Preventing Atrocities in South Sudan
BY: Moses B. Matthew
When the war started in 1983 in Bor, I was in Langbaar. It was at dawn that we heard the sounds of guns and bombs. We had to flee Bor town and travelled all the way to North Bor to stay in the villages where there was peace. I felt that the whole world was going through the same situation, but it was only in South Sudan that the end of the world seemed to be at hand.
Months later, the Murle of Pibor launched an attack in North Bor and we had to flee again. The people of Bor have been victimized by so many attacks for so long. The war has brought and created so much untold destruction of life and property in South Sudan. All that we longed for during the war has been peace. When the negotiations kicked off in Kenya, people began to see a glimpse of hope for a new and peaceful South Sudan. The negotiations led by Commander Salva Kiir in 2002, ended in the agreement for The South to exercise the right of self-determination. That was termed by the media as a breakthrough for the most prolonged conflict in the entire region of Africa.
Later, Late Dr. John Garang negotiated the whole peace agreement and concluded it in January 2005. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by thousands of people from everywhere and blessed by the international community including Africa, Middle East and the rest of the world. After the peace was signed we thought the war was over. Three weeks after John Garang took office as the first vice-president, his life came to end in a plane crash which caused the whole Sudan to mourn and wonder what more surprises would come, but with Rebecca Garang's words of encouragement the Sudanese people remained hopeful that the peace would go on and there would be no return to war. Both Salva and Bashir assured The Sudanese people and the whole world that a return to war was not an option.
Again crisis took place in Malakal where many people were killed and more fighting occurred in The Bahr El ghazal region. The Abyei crisis loomed bigger and again it brought the international community to the business of mediation between the Southern and the Northern governments. News then came that ministers of SPLM walked out of the national unity government because they believed that the peace agreement was not being implemented.
Crisis after crisis has continued to greet the eyes of the Sudanese people but still we are filled with hope that the peace will hold and its implementation will be concluded. However, I feel now that we have to be practical.
The recent killings in Bor have given me so much concern about the future of South Sudan. I do not think we are prepared to tolerate any more of this situation. I understand that our people are unhappy with the way their affairs are run by the government in the South. Some of them try to get the government's attention by choosing to kill the innocent and the weak.
Others make different choices. I think it is time for the Jonglei government to consult with the Lou community in a way that is effective without any threats to capture or kill the perpetrators and find out exactly what their grievances are. It is time for the Lou community to understand that the people of Bor are Southern Sudanese and they deserve a future too, this way they will refrain from making any more attacks on the civilians. I would like to call on the Southern government to act wisely and prevent further attacks in Bor or any other part of South Sudan.
With so much insecurity around, many Southern Sudanese will try to take the law into their hands to protect themselves and their families and that could lead to instability in the whole region. It makes so much sense that the Southern government resolves the crisis. This way the people will maintain their trust in what the government can do to resolve the situation. I also appeal to the central government in the North to contribute to the efforts that will bring peace and security in South Sudan so that the peace agreement is implemented smoothly.
No one will ever benefit from this situation. Sooner or later there will be consequences. It is important that the government of South Sudan acts now and does more than just complain to prevent more atrocities and resolve the grievances of the people of South Sudan.