By Steve Paterno
May 24, 2014 - In and around early 1990s, some mysterious armed group appeared in Eastern Equatoria, speaking broken Swahili and Acholi languages. The Khartoum regime, which then occupied a garrison town of Torit, immediately scrambled to accommodate their newly arrived allies.
The first thing was to feed the ragtag armed group as most of them were malnourished kids, carrying weapons bigger than themselves. The Khartoum regime officials in town rushed into the UN main storage to gather the goods. Unfortunately, they met uncompromising logistic officer, simply known by the name Kons, who happened to be a local from the area.
Before long, the logistic officer, Kons was dragged by Sudanese National Security and hacked to death over night.
By then, the burden fell to World Food Program (WFP) Officer, Peter (Luay) Basil. Basil who was born of Iraqi father and Syrian mother, while British educated, initially played though with the local authorities of Torit town. However, he eventually capitulated after consultation with his boss, Stephen Anderson an American, who operated out of Khartoum and New York in running WFP.
Sadly enough, as they settled it, the agreement between the WFP and Khartoum military intelligence, the Mukhabarat as well as the national security was to exchange sorghum with corn, popularly known in the area as maize to be provided to the LRA. The LRA being from Uganda, don’t bout well eating Sudanese sorghum for ugali.
Therefore, the food deal, cemented relationship between the following: UN, Khartoum regime, LRA and the then Riek Machar militia, which introduced LRA into South Sudan, then Sudan.
Fast forward, Riek Machar maintained relationship with LRA, particularly during elusive Juba Peace Talks, which dragged on...
Now, there is surmountable evidence that Riek Machar is continuing to pursue his LRA connections in his quest to topple the newly emerged government of South Sudan.
The LRA is a notorious rebel group from Uganda. The most five of its highest ranked members are indicted by International Criminal Court and the USA designated the group as a terrorist. The group is being pursued under regional agreement that include, the militaries of South Sudan, Uganda, DRC and CAR, supported by USA Special Forces, which have troops deployed on the ground.
Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org