood firm in defending the constitution and managed to persuade majority of the Nuer in the SPLA to remain intact and protect the unity of South Sudan. In one of his speeches after the crisis, he seriously warned tribal militants that he would not allow them to turn South Sudan into Somalia. Indeed, Gen. James Hoth prevented South Sudan to slide into chaos and disorder. His hard work to maintain law and order paid off and the government of South Sudan is now controlling the country. The tribal militants of Riek Machar are reduced to pockets of Nuer country side and are no longer a threat to the survival of South Sudan.
The Australian Nuer militants who came out to oppose his reception are few in number but have formed a network which could be seen as a threat to Australian government’s international obligation in curbing extremism and terrorism. Although the Nuer militants led by Gatjung Choap are not yet designated as a terrorist group by the UN, it is advisable that the Australian government should keep an eye on them for the following reasons:
1. The group is now raising funds on a monthly basis to fuel violence in South Sudan. Individuals like Gatluak Deng, Gatluak Puk, Chuol Puk, Chuol Deng Gai and Bill Jack travelled to rebel controlled areas few months back and delivered money to the rebels to carryout various crimes ranging from civilian killings to coldblooded murders of anybody suspected of rejecting their version of political events in South Sudan. In Australian laws, any citizen or permanent resident of Australia who engages in promoting, aiding and abetting any form of violence or terrorism is subject to criminal prosecution. Therefore, the Australian government has an international obligation to observe UN Security Council Resolutions against such kind of acts being practiced by Nuer militants in Australia.
2. Gatluak Puk and Tito Tut Pal are engaged in mobilizing Nuer youth in refugees’ camps in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda via telephones not only to join the rebellion of Riek Machar but also to practice terrorism. In Nuer culture, planting bombs and urban terrorism are not known. But the aforementioned two individuals have volunteered to educate Nuer youth to carryout urban terrorism. The activities of these individuals should raise a concern in Australia because it signifies a mutation in the fighting in South Sudan which is reminiscent of the terrorism practiced by the youth of Palestine. The Police in Victoria should therefore exercise due diligence to monitor the activities of the aforementioned militants.
3. Individuals like Mun Khat, Changkuoth Deng, Moses Abraham Gatluak, Buom Chan and Kueth Golong Kueth are the fundraisers for the activities of the Nuer militants in South Sudan. When they raise funds from the community through deceptions, they hand over the money to Gatluak Deng, Gatluak Puk, Chuol Puk, Chuol Deng Gai and Bill Jack to deliver them to the rebels and Nuer youth in South Sudan to carryout violence and maiming of innocent souls.
Therefore, the Australian government should take steps in dealing with terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization among the Nuer community in Victoria. Nuer violent extremists and terrorists hold a set of beliefs about martyrdom. They believe that: a) their acts are a tribal and a cultural duty; b) that it is an honour to sacrifice their lives for Nuer pride and that they would receive extraordinarily great rewards for their fight and sacrifices. The Australian Police must work very hard to prevent the Nuer militants to mutate into a dangerous organization that would threaten global security.
Gen. Gordon Buay
Member of Other Armed Group Integration Committee
Former Spokesman of SSLM/A
Email: [email protected]