Home | News    Friday 14 March 2014

Upper Nile witnessing “phenomenon” of killings: MP


March 13, 2014 (JUBA) – Fighting between government and rebel forces in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state has left infrastructure in ruins and about half a million people without food and shelter, a state MP said in Juba on Thursday.

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Upper Nile state MP Henry Omai Akolawin speaking to Sudan Tribune in Juba on 13 March 2014 (ST)

“Malakal as a town in ruin; the infrastructure is all gone. People have been killed and the population is on the move,” Henry Omai Akolawin told Sudan Tribune.

Asked about allegations of tribal killings, Akolawin, who is the state representative for the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Upper Nile, said it was “unfortunate” that fighting had degenerated into targeted tribal violence.

“The rebels are mainly Nuers. When they arrived in the town they targeted others (non-Nuer) for the reasons we don’t know,” he said.

Malakal has changed hands three times since conflicted broke out in mid-December when fighting erupted between soldiers aligned to former vice-president Riek Machar, a Nuer, and those loyal to president Salva Kiir, who is from the Dinka ethnic group.

The Upper Nile state capital, Malakal, some 500km north of Juba, is one of three state headquarters, along with Bor in Jonglei and Bentiu in Unity state, that witnessed intense clashes throughout the conflict.


Since being retaken by rebels in late February, there have been reports of arbitrary killings and widespread destruction in Malakal, with dead bodies left to rot in the streets and both sides accusing each other of atrocities. MP Akolawin said most of the victims are elderly people who were too ill or frail to flee when violence erupted.

“Others thought that they are above this ethnicity because they have served the people of South Sudan all their lives. The last attack was very bad,” he said.

James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson for rebel leader Riek Machar, dismissed allegations that rebel forces were responsible for committing atrocities in the state, blaming government troops for carrying out attacks on Nuer and Shilluk civilians.

“Government’s forces together with their foreign allies were responsible for the barbaric massacres of civilians and destruction of public and private properties in Malakal, as well as in other areas they have recaptured from our resistance forces,” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

He accused the government of dismantling phone networks after troops loyal to Kiir recaptured the strategic town from opposition forces in January, so that door-to-door searches and targeted killings could not be effectively communicated to the outside world by victims.

He added that when the rebels entered the town for the second time in February, they had discovered a “very horrible” situation, accusing government forces of killing hundreds of civilians in “cold blood”, including Nuer church pastors, who did not make it to the UN compound for protection.


Akolawin has described current conditions inside Upper Nile state as unprecedented.

Prior to the recent surge in violence, the MP said various communities had been living together peacefully and had never before witnessed such wide-scale destruction.

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Women carry their belongings as they walk through the ruined streets of the Upper Nile state capital, Malakal, on 12 January 2014 (AP)

What are witnessing now has never happened even in the previous wars,” he said in reference to the 1955-1972 and 1983-2005 Sudanese wars.

“The people of Upper Nile have been living together, but what we are witness now is a new phenomenon. It is very bad. Everybody is a target, so people are all on the move because if you [are] found, you are killed,” he added.

He said large numbers of displaced were getting no help from the government or UN agencies, warning of a worsening “humanitarian disaster”.

“The humanitarian aspect is not being addressed [and] the government seems to be only busy with war,” he said.

In a strongly worded statement issued on 10 March, members of the Collo tribe condemned the killing of innocent unarmed civilians in Upper Nile after their villages were also reportedly targeted by rebel forces.

Dak, meanwhile, accused government’s forces of expanding their attacks on non-Dinka civilians, adding that attempts to conceal their acts by blaming opposition forces is “unacceptable”.

He maintains that thousands of civilians who took refuge at the UN base in Malakal in February had done so out of fear for government troops.

He claims that in addition to Nuer and Shilluk civilians, some members of the Dinka Bor community suspected of disloyalty towards Kiir were also targeted by government troops.


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  • 14 March 2014 07:48, by Mi diit

    The government should not deny 90% responsibility of the destructions. Mrs. Akiir Museveni told his forces to destroy the whole of greater upper Nile since it is not Bahr el Ghazal. He doesn’t know that the war will one day reach Bahr el Ghazal too.

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    • 14 March 2014 08:10, by Gat Gan Kiir

      “The rebels are mainly Nuers. When they arrived in the town they targeted others (non-Nuer) for the reasons we don’t know,” he said. Ah ah poor MP, you know the reason why Nuer are fighting with you the others tribes, it’s was because Nuer are being kill in their thousands in Juba by Dinka Kiir and Malakal by Olony. Understand? Killing Nuer is not a free of charges, we will all mourned together.

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      • 14 March 2014 11:34, by Lotodo Awino Odug

        you people of Malakal are not serious about the liberation of your town, your Shilluk militias attacked the spla position after the second takeover. where are they now to help mazulum and other forces. you have to die for your land too, do not expect others to do more than you. all our children who were there had been killed or wounded.

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    • 14 March 2014 08:16, by Ayom Ayom

      Such suffering will soon come to an end, since it was discussed and agreed during IGAD meeting Yesterday in Ethiopia to develop regional troops in South Sudan in all State Capital and at County headquarters to protect life of people, infrastructures, property etc.

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      • 14 March 2014 08:43, by Joseph Canada

        The punishment of the tall dark skinned people from the Bible is what God have already planned! It also punish Egypt,Syria as it is written. My brothers and sisters, don’t panic unless you have not read the good book. Read Isaiah 18 for us then go on from there and you will see other nations .

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        • 14 March 2014 09:04, by omoni jr.

          brother Joseph canada.
          How are you doing sir? you are right bro, these people are cursed to this nation.

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      • 14 March 2014 11:04, by mathem jech amer

        Pls don’t make us sick of what so called IGAD troops, they have nothing to do with this war, just fight your way.

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    • 14 March 2014 11:01, by mathem jech amer

      Mr Riek spokesman, simply you said those who hide themselves in UNMISS fear governemnt forces from killing them", if so why are they still in UNMISS while you people who don’t kill them control them, are there any civilians with you now in Malakal town, of course not, your lies are really baseless, even church leaders left churches because of your killing & destruction.

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    • 14 March 2014 14:01, by Projector

      Mi Diit!! If Nuers are all rebelling against Government what do u expect, you want them to be spared? you have been sparing others? Most of people who died in this war are not civilians, they are the same people who took arms against each other claiming they are fighting for democracy and when it gets tougher, the survivors run to the UNMISS compound claiming to be civilian. Just kill your selves

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      • 14 March 2014 14:05, by Projector

        Con.. no complain or accusation of others. You started, you have to finish it.People who always like free things are a good in accusation and complain and they know themselves. All the guns are having bullets so people shoot to kill not to spare.

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    • 14 March 2014 15:40, by Hardlinner

      Don’t you get you animal nuers. The dinkas and shilluk have stated clearly that rebels and their ugly white armies are killing non nuers. Which part of that statement is not clear to your dumb nuer asses. I reckoned the best way dak and his nuer morons would understand the claims is by engraving the message in their asses. It is indeed proven that nuer listen by their asses.

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  • 14 March 2014 09:42, by Ross

    The end of fighing with Nuer is not yet predicable untill Bhar Elghazal is destroy and Juba is Capture by Nuer.
    any Tribes against Nuer must know that he is in troble

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    • 14 March 2014 10:03, by Ayom Ayom

      More destruction will not happen again, it is the role for regional troops from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Sudan to prevent and stop further escalation of destruction in South Sudan

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      • 14 March 2014 14:49, by Realist

        Those Nuers are not only fighting the government. They also want to accomplish their long time goal, which is to get rid of other minority communities in the greater Upper Nile area. Namely: Shulluk, Murle, Anyuak and Maban.They already push Anyuak out from Akobo. They launched several attacks on Murle and displaced many of them; and now going after Shulluk and Maban. This is a long time plan.

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    • 14 March 2014 15:53, by Hardlinner

      I don’t think nuer would be able destroy bahr el ghazal. The Same thing that happened to traitor riek rebels in 1991 will still happened to them but with far reaching consequences. If north sudan couldn’t finish dinkas In bahr el ghazal, how on earth will mosquitoes do it?. It is matter of our civilized stand, otherwise we would have mobilize 3 millions gelweng to go to nuer land capture riek.

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  • 14 March 2014 15:23, by Kim Deng

    Malakal town has been renamed as "Latjor City" by Mighty Nuer Warriors.
    Had the Nuer ever wished to occupy the whole greater Upper Nile, from Renk to Mading Bor and from Ruweng/Biemnom to Buma-Gambella, it seems unlikely that the other coward Jurs (Jaang, Teet, Bar, Chai…) could have stopped them.

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  • 14 March 2014 15:27, by Kim Deng

    Other coward Jurs (60+ tribes) across South Sudan have only two choices, either to remain neutral and watch the dirty war, or join the coward Jaang/Slaves. If the Mighty German warriors have crossed Europe, then why not the Mighty Nuer Warriors?

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    • 15 March 2014 03:14, by Hardlinner

      Don’t compare your nuer savages with Germans. Nazi did it through their military technology, but do nuer have any military technology to talk of?, no. It is matter of time before your rebellion die down. You lack endurance and spirit. We have already seen nuer colours during liberation time.

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