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WBEG: Balanda community seeks amnesty for protest ringleaders

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February 3, 2013 (JUBA) - Community leaders and youth groups from South Sudan’s border state Western Bahr el Ghazal (WBEG) have called on the state and central government to pardon those alleged to have incited or participated in a spate of unrest last year which left a number of people dead, state adviser on peace and reconciliation Effesio Kon Uguak said on Sunday.

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Uguak, whose office organised an aggressive campaign for reconciliation dialogue and peace building following the violent outbreak, said participants at the conference expressed a strong desire for those accused of participating or instigating the December 2012 protests to be granted amnesty.

Twenty-six migrant workers from the Dinka ethnic group were killed in the midst of last year’s protests in the state’s capital Wau, after the government’s decision to move the state’s capital from Wau to Baggari, which many members of the Balanda ethnic group initially perceived as an attempt to marginalise their community.

The decision stirred simmering tensions between the Balanda and Dinka groups, leading to a retaliatory cycle of death and violence in both communities, forcing more than 5,000 women and children to seek refuge inside the United Nations’ peacekeepers compound.

Uguak said the violent outbreak had caught the normally peaceful state by surprise, with both WBEG leaders and local citizens now determined to pursue peaceful dialogue in order to mend ties and restore hope and confidence.

“People have expressed strong feelings and desires. They are appealing for [an] amnesty to be granted to those who may have been involved directly or indirectly. I mean those suspected to have instigated the violence and those who may have participated. They want the amnesty to be part of dialogue and reconciliation,” Uguak explains.

Reconciliation talks were officially launched on Friday 1 February, the event bringing together community leaders and institutions from across the state, with representatives from Warrap and Lakes state also attending.

“We intend to extend similar programs and activities to our Bomas (sub districts) and villages, so that our people are fully educated to accept living in peace like before,” Uguak told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

State minister for information Derek Alfred Uya said in December that eight people, including traditional leaders, were arrested after being accused of failing to alert authorities about the incident in which 26 civilians lost their lives.

The victims were killed in Farajallah locality, some 77km south-west of the state capital Wau. The motive for the killings remains unclear, however, the state government said it was holding suspects to establish the facts.

State governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan said in January that his administration had found evidence that the violence was “politically instigated by people with special interest”, to create chaos and instability in the region.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune in December, state security adviser Dominic Rizik Samuel said the arrests were made because the state administration believed most of the suspects had prior knowledge about the circumstances surrounding the events and had failed to act to prevent the deaths.

“They had prior information which they did not share with us so that we could intervene before the incident occurred. They will be taken to court to face charges of complicity and abetting crime,” he said.

“We are pursuing other ring-leaders, whose names we have, and who will assist us to arrest all those who participated in the killings and those who participated in blocking roads and the protest.”

Demonstrations on 8, 9 and 18 December in Wau against the relocation of the county’s headquarters turned violent after police intervened, killed an estimated nine people after soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) allegedly opened fire on civilians protesting against the re-location of the Wau county headquarters.


Al Jazeera English | Protestors shot at by South Sudan army | 13 December 2012


Hundreds of armed Dinka youth allegedly retaliated in response, attacking the town, shooting at police and burning buildings.

The official death toll from the protests remains unclear, with the UN reporting that nine people had died in the first clashes on 8 and 9 December, while former Wau county commissioner John Peter Miskin claimed the figure was as high as 25.

(ST)

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  • 4 February 2013 04:54, by Mi diit

    26 members of Dinka ethnic group were killed in Wau during the unrest? Who killed them? That is a massacre and genocide. What was the connection between the Dinka and the decision by WBGS governor to relocate Wau headquarters outside the town. The governor is not a Dinka.

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    • 4 February 2013 06:44, by Tong dut

      We are leaders of this south sudan,any tribe playing with us DINKAS will see how strong we are.That WBEG is for DInkas.Nothing or no tribe call balanda, only DINKAS.

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      • 4 February 2013 07:41, by Peter Nhiany

        Mr. Tong Dut, I’m sorry to say this brother but I have to say it. Such kind of talks are unacceptable. There is nothng to proud oneself here. We are one country, no matter what tribe you comes from. We dinka tribe hold no grudges against anyone, and at the same time, we do not want to express ill feeling of supriority. No one tribe is greater than the other in RSS. cease from this comments.

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    • 4 February 2013 07:35, by Peter Nhiany

      Mi Midiit, you asked a very important question. I still do not understand why only dinka were targeted to be killed? No two, it was a relocation of the headquarter of the same commuity being transferred to another location in the same state. This had nothing to do with dinka people. If there is credible justice system in South Sudan, this case can be deal with aproperly to find the root cause.

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      • 4 February 2013 14:45, by Marco A. Wek

        Thank you Mr. Peter we shouldn’t write reckless things in this website. We are all South Sudanese and no tribe is better or stronger than the other. We shouldn’t use our tribal divide to be the means of our divisions.

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  • 4 February 2013 05:28, by master

    governor pro-dinka
    by the way what FBI did in Abraham murder

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    • 4 February 2013 05:40, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      You don’t know futur, governor Rezik need stability in his state.
      Do not make yourself agitator you will end up nothing in your generation. First thing you have Nike Name Master, master to whom? To illiterat people.

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    • 4 February 2013 07:28, by George Bol

      Don’t called Dinka a migrant in the South. This writer must be drunk. Is Wau not belong to Dinka too? Dinka treat minorities with respect other the entire dwellings in Wau would be occupied by Dinka-caution!

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    • 4 February 2013 07:44, by Turism

      master,
      anyway, you might have lost some nervos, if you called the indigeneous dinkas pro-dinka, go back to history you will find you mess in place.

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      • 4 February 2013 08:00, by Peter Nhiany

        Turism, I do not know what Master used or what he meant by Governor being a pro-dinka. In my understanding of the phrase Master used, he meant that Governor is for the dinka people. Meaning that he favor the dinka and sidelines the rest. If this is what he meant, than you have attacked him wrongly. If he was being sarcastic about his statement, therefore, go a head an shred argue your point.

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        • 4 February 2013 13:00, by Turism

          Peter Nhiany,
          If that the case, how can the governor be for the dinkas since Rizik is not even a dinka and is not favoring dinkas, if it is what he missplace pliz advice him to put thing coorectly bse the forum is public.

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    • 4 February 2013 08:16, by Peter Nhiany

      Master, some people might have misunderstood what you meant by "Governor is pro dinka." May you elaborate on it in details if you will to give people better understanding of what you intended to say. I’m asking you this to avoid wrongly attack on you as a result of misunderstanding of your statement. Thank you.

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  • 4 February 2013 05:29, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    That is good leader governor Rezik for his cooperation with youth community generally.

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  • 4 February 2013 05:55, by Ito

    The governor of western bar is good leader because he was trained by northerners we we did not thanks. Bashir ask salva to appoint him because he was well trained by arabs that is why he is better than all governors in south sudan. Even salva was taught by arabs to be good security man otherwise he cannot be successful if he was to come to europe. But he never thanks arabs but God knows.

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  • 4 February 2013 06:15, by Jalaby

    Well, It’s clear that Dinka are the great common denominator that causes the problem in the south, every single problem Dinka are somehow behind it!
    In my humble opinion, the only solution is to evict Dinka out of South Sudan,there are many unoccupied islands in pacific ocean and could be a good home to host them!
    Absolutely, oust them out with their cows too!!

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    • 4 February 2013 06:56, by Tutbol

      The agent of instability are working day & night to divide S Sudanese. And Sudantribune is leading in brewing that liquor, SUDANTRIBUNE has even invented some words that are allien to S Sudanese; "immigrant workers" the dinkas have in the past fifty years, have crest-crossed the whole of the S Sudan liberating their country & no one ever uttered "immigrant liberators" once but now here we are?

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    • 4 February 2013 07:46, by George Bol

      Jallabby,
      Dinka can not go away because they are the protector. Gust what would happened if there were not there during that worst time? the time whereby many tribes talk with the language of food and begging. Dinka Liberate the South and the other tribes can not afford losing them. other Uganda, Congo, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia take our land while the remaining tribe just watch for them being coward

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      • 4 February 2013 08:50, by Nuer Empire

        Bol:What you said is senseless! A large lump of Dinka especially Bor were in the refugees camps in kenya where they even used to fight each other and even with Dinka bahr El Ghzal over ration delays! What a shameful behaviours to over the food!! Now you claimed to have liberated South Sudanese tribes while you were fighting among yourselves in the Kakuma Refugee Camp! Of course with didn’t fight..

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        • 4 February 2013 08:59, by Nuer Empire

          Of course we (Nuer and other tribes) did not fight for liberation,but for self determination which has been a core vision even before being borne.Our current objective at the moment are big four:1 Peace 2 Love 3 Unity 4 Developments
          These main four will be achieved through reconciliations with war trauma communities in the South.
          **The Nuer Empire**

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        • 4 February 2013 09:13, by Nuer Empire

          Of course we (Nuer and other tribes) did not fight for liberation,but for self determination which has been a core vision even before being borne.Our current objective at the moment are big four:1 Peace 2 Love 3 Unity 4 Developments
          These main four will be achieved through reconciliations with war trauma communities in the South.
          **The Nuer Empire**

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          • 4 February 2013 11:53, by Man alone

            Nuer Emire,you know what,your ideas and thoughts don’t represent the interests of Nuer community,stop messing around using nuer community name,I suggest you change your forum name.
            the question nowadays for the sons and daughters of the soil is, how do we forge unity among the many South Sudanese tribes?disregarding who,where and which tribe you belong to.

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            • 4 February 2013 20:25, by Nuer Empire

              Man alone;Am talking of what I know and what I experience.I will never change the name as it is the name given to at chilhood stage.My name is Nuer if you want.

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    • 4 February 2013 09:20, by Peter Nhiany

      Jalaby,your claims are solely based on circumstanial evidence that dinka are some how behind every single problem. Be informed that, Dinka did not immirgrate from anywhere. They are not like Arabs who came to Sudan as traders from the Arabian peninsula. You better find a logical claim why you in your humble opinion thing Dinka should be evicted from South Sudan.

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  • 4 February 2013 07:08, by Shawer Well

    Lack of democratically process will always cause a serious damage to this society (South Sudan). Why relocated a capital city without detecting the negative reactions from the local. Debates should carried out at the all level before any action. People died first and then realise the mistake is a stone age phenomenon indeed. Did they relocate the capital now?

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  • 4 February 2013 07:31, by Peter Nhiany

    WBEG state has been relatively peaceful since Rizik became a governor. However, for those who incited last year chaos which led to the death of 26 people dinkas or non dinkas must be held accountable not only for causing death, but for creating hostile amtosphere in a peaceful known state. for those who are asking for amnesty for the suspects are day dreaming. Justice must be served.

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  • 4 February 2013 07:39, by Turism

    It really mess that relocation of wau hqrs to bagari killed many dinkas in wau, since no connection of transfering the wau bagari with dinkas, but very soon dinkas people will fuck who ever against them as they are mojorities in the south.

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    • 4 February 2013 07:50, by Peter Nhiany

      Turism, come one man; you didn’t mean what you said. Did you? If you did, then you are wrong. Let me ask you a question. Is fucking whoever is gainst you is the only way to solve your differences? I think the answer is no. We South Sudanese are better than that. There is a better way we can solve our conflicts. Retaliation is not the best option to bring peace and unity to our communities. Think!!

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      • 4 February 2013 15:36, by AGAINST_THE_ODDS

        The most sensible South Sudanese on the planet.This Wau mess is a fabricated problem to keep people busy.Look ladies and gentlemen The roman empire does not exist any more even though they have dominated the most fo the countries. So those who claim to be dominant now time will come when they will beg for pardon .Do you see what is happening in Lakes state next is warrap. stay away from wau.

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        • 5 February 2013 14:10, by Man alone

          What are you talking about?Mr. against the odds.

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