Juet Massacre: Genocide in Jonglei, South Sudan

Published December 12, 2011

Juet Massacre: Genocide in Jonglei, South Sudan
December 12th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

By Michael Ayuen Kuany, USA (Borglobe)

Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 up to the independence of South Sudan in July of 2011, Jonglei state has been a battlefield with little attention from the government of South Sudan. Many lives have been lost due to tribal warfare and the presence of militia groups in the state. Last year, one of the generals of the SPLA, George Athor, defected from the mainstream national army (the SPLA) and initiated a rebellion movement against the government of South Sudan. Out of frustration for his own failure to win the votes for a governorship, this Jonglei native has been leading a murderous attack on civilians ever since.

The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) and the SPLA have completely failed in providing security for civilians. They have been unsuccessful in containing Athor and his militia in the state and ending this rebellion. Athor recruits notorious tribes, especially the Murle tribe, to stage war on his behalf. The Murle is one of the smallest tribes in South Sudan and it has been heavily armed by the regime in Khartoum. The Murle tribe has been a cause of instability in Jonglei state especially among the Nuer, Bor Dinka, and Anyuak tribes and in surroundings communities for a long time.

In August 2011, the Murle attacked Lou Nuer. Under the leadership of George Athor, over 600 people were killed and thousands of cows were stolen. Those who were most deeply affected by such a barbaric killing were the children and women. Last week, the new government of South Sudan went on a luxury retreat in Kenya, leaving poor civilians unarmed and vulnerable. Regardless of all these killings done by the same group, no action has been taken by the government or the army to bring forth perpetrators of this violence and justice for its victims.

Juet massacre

On Monday, December 5th, 2011, the Juet community in Jalle Payam in Jonglei state was attacked by a group of well armed men who dressed in military uniforms. Over 42 were left dead and dozens were wounded. This is the second attack in the past four weeks. In the initial attack, four people were murdered and hundreds of cows were taken. The December 5th attack occurred around 4:30 p.m. when villagers are wandering between villages getting ready for the night. The youth were at the cattle camp in Twic East County. Only elderly men, women and children were in the village. If the young men had been in the village, they could have attempted to defend their people.

According to the reports on the ground, five villages, Achondok, Wurea, Papeer, Marial and Akot are completely burned down and 1,302 head of cattle and 50 goats have been stolen. The report also estimates that there were about 400 attackers.

If the security forces of South Sudan are in place, why would security intelligence fail to identify those who possess arms in the country and fail to determine where those weapons are from? Or was it ignorance on the part of the south’s security forces that led to such a deadly attack? Security is the responsibility of the government.

Every time incidents like this are reported to the government of South Sudan, the reports fall on deaf ears. The attacks are labeled “tribal fighting” and it is implied that these attacks have nothing to do with the new government, security or law enforcement.

Seldom when the Murle attacked in the past, children and women were not killed. The Murle tribe is known for child abduction and cattle rustling. But in Monday’s attack, children and women were murdered. What motivated the attackers to burn down entire villages and kill innocent people is not known. These deadly attacks which have targeted women and children raise serious concerns as to whether the government is there for the people and has the means to provide security.

Juet in the liberation process

Like any other community in South Sudan, Juet has demonstrated loyalty and commitment to the liberation process of South Sudan from the north. Our men and women have died in the front lines fighting for freedom from the north for the whole of South Sudan. Our hearts are broken to see our innocent people being killed at a time when we should be enjoying peace. What hurts the most is the silence from the government of South Sudan regarding these attacks and the government giving no response to providing the security that is desperately needed. Its citizens are left vulnerable to daily attacks. Our loyalty to the freedom of South Sudan has been constant and has cost us dearly.

Since the civil war began in 1955 to 1983, our participation in the struggle for freedom has been unwavering. We have fought and sacrificed for the greater good of our country South Sudan. Throughout the liberation struggles, we lost great men, and great fighters such as Anyar Apiu, Ayuen Thiong, Mabior Ayuen Kuany, Kuany Akech Dut, Apiu Garang Deng, Aquila Manyuon, Jok Dhuom Jok ,and Ajok Malony, who led the operations in varies fronts where the lost of lives was great.
The sons of the village that was so severely attacked on Monday are risking their lives leading operations on the borders of South Sudan. The question demanding an answer is why should we be loyal to the new government of South Sudan when the government is not even attempting to provide security for us? Juet was capable of defending her people and her territory before disarmament. Our community has been disarmed three times since the CPA was signed in 2005. If the new government does not provide citizens with security, how are we to defend ourselves without arms? Our community is being destroyed while our brothers from this very community are deployed on the borders to protect South Sudan.

We applaud the motion raised in South Sudan’s Legislative Assembly by the Honorable Maker Thiong mal which was seconded by the Honorable Deng Dau Malek that the August house should put the discussion of lack of security at the top of its agenda so that the killing and looting will end.

Our appeal

We, the citizens of Juet community, call on the governments of South Sudan, Jonglei state and the Murle community to negotiate an end to the massacre of the civilians. We also call on the government of South Sudan to immediately order the deployment of armed forces to the area. The Murle community must stop supporting militia groups and they must return all stolen cows. This is a peaceful call and we hope our brothers will cooperate with our demands. Our community has been victimized by the Murle for decades. It must be made clear to the Murle and to the world that we can no longer allow these attacks to happen.

Due to the severity of the damages done by Monday’s attack, we appeal to humanitarian organizations to provide food, shelter, clean drinking water and medical supplies to those suffering from this recent attack.

We are thankful to our friends who are standing by us during this difficult time as we mourn the death of our loved ones and those severely injured by the attack. We are especially grateful to the United State Embassy in Juba, the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Commissioner of Bor County, Maker Lual Kuol, and the people of surrounding communities who came to our rescue.

Michael Ayuen Kuany holds a masters degree (MA) from Eastern Mennonite University and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He is the founder, president and CEO of Rebuild South Sudan. He can be reached at: michael@rebuildsouthsudan.org

Article originally published in the Bor Globe.

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