Home | Press Releases    Monday 11 December 2006

Indigenous organizations launch an appeal for peace in Malakal

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URGENT APPEAL FOR MALAKAL

Monday 11th December 2006

Organizations: We, the undersigned consortium of indigenous organizations
operating in Upper Nile State of Southern Sudan, received with shock and
dismay the news regarding the serious fighting which took place in Malakal
town between 24th and 29th November 2006. The information from our members
in the area, eye-witnesses, media, credible sources of government and
international bodies, particularly the UN who is in Malakal to monitor
peace, indicate lamentably that over 150 people got killed and about 500 got
wounded as a consequence of that senseless act of fighting in the centre of
the town. These figures include innocent civilians, who were caught in the
intensive cross-fire between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on one
side, and combined Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Militias on the other side.
Children and women have been very much affected directly or indirectly as
most of them have to flee the town to distance villages with shock and
agony. Although law and order has been restored by joint effort of
government and UN, and the civilians have been convinced to return and get
back to normal activities and life in the town, we would like to say that we
are very much saddened by this great mess of loss and suffering. We pay our
condolences to the bereaved families and wish quick recovery to the wounded!

Situation/Security: For quite sometime, every peace-loving Sudanese was
impatiently waiting for peace to be signed so that the guns that have been
roaring for more than two decades could stop and the citizens could settle
down for reconstruction and development. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) has been welcomed as a realization of that long-wait because it has
been seen as a better dialogical compromise in its clear provisions and
required steps of implementation under international observation. Not only
that, but also people were convinced that the arising problems will get to
be settled by continuous dialogue based on constitutionalism and legality
after that gift of peace. Almost after a close of two years of its signing,
it was time for the displaced and those in refuge to return home and get
back to civility and innovative acts of progress and prosperity. Alas! This
chocking incident is drawing people back with so many questions of worries
and distrust: Why was there still a heavy presence of SAF and Militias in
Malakal up to the time of this terrible violent confrontation? Why did the
government and UN monitoring team failed to deal with the tension
proactively given the sufficient dangerous signs and indications of violence
before that devastating time? Why should the scores of Jonglei State be
settled in Malakal at the expense of a common man, woman and Child?

With these questions of concern, and other unstated questions regarding the
implementation of CPA and the rule of Law (constitution) in the country, we
call upon the Government of National Unity, the Government of Southern Sudan
and the government of Upper Nile State to:

1. Ensure that the CPA is observed and implemented accordingly. The militia
should be disbanded once and for all beyond the disarmament, and
redeployment/ downsizing of SAF should be speeded up so that there is no
contradictory duplicate of legitimate command of Joint Integrated Unit (JIU)
and SPLA in Upper Nile State and the whole of Southern Sudan.

2. Tighten the Security not only in Malakal, but also in Dolieb Hill,
Nagdier, Canal, Khorflus, Kaldak, Atar, Fangak, Meluth and other neighboring
parts to Upper Nile where the tensions, killings and lootings extend or
backup. It is only in this way the citizens could regain confidence in the
government and the UN (considering the loss, shock and panic that has
befallen them, so far so bad), so that they resettle down for recovery in
development activities and civic duties. Security and stability are
critically crucial (especially for the general census awaiting Southern
Sudan as stipulated in CPA time-frame).These should be taken care of
seriously by the government of Sudan with all its levels. Any failure in
achieving these civic values is tantamount to disrespect to the citizens!

3. Expel from Malakal and other areas of Upper Nile State the chaotic
elements of people and local government from Jonglei State who were at the
centre of the incident which occurred, so that they sort out their problems
in their own territory.

4. Call urgently for recovery of operation by humanitarian NGOs and other
organizations that have evacuated Malakal and neighboring villages as a
result of that destructive incidence. Let them be encouraged to continue to
implement their projects and render services to the needy citizens without
fear.

5. Investigate objectively and bring to book those who are found responsible
and guilty for this heinous act, without exceptions.

6. Form a body that should assess the exact losses in life and the effects
that are incurred as a consequence so that urgent compensation is done,
especially for those whose properties got looted during the mayhem. Any
recoverable property should be return to the rightful owners without delay.

7. Proactively deal with the insecurity challenges from the Arab/Falata
nomads who come to the river side within Upper Nile State Territory during
the dry season (between February and June every year). This could be a
prudent way of avoiding escalation of conflict and instability so that the
situation does not run out of hand to uncontrolled violent like the case of
last year in the Shilluk Kingdom.

Humanitarian situation: There is no doubt that after the agony of this senseless fighting, the citizens in the town of Malakal have been left with a great deal of suffering. So far there are insufficient medical attention and health services in Malakal Teaching Hospital and other health centers.
People are experiencing lack of enough food supply. There is also a problem
of safe potable water, especially with the pollution caused by the sighting
of bodies in the river, which is the main source of water supply for most
inhabitants of Malakal and the neighboring villages. Some elements were
reported during the confusion to have gone on a spree of looting. This,
definitely, left a large number of the population without some essential
needs like shelter, clothing and other basic necessities. One element which
is usually forgotten is healing process for families and individuals that
have been traumatized by loud noises of guns, shooting and loss of dear
ones. Given this magnitude needs, the minimal emergency assistance which has
been offered by some NGOs and UN agencies is not helping the people well enough.
,
Appeal for Action: Given all the negative consequences of the wanting
situation in Malakal and the neighboring villages, we call upon and send our urgent appeal to UN Agencies, all relief and humanitarian international and regional bodies, local organizations from other parts of Sudan, religious bodies, sons and daughters of the community who live inside the country and abroad, and well wishers and individuals to join in the efforts of extending urgent assistance to the people who have been severely affected by the strife. This can be in form of food items and non-food items, medical kits, water purification tablets, etc.

We want to commend the joint delegation of SPLA, SAF and UNMIS, and all the UN Agencies and NGOs who intervened immediately in this difficult time to arrest the situation and rescue the citizens. We also want to thank His Excellency the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir and his delegation together with the delegation from National Legislative Assembly who went to Malakal to calm and address the situation.

The right to life, Peace and development which has been violated in Malakal
through that callous incidence are pivotal human rights, therefore, our
citizens and communities anywhere in Southern Sudan should be allowed to
enjoy and exercise them to the fullest and by our mutual help.

Sign by

- Rebecca Joshua Okwaci,
Women Action for Development (WAD)

- James Okony Dau for
Youth Agency for Relief, Rehabilitation and Development for Southern Sudan (YARRDSS)

- John Oyec Lwong for
Fashoda Youth Forum (FYF)
James Solomon Padiet for
Collo Community Welfare Society in Kenya

For more details of urgent assistance feel free to contact:
Rebecca Joshua Okwaci,
Consortium lead agent, WAD
E-mail: sudanwad@yahoo.com
Cell Phone: +254720867149 or +254735705080, Tel: +254203871209.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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