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Unity State traditional chiefs warn of massive conflicts over imposed 28 tribal states

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January 2, 2016 (BENTIU) – Top traditional leaders from the Nuer ethnic group in the affected counties of the oil rich Unity state, have warned of resumption of inter-communal wars in the young nation as a result of what they said was president Salva Kiir’s decreed tribal 28 states which had taken away their ancestral lands and given them to the neighbouring Dinka communities, from which the president hails.

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People walk through the United Nations base outside Bentiu, which hosts around 118,000 people uprooted during the country’s 21-month old civil war (Photo AFP/Tristan McConnell)

In separate interviews with Sudan Tribune after the top traditional chiefs made a consultative meeting in how to handle the situation, the chiefs of Bul-Nuer community of Mayom county, Jikany-Nuer of Guit county and Leek-Nuer of Rubkotni county, whose big chunks of lands have been curved and given to their neighbours, warned of pending wars over the matter.

The chiefs who have been under the territories controlled by the government said president Kiir’s decision was a declaration of war and green light to resume ancient wars between neighbouring communities in South Sudan.

Tunguar Kueyguong, paramount chief of Rubkona county, which also hosts Bentiu, the state capital, has rubbished president Kiir’s decision referring to it as unpopular demand of the people of South Sudan and warned of repercussions to annex parts of their ancestral lands to Dinka langs by use of state power.

“We read Kiir’s decree, which claimed to have given the powers he had retained to himself during the CPA era to the people of South Sudan with a lot of interest. We have observed that the claim was a sharp contrast,” he said in a phone interview on Saturday.

“We believe the decision was deliberately made by Kiir to install Dinka tribal empire and dominion in South Sudan and to weaken other ethnic communities in the country so that he and his Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) would rule the country with more powers consolidated in the centre and with impunity,” said Kueyguong.

The powerful paramount chief of Leek Nuer community accused president Kiir of instead taking powers from the people by making bad decisions alone with a group of Dinka tribal organization, known as the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), whom he accused of interest to disintegrate the country and take back communities to past wars.

He explained that president Kiir’s decree of 28 states has taken away a number of their villages including Nyabol, BarYok, Kailuoy, RiangTuroal, Thai Bany, Nor Lam wel, Barkuor, Thayang, Yaak, Luonyluony and Chirchir from Rubkotna county and have been annexed to the neighbouring Dinka of the newly created Ruweng state.

Koang Bipal Rialthieng, paramount chief of Bul-Nuer community of Mayom county, which is the mostly affected community of Nuer tribe by taking a large chunk of their ancestral lands, also accused president Kiir of declaring war between the Bul-Nuer community and their neighbours.

He said a big land which was taken from the Bul-Nuer community and annexed to Ruweng state of the Dinka community include villages of Tharuop, KonguonNyang, Buroch, Daploy, Norkur, Thoar Gai Geng, Wulle, Pajook, Kaikang, Buem, Ngol, Kueyian, Lil, Bornyang, Paguir, Ciengthoah, Yap, Gera, Phamjaa, Thogaguir, Juoyloth, Watwat, Pulkerekna, Rawyim, Yiediet, Luot, Pham, Patriak, Normanlok, Tharwang, Wicnyang, Pibor, Gaap, Wuonegor, Makuach, Mathiang, Buuth, Nyedeng, Haat, Buongpiny, Puljupni, Kaijaa, Thowulokthol, Muoth, Wiyierthow, Gabuer, Jokyang, Biey, Thorpadang, Mabil, Malual, Tuachbor, Maarnaath and Duay.

He warned that the decision of taking away their territories by forces mean creating more conflicts escalation between peaceful communities of Unity State.

“And we would like to notify President Kiir that the ill-intended decree will drag this beautiful nation into centuries of wars and inter-communal feuds over boundaries,” Rialthieng told Sudan Tribune.

Joseph Kong Yoach, head chief from Guit county also echoed the warning in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, describing the decree an abuse of South Sudanese rights, dismissing president Kiir’s claims that the decision was in the interest of the people.

He said taking other people’s lands and giving them to his tribal communities should not be in the interest of the victims of this decision, calling on president Kiir to reverse this decree in order to achieve peace among the neighbouring communities.

He said areas such as Jokchoat, Garak, Nyakier, Thoardiok, Wichyaka, Bahraar, Kuerboni (Manga), Kuerguei, Keach, Manyang, Lel Guan Yach, Bathgak, Munduoch, WichbarGatluak Bol, Keaw, Lied, Gueny, Nyawai were taken away by president Kiir’s decree from the Jikany-Nuer of Guit county, saying such a decision was violation of country’s transitional constitution.

He accused president Kiir of deliberately planting conflicts between the Nuer and Dinka communities of Unity state, whom he said had been co-existing peacefully as neighbours.

“Sad enough, Kiir’s decree has deprived the communities of the said three counties of their ancestral lands, located north of Unity state, which he, by decree annexed to our peaceful and brotherly neighbours of Dinka Ruweng in Abiemnom and Parieng counties, whom we have mutually coexisted with, endured hardships and survived together for centuries,” he said.

The leaders of the three Nuer communities, who have been given a state called Northern Lich state, with claims that some of their lands taken away, have called on president Kiir to issue a similar unilateral decree and reinstate the country back to its 10 states, leaving the issue of creating more states to people of South Sudan to decide in the constitutional amendment process during the transitional period.

The creation of 28 states and appointment of new governors in South Sudan, and removal of recognized ten states has been criticized by civil society groups, opposition parties and armed opposition factions, who fought the government for 21 months, describing it as a violation of signed peace agreement.

(ST)

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  • 3 January 2016 09:26, by dinkdong

    I think South Sudan will not be in peace for another 20+ years.

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    • 3 January 2016 09:40, by Mi diit

      Salva Kiir told his JCE that he will leave South Sudan in total mess that whoever will take it over from him will have hard time returning it to normalcy.

      He is a devil from hell.

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      • 3 January 2016 11:22, by Mr Point

        It is a bad act by a bad president.

        Kiir has broken the constitution and broken the peace agreement to create this political disaster.

        Kiir has made it impossible to replace him in a constitutional and peaceful way.

        How will he be replaced ?

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        • 4 January 2016 01:36, by Runrach

          Why is wrong with this Somalia liked Nuer?
          When you initiated Peace and harmony?

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      • 3 January 2016 11:39, by padiit gaga

        Ho God the war will break out southsudan again which will worse than first it will for ever tribes whose their land are taken by President and give his tribe let pray that God may give good president from any tribes who should leàd in good way otherwise s.sudan will be second somalia,every body will kill killed each other. Nuer land and Shiluk land are taken.

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      • 4 January 2016 04:06, by what the hell

        madit

        Kiir is trying to solved the problem between Nuer and Dinka but Nuers realist that the food has been taken away from them so now go to hell
        you have been warn many time but you did not listen

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    • 3 January 2016 14:20, by Khent

      The Bul Nuer of Mayom are lying, as usual. None of their lands were annexed to Ruweng ’State’. They’re claiming all the lands of the Ruweng as their own - lands that the Ruweng have lived on since at least 1738. The people of Rubkona actually do have legitimate grievances that should be addressed, immediately.

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      • 3 January 2016 14:31, by Khent

        The claims of the Nuer have to be taken with a grain of salt. It wasn’t too long ago that the Bul Nuer laughably claimed that the Ruweng of Biemmnom are not actually entitled to any lands in Unity State and that they were awarded their land by the Nuer in 1930, so I call bs on most of these claims...

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        • 3 January 2016 14:32, by Khent

          The 1913 Anglo-Egyptian Kordofan Province Map and the 1916 Darfur War Office Map show "Dar Jange" extending from beneath the Kiir all the way to Thur on a latitude of 10°22’30. Similarly, other maps such as the 1914 Anglo-Egyptian Sudan War Office Map mark “Dinka” on an area extending from beneath the Kiir to the northwest beyond the Ngol, beyond the Nyamora and beyond the Lau...

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          • 3 January 2016 14:41, by Khent

            ..up to approximately latitude 10º20’N, past Lake Abiad. Areas like Toor Aliiny, Panakuach and Mijak-yiith have always belonged to the Dinka. Biemnom has been occupied by the Ruweng Dinka since at least 1730. Historical documents from the Condominium period consistently point out that the Ruweng Dinka are to the immediate South-east of Abyei at approximately latitude 29°00’E - where they are now.

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            • 3 January 2016 14:42, by Khent

              To cite The Hague:

              The Tribunal further notes that Dupuis’ 1922 brief Note on Dinka of Western Kordofan unfortunately does not provide any useful information or coordinates locating the area occupied and used by the Ngok Dinka (see Dupuis 1922 Report: Note on Dinka of Western Kordofan, SCM Annex 52). The same analysis applies to the 1927 Tribal Distribution Map...

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              • 3 January 2016 14:43, by Khent

                The Tribunal observes, however, that the map confirms the Ngok Dinka’s southeastern border with the Rueng at approximately latitude 29°00’E and shows no tribe between the Ngok Dinka and Kordfan’s western boundary (See Map 21 in GoS Counter-Memorial Map Atlas (Kordofan Tribal Distribution Map, Sudan Survey Department, 1927).

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                • 3 January 2016 14:44, by Khent

                  The Ruweng (Kwil, Awet, and Alor) Dinka reportedly migrated to their present territory north of the Bahr el Ghazal between 1730 and 1780 (Johnson, 1980:29; Howell, 1954b: 116). (The Nuer Conquest: The Structure and Development of an Expansionist System, Raymond C. Kelly)

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                  • 3 January 2016 15:02, by Khent

                    The Nuer are lying, the same way that Mi Diit laughably claimed that Dinka lands in Upper Nile State were provided to the Dinka as a gift by the Nuer. He didn’t provide any evidence, of course. He couldn’t explain why on God’s earth the Nuer would give away over 30, 000 square kilometres of the most fertile and resource rich areas of Upper Nile State and so I don’t trust these claims.

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                    • 3 January 2016 15:03, by Khent

                      The Nuer have been stealing land since independence. You stole Longechuk County from the Burun in 1982-3. The same is true for the Anyuak; the Anyuak have been losing a great deal of land since 1956 to the Lou and the Eastern Jikany Nuer, and it is these lands that must be returned to them. You’re still stealing land from the Anyuak at this very moment...

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                      • 3 January 2016 15:04, by Khent

                        ..You must also return Nyijwad, which you now call ’new Fangak’ - land you stole from the Shilluk after Othown Dak allowed you to take refuge in their land when floods ravaged old Fangak. You must return that land, even if you became the majority. You were refugees and have no rightful claims to that land. Stop being a hypocrite. Return the lands you stole from other tribes.

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                        • 3 January 2016 16:00, by Mi diit

                          Khent (Rommel),

                          If Salva Kiir is a devil, you are demon. Why do you want to open old wounds using your foolish arguments and justifications?

                          Is this the logic behind Kiir’s decree to annex Nuer’s lands to Dinka. Is it an attempt to reclaim the so-called lands taken centuries ago from other tribes?

                          If you don’t see it with your blurred vision, this Kiir’s decrees will make things worse.

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                          • 3 January 2016 16:51, by Khent

                            Mi diit

                            What on earth are you on about, you crackhead? ’Foolish arguments’? You mean evidence? I provided evidence that the Bul Nuer are lying about territories that they’ve apparently been deprived of. You’re a retard and I really should not bother with you.

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                        • 3 January 2016 23:43, by Mr Point

                          Well, Khent ....

                          Since the constitution currently enables the President to govern unconstitutionally , would you take a moment to explain the meaning of a "legitimate claim", and how such claims can be enforced legitimately under the current constitution.

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      • 3 January 2016 23:41, by Mr Point

        Well, Khent...

        Since the constitution currently enables the President to govern unconstitutionally , would you take a moment to explain the meaning of a "legitimate claim", and how such claims can be enforced legitimately under the current constitution.

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        • 4 January 2016 10:23, by Khent

          Mr Point

          You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I agree with this unconstitutional decree, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. I was merely pointing out that the Bul Nuer of Mayom ludicrously claimed that all of Abiemmnom County belongs to them and that they gifted it to the Dinka in 1930...

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          • 4 January 2016 10:34, by Khent

            ..And so I set out to demonstrate that this is patently false using historical documents and work from a host of historians. I also made use of The Hague. Based on the maps that I’ve seen, Ruweng ’State’ seems to have annexed lands from Rubkona County, but it has not taken any lands from the Bul Nuer. The Nuer of Rubkona have legitimate claims - the Bul do not. This is what I meant.

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  • 3 January 2016 09:50, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    The power belongs to the people. It is therefore vital for the people to take back their power from those reckless despots in Juba.

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  • 3 January 2016 10:19, by Eastern

    ......now with massive widespread killing on the way, why can’t the AU, IGAD, the UN and the international community not pile pressure on Kiir to recind his 28 states and concentrate on the peace accord he reluctantly signed? What’s costly the looming genocide or the implementation of the accord?

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    • 3 January 2016 11:03, by J P Puok

      I think Gatkuiguong is not blamed Kiir or JCE but start with your prodigal son in the name Lam Tungwar who all along been supporting this rotten gvt though the very gvt who 17.12.2013 killed his brother Nyatear in Juba little do he know that Rubkona his county was to annexed to Dinka kingdom. leave alone Mayom they deserved it ask me not, wetui will explain to Gatyoach better, spread the bed sleep

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      • 3 January 2016 15:50, by Hardlinner

        Where do you nuer people find your information?. Firstly no map have been made yet. Secondly, there is a committee where you can file your grievances. Thirdly, never call for abolishment of 28 states. As far as I know, only nuer, raga people and shilluk happened to dislike their own states otherwise all equatorians states, jonglei, most of bahr el states do not have any land dispute.

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    • 3 January 2016 12:02, by padiit gaga

      Wakup all, S.sudan is land of War the devil leader declared war to every tribes Shiluk and Bul are supporter of the devil before but now they see with their eyes, now every one smell smoke. Let fight to defense our land unless 28 states are removed if not s.Sudan will be Somalia any city must train it is youth.

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      • 3 January 2016 15:37, by Son of Upper Nile

        Who told you Shilluk ever supported Kiir. Chollo were the 1st to identify tribal & corrupt nature of Kiir led SPLM after demise of hero nationalist Dr. Garang, it’s they alone & Azande who boldly voted against Kiir & his thugs in 2010 elections. Riek Nuer & Gore Bari overwhelmingly voted for Kiir. Now it’s Chollo again who were the 1st to reject & expose conspiracy of land grabbing behind 28 state

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