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S. Sudan’s Machar warns of “fragmentation” if reconciliation not given priority

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February 7, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan risks being fragmented if a peace-making and reconciliation initiative to mend broken ties is not given priority, the country’s vice president, Riek Machar warned on Thursday.

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South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar (Reuters)

Machar made the remark at a consultative meeting with representatives of various media organisations at the cabinet premises, during which he shared the objectives of the Peace and National Reconciliation initiative, an idea viewed by many in the country as in an attempt calling on the people to put the past behind them and move forward by offering an amnesty for wrongdoings.

The initiative, consisting of two phases, with the first phase expected to start in April, calls for 200 mobilisers “to be trained and equipped in peace and reconciliation techniques”

He cited a provision in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in which the former rebels turned ruling party - Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), signed a deal to end decades of civil war with Sudan after it seceded in 2011.

The agreement allows for a national reconciliation and healing process to be conducted by the then national government of unity based in Khartoum during the six year of interim period, but failed to do so.

“What we are doing today as the government should have done by the then national government of unity in Khartoum because it is provided in the CPA,” Machar told the audience on Thursday.

“This was the responsibility of the government in Khartoum but [it] realised that [it] was not interested until we became an independent state”,

He gave the example of Jonglei where ethnic differences have created significant barriers to social ties, including peaceful coexistence and interaction.

“There are a lot of challenges. In this country, this new nation needs peace and a national reconciliation and healing process because our people are traumatised. They still have [a] culture of war; the culture of killing, the attitude of people has not changed. They have not transformed from the culture of war to the culture of peace. War is still in their minds. So as [a] government we need to address to this and this is the time”, Machar said.

He argued against voices questioning whether it is right to conduct reconciliation because there appears to be a lot of competing priorities which the government should grant attention.

“A lot of things have happened. What we are seeing should be an eye opener. The killing in the three states of Lakes, Warrap and Unity. Also in Jonglei state, the three main tribes of Dinka - Bor, the Nuer and Mure are not interactive. They have created [a] no man’s land because of tribal differences. They are not living the way they were living in the past. The way they used to live is no longer there today. In the past they used to go the same cattle camp, fish together, they used to be bilingual because they were living together. This is no longer there anymore,“ he explained.

He said the state will be fragmented if acts of violence, revenge killings and social boundaries continues without taking prompt action to ensure reconciliation is a priority.

“If we do not take prompt action these acts will continue and they will multiple. It is better we intervene now and it must be now because there is no better time than now. If we do not act now, we will have a fragmented state”, Machar told journalists.

He gave the example of a dramatic apology he made in the house of late John Garang in 2011 during a memorial function in which he admitted responsibility for the killing of thousands of Bor Dinka in 1991 by forces under his command.

“Reconciliation starts with people. On 8 of August 2011, two years ago, I apologised to [the] Dinka Bor because I was the leader of the group. I took the responsibility and I went to Jonglei. I travelled to all the counties with [Jonglei state governor] Kuol Manyang. I went to all the counties even those that he had never visited as the governor of the state”, he said, adding that “mind-set must change”.

Many expect the initiative to give president Salva Kiir clear recommendations, including implementation of matters such as indemnities to victims of the conflicts and their families, compensation for material damages, the future of armed dissents, the possible reintegration of those dismissed from work on political grounds and the extent to which insurgent leaders who escaped abroad will be pardoned. These matters may be regulated by parliamentary legislation or by presidential decree.

The initiative has been criticised by human rights groups who argue that it institutionalises impunity and impedes any legal action against the security services, including police forces, while proposing penalties for anyone who dares accuse those granted amnesties for crimes. Furthermore, the families of victims and their organisations continue to demand information on the fate of the missing and to insist that “justice” must precede reconciliation.

(ST)

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  • 8 February 2013 18:49, by Marco A. Wek

    Reconcilation maybe irritating to some of us but if we want good future for our country, then this will be the best choice we have.
    Bad things for sure happened during the long war with North Sudan and they had used us against ourselves but what could we expect from our enemy.
    Yes we need to forget and forgive ourselves for the sake peace for our people.

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    • 8 February 2013 21:20, by Malou Manyiel

      Dr. Riak is right.
      Remembering wrong can break up friendship. Bibile tells us to forgive each other by 70 x 7. To have peace and unity in South Sudan will not favour Riak Machar alone as a person but favour all South Sudanese who love peace and unity. There are those who really love to see this country move forward like any other country in the world but enemies of peace are tarnishing it.

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      • 8 February 2013 22:34, by Lotodo Awino Odug

        RIEK MACHAR IS WORKING HIMSELF UP FOR NOTHING?THE COUNTRY WILL NOT DISINTEGRATE IF PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS GO BACK TO THEIR LOCALITIES AND FIND SOMETHING TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES.WE CAN PUT A GENERALSIMO INCHARGE IF INDEED WE ARE GOING DOWN TO SOMALI LAWLESSNESS,WHICH I DOUBT,NILOTICS ARE ORGANIZERS UNLIKE THE DIFFERENT ISLAMIC FANATICS OF SOMALIA.

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    • 8 February 2013 22:01, by SouthSudaneseviews

      Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

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      • 8 February 2013 23:11, by George Bol

        Riek Machar,
        You are not the right person to talk about peace and reconciliation. Leave the issue with proud citizens of South Sudan. You are talking about peace now because you have money in your money compare to before when the only source of money is Khartoum. A leader is the one who stood with citizens during the hardship. Who will understand what you talking about? None!

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  • 8 February 2013 19:53, by Good Citizen

    the truth must be told to get real roots and solutions to conflicts.statistically, 90% of problems in south Sudan are caused by ONLY TWO TRIBES; DINKA and NUER, all other 62 tribes in the country are peaceful and can easily co-exist with each other in peace.Murle, Shilluk, Balanda and all Equatorians are peaceful communities.land grabbing, and occupying other people’s native land by force...

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    • 8 February 2013 20:05, by Jong Anthony

      your mind is occupied by tribal thoughts, what do you think people expect from that tribalized piece of brain ?
      you can not tell what people should do instead you can be told what to do inorder to change those tribalistic ways of interpreting things in advance

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      • 8 February 2013 20:25, by Good Citizen

        Ajong,
        that’s what i exactly expected from you; never admitting the truth.i pray for you people.

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    • 8 February 2013 21:24, by Bilpam Land & Itang are Roots of South Sudan.

      brother Citizen is not because you don’t have Tribalism , you people because you are Minority. you are the really People who have Tribalism than Nilitics People , you are the people who are using Division among them self. look now if it’s your power now , you will not allow any others people in the power or to gaining b/cs we are Nilotics people , example Nuer and Dinka.

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    • 8 February 2013 22:01, by SouthSudaneseviews

      Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

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  • 8 February 2013 19:57, by Jong Anthony

    Bravo Mr Vice president
    reconciliation is the only ladder up ward or forward in other way,we reconciled with our x-foe that is why there was CPA, so what hindered us from reconciling with one another ? we most all reconcile with one another for there is no one who is clean from the atrocities committed against each other Neither Dinka,Nure nor Murle or other group of South Sudanese

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    • 8 February 2013 22:01, by SouthSudaneseviews

      Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

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  • 8 February 2013 20:03, by Good Citizen

    Land grabbing, injustice,and occupying people’s native land by force (like Nimule and other places) promote no peaceful co-existence. so, in essence much effort should be exerted to educate Dinka and Nuer on civilize living and peaceful co-existence with the rest of the communities.if you go to our Neighboring countries, these two communities are the most disliked for their behaviors...

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  • 8 February 2013 20:04, by master

    fragmentation is your fate even you bring birds milk
    unless you change your mentalty you would be prisoner for you fake dreams
    you are distruction locomtive and known to all human being what you are
    you dreams to be south president could go in vain
    you massacred dinka bor
    this is your history
    wolf wearing sheep leather

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  • 8 February 2013 20:11, by Monydit

    Vice President and Lam has a big hands in this conflicts, it is a big matter to V.P because he want to be the next president. Sir you preached disunity in 1991 by allowing non- nuer to be eleminated in Upper Nile so you need to work hard by starting with Lam then together say sorry to Panaruu, Bor which you did in 2011 follow by all South Sudan and believe that it is easy to destroy than to build.

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  • 8 February 2013 20:15, by Good Citizen

    and i wholly agree with those who say JUSTICE should come FIRST before talking of reconciliation because the perpetrators of violence,grand corruption,will always be happy to commit any amount of crime to any tribe or individual and thinks that Riak Machar is there to call for them reconciliation and they will always do it again and again and expect that reconciliation Conferences will be called

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  • 8 February 2013 21:29, by Bilpam Land & Itang are Roots of South Sudan.

    Brother Good Citizen Please could you waiting for our Vice President to become our First President in upcoming 2015 and also Sort that will wine for election.

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  • 8 February 2013 21:59, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

    repondre message

  • 8 February 2013 22:00, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

    repondre message

  • 8 February 2013 22:00, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

    repondre message

  • 8 February 2013 22:00, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

    repondre message

  • 8 February 2013 22:00, by SouthSudaneseviews

    Vice President Riek Machar is doing more damage by still calling Jonglei State Dinka as Dinka Bor. He better to keep quite and doing what is right for his dignity. This is another propaganda article here by Sudan Tribune. Vice President of the Country doesn’t know the tribes of the Country he leads. Laughable.

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  • 8 February 2013 22:43, by JohnGarangFreedom

    Sudan Tribune wrongly report as usual. These reconciliations reports are all to misled public. They just go & put unethical report. ST. knows there is no what so-called "Dinka massacre." It is hypocrite, I hope they will not take what V. President says as "Dinka Bor massacre" is 100% wrong. It was "Dinka massacre" "Upper Nile Dinka massacre." 1991 was not one sub-tribe. Th’ks-southsudanviews.

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  • 8 February 2013 22:50, by JohnGarangFreedom

    This is my message to other people of South Sudan. please don’t take it as Dinka is dividing itself, that is big no. Right now Dinka united than Arab time. So anybody who is trying to use this internal issues as Dinka "fragmentations". forget it or don’t be misled.

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  • 9 February 2013 00:08, by wang

    Dr. Riek knows very well about what will be happening in South if Southerners are not seriously taking that opportunity to reconcile themselves in a long-term future in this country. A failure to do so then our future is an uncertainty.

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    • 9 February 2013 01:27, by maluach madit

      I do not see any point of misleading when peace is being preached. You are very confusing my citizens, what is better to say between “peaching peace and encouraging revenges” ?. Everyone is a sinner, but if one apologise and seeks development, it should be forgiven and work for the new assessment. I am Maluach far away from Riek relationship, but his recent activity is full of credits from me.

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      • 9 February 2013 10:48, by Malou Manyiel

        Bravo Maluach Madit,
        I’m proud of you as a friend and as an intellectual who can sense and point out right things from wrong comments. Maluach and I do not have a blood relationship with Dr. Riak Machar. All of us have done wrong in the past, both secrets and open one but God knows them. What is wrong calling for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan? Riak apology was the best choice ever.

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        • 9 February 2013 15:31, by maluach madit

          Malou, you too deserve thanks for being always truthful in various comments. Yes, if our people believe in past mentality without reverse, the South will be more than a dully state!.I have never had any friendship with Riek since I was born,and so did others, but his apology and humbleness which seek peace and reconciliations among South Sudan ethnic groups is credential point for future genration

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          • 9 February 2013 22:08, by Pinyin Gatkuoth

            Maluach and Malou your are really sons of this soil (S.S.) my dearest brothers, you will enjoy ur life in this land with out any problem.
            your words that will kill you and give u long live
            God will bless Dr machar and those who need peace in this Land.

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      • 9 February 2013 22:01, by Pinyin Gatkuoth

        Maluach and Malou your are really sons the this siol my dearest brothers you will enjoy ur life in this land with out any problem.
        your words that will kill you.
        God will bless Dr machar and those who need peace in this Land.

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  • 9 February 2013 01:16, by JAMES KUOI STEPHEN

    I had apprecieted SPLM goverment with all leadership and civil administrations for the true message of compromise and transformation.The heart of empahty Dr.Riak Machar had express is highly demand and promoting inspiration wills of competence, teaches people the reason of war and affect of peace in the freedom land of Cush.We people of Southern Sudan agreed to forgive Dr.Riak.Yes!Continue.

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  • 9 February 2013 05:33, by Kenyang

    Totally, agree with those who view Vice Pres. Riak doing damage than help. As he admitted, he was one of top culprits who brought attrocities/indignities to his own South Sudanese. Should he really suppose to lead this reconciliation process? To me, SPLM neutral leaders such as Mark Depoch of W. Bhar Al Gazal should have been given such reconciliation process.

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  • 9 February 2013 05:52, by Kenyang

    After all, SPLM doesn’t really need to knock at every South Sudanese door and advice them to reconcile. It’s a reminder to lunatic to bite if you tell him not to bite. What South Sudanese need from SPLM is good governace free from current corruption which can then render rapid development in infrastructure and in everything- whether in water/grazing areas which are usually hot spot for conflict.

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    • 9 February 2013 07:06, by Deng Hanbol

      Born to rule and George Bol, you have different notions. Any way,which idea is better for you another war between the Lou Nuer white Vs.the Bor Dinka Red army and subsequently will turn our country another fail state in the region or a viable peace?

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  • 9 February 2013 06:46, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    Why Riek is with National reconciliation to much than development of south Roads, High schools, Colleges, Universities in south. strong Govert to subdue any tribal hatred. ok talking about it while study at schools and govert Job places. Government provide service to local people and help Business People in Rural areas. Riek Machar is just a noisy people right now. very sensitive talking it

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    • 9 February 2013 06:53, by Nuer Empire

      Nguetbuny:Reconcliation is the road map to developments.With reconciliation there will be:1 peace 2 Unity 3 Love 4 Development
      There Nuer Empire

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  • 9 February 2013 06:53, by Guandong

    If the reconciliation has to take place,Governor Simon Kun is the right person to lead the team as its good example to other Governors who are reluctant to kill insecurity in their states.Bcoz Simon has kill the insecurity in his state n made reconciliation amongst comunities in Malakal.

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    • 9 February 2013 07:25, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

      Small minded Nuer Empire
      Doing really work change people,fighting is happening because they are being fails by their govrt.
      1.Spiders Highway across south to bordering Country
      2.Govert service in Rural areas
      3.Schools,Hospitals,Theatres,Airports
      4.South Sudan Army Airforce. Riek is running the Govrt,what is he is talking about anymore. He is a part of Govrt weakiness.Strong govrt can stoptribe

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      • 9 February 2013 10:10, by Paul Ongee

        If we can read this article carefully, I think we can draw sensible conclusion. The truth must be told that the VP is doing more damage BECAUSE Juba cannot be held responsible for failing to do reconciliation that was supposed to take place during the interim period which was fundamentally aimed for unity between SPLM/A and NCP/SAF of Khartoum.

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        • 9 February 2013 10:11, by Paul Ongee

          Since South Sudan became a separate entity on July 9th, 2011 why should reconciliation initiative become a national agenda in Juba while it is not in Khartoum? South Sudan is a nascent country and is in desperate need of development.

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          • 9 February 2013 10:12, by Paul Ongee

            Regardless of austerity measures, how much resources needed for the reconciliation whose theme is completely confused by Sudan Tribune (ST) in the last two paragraphs of the article.

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            • 9 February 2013 10:13, by Paul Ongee

              ANC of South African did their reconciliation for the sake of unity between black South Africans and the white minority rule. If South Africa were to be partitioned between black and white countries, whom would ANC still have to reconcile with? On what basis should ANC reconcile with the people he liberated?

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              • 9 February 2013 10:14, by Paul Ongee

                Did ANC experience similar event of 1991 as SPLM did, the person (s) responsible for it went to Khartoum, returned, apologized and reconciled with the SPLM leadership in Nairobi and again did the same in Jonglei State and life still goes on regardless of widespread cattle rustling among the cattle breeding communities.

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                • 9 February 2013 10:15, by Paul Ongee

                  The cattle rustling that had been there before the civil war(s) but escalated to the current destructive extent due to prevalence of guns among civilians and cattle campers. Disarmament is the only way for peace and unity which should be reinforced with reconciliation among the perpetrators and the victimized communities.

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                  • 9 February 2013 10:22, by Paul Ongee

                    The reconciliation initiative should not be politicized that failure to get it started now, not tomorrow, would lead to fragmentation of the state. No way. It cannot and will never happen on the very VP’s and President’s watch. It is good news for Khartoum who wants South Sudan to be that way but not South Sudanese who have good experience of war and its implications.

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                    • 9 February 2013 10:22, by Paul Ongee

                      We need to focus on building strong institutions for development and particularly job creation besides being in the army and other organized forces or working with the government for life as if there is no other young generation oriented to take over this country when we retire tomorrow.

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                      • 9 February 2013 16:01, by Peacocktail

                        Paul,
                        The VP Riek agenda is for political gain.Looks this so recouncilliation will end up in a hail.Riek was negiotiating for LRA and UPDF peace talks in Juba,then He immediately took lamsome money from our Government A/C to bride Joseph Konyi to accept Peace but LRA leader rejected offer as hopeless and political to assassinate him. Konyi Kill his deputy Vincent Otti because of Riek rush to usle

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                        • 9 February 2013 16:10, by Peacocktail

                          THE VP IS DO NOT KNOW THE GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES....IF HE IS AWARE OF TOP PRIORITIES,.MONEY FOR RECOUNCILLATION MUST BE USED FOR BUYING ARMY MILITARY HARDWARE TO DEFENSE THE BORDER FROM SUDAN AGRESSION.BUILDING HEALTH CENTERS, ROADS AND WATER IN RURAL AREAS.
                          MACHAR GOVERNMENT LOOSE BY MIXING PRIORITIES WITH LEAST.
                          RECONCILLATION IS THE LEAST OF ALL AGENDA.THIS IS ANOTHER LOOP OF STEALING FUND.

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                    • 10 February 2013 02:37, by Kenyang

                      Paul,
                      You and me know well Vice Pres. Riak is on something else. He & associates thinks he deserves to be President not vice. He is a power-hungry-man. We all know well insecurities going on across South Sudan are not on basis of "fragmentation" but on basis of "poverty lines."Dinka youth who go on to raid cattle from other Dinka aren’t seeking division but are jobless and must get resources, etc.

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                • 9 February 2013 14:00, by Pure Nationalist

                  Mr. Paul, it is known that there is no smoke without fire, system can not split without reason, make sure there was something wrong with the SPLM/SPLA before the split. A saying says "apolozing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It means that you value your relationship more than your ego. Do you know there was no self determination?

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  • 9 February 2013 08:08, by Mapuor

    Bravo Dr Macar
    Reconciliation is liked by people who suffered during the war,if there is no reconciliation,people of Aweil will hold grudges against Warrap for killing of Benjamin Bol Akok,people of Lakes and Bor South will continue holding Twic East people responsible for killing Makur Alayuo, Majier Gai,Joseph Malath etc,Lou Nuer will never eat with Jikeny.Ngok Lualyak will never be in peace

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    • 9 February 2013 08:13, by Mapuor

      with Paweiny for the killing of Dr Juac.Mundaris will hold grudges against Dinka Bor for Koriom atrocities.Fertit will never live in peace with Dinka Rek for tribal killings in Wau.Murlei will never live in peace with Lou Nuer.Yaa Jamma we need reconciliation in South Sudan.May God bless us.

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  • 9 February 2013 09:51, by History has Records

    My VP, You read in a good university but you learnt very little, what u should have known before is that "BLACK LOVE IS BLACK WEALTH" As a leader, u did South Sudan great HARM, U stand a good chance to be a President in the future, but SOUTH SUDANESE are worried to trust you.

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  • 9 February 2013 11:32, by Mach

    Mr Riak, with a full insight, the current Nuer population in S-Sudan r not primitive any more, if u r still fooling urself to bribes their minds again.
    They do surely understand the true meaning of a ‘Justice and reconciliation’. Beware; we are vigilantly watching your ill heart plans then ours. U needs a practical justice then receiving a peace u r not entitle to, through reconciliation.

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  • 9 February 2013 17:48, by Padiet Deng Alony

    That is what i use to say if the reconciliation is based on tribalism.then we can avoid any other massacre to happen again by applying federal government like in Ethiopia like this
    Dinka Region
    Nuer Region
    Shilluk Region
    Latuko Region etc so that there will be no tribal hatred again

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  • 9 February 2013 17:58, by Kim Deng

    The laughing machine, Dr. Riek Machar who have been facing humiliation after humiliations let alone embarrassed himself openly before Nyandeng Garang without shame. Who is Nyandeng and her Dinka Bor in particular or Dinka community in general in the eyes of Nuer Community? Dr. Riek was not stupid enough to apology on behalf of Nuer community rather than himself.

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  • 9 February 2013 18:01, by Nyakuzuny

    South Sudanese Oyeee . please let me advice you all! let us coming together and united our self. Our Vice President he is Man who was Blessing from our Grade-Father in the Nuer-Land please let united together to bring our Good Leader Dr.Riek to be the First President of the Republic of South Sudan.

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  • 10 February 2013 03:46, by Kenyang

    Deng Hanbol,
    May be your village myths will be tested but in reality Dinka and Nuer or any of other tribes never waged a war apart from occasional skimishes here and there by neighboring clans. Just tell your dadi Riak to leave the SPLM instead of using the floor as a party top leader to preach fear and nonsense for his own gain.

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    • 10 February 2013 06:44, by Deng Hanbol

      My a appreciation goes to Malou Manyiel & Maluach Madit for their constructive comments. Dear compatriots, I believe two of you hail from Dinka Malual. We know that the Dinka of Malual are peace loving community. They believe that Dinka tribe can coexist with others tribes. Unlike Ngok Abyei elites and Bor Dinka who tend to be cumbersome. Because they have positive attitude to others, many Nuer

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      • 10 February 2013 06:55, by Deng Hanbol

        Since they are more positive and not insufferable like Dinka Dominated SPLA mr. communist Edward Lion, many Nuer intellectual are always refrain from saying negative comments
        on whole Dinka.
        Deng Hanbol, Gat Naath

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